Pioneering feminist activist Lois Galgay Reckitt has died aged 79

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Photo: legislature.maine.gov

The Feminist Majority Foundation is saddened by the passing of a dear friend and inspiring feminist activist, Maine State Representative Lois Galgay Reckitt.

Rep. Reckitt was known as a tireless activist for women and dedicated her life to fighting for equal rights. From 1984 to 1987, she was executive vice president of the National Organization for Women, where she fought for LGBTQ rights and an end to violence against women.

Representative Reckitt co-founded the Human Rights Campaign Fund, the Maine Coalition for Human Rights, the Maine Women’s Lobby and the first Maine chapter of the National Organization for Women. She also founded the Family Crisis Shelter in Portland, Maine, and successfully advocated for the protection of victims of domestic violence, leading to the passage of several influential bills. Her impressive resume led to her induction into the Maine Women’s Hall of Fame in 1998.

In 2016, Representative Reckitt expanded her talents to the Maine House of Representatives, where she served until 2022. She pushed tirelessly to enact the Equal Rights Amendment in the Maine Constitution, bringing the amendment to a vote in the House three times.

“Lois Reckett was an inspiring leader not only for women and girls in Maine, but also across the country. She was an advocate for the Equal Rights Amendment to both the United States Constitution and the Maine Constitution. Lois was a leader in the National Organization for Women and a national leader in the fight against violence against women and girls. I was fortunate to work closely with her when I was president of the National Organization for Women and she was executive vice president. She advocated for women’s rights until her death and was very proud that she had just passed historic legislation in Maine to end sex trafficking,” said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation and former president of the National Organization for women.

Maine Governor Janet Mills also released a statement: “Representative Reckitt was a tireless advocate for the rights of women and girls throughout her life, using her sharp intellect and sense of humor to bring people together and make a difference for her community As the longtime executive director of Family Crisis Services in Cumberland County and later as a legislator for the people of South Portland, Lois has never stopped striving to make our state better for everyone. In a week that has already been marked by such profound loss, I am devastated to lose her too. I knew Lois for almost five decades; She was a dear friend and I will miss her very much. I extend my condolences to her friends, family and community during this difficult time.”

Following the passing of Rep. Lois Reckitt, we reflect on her remarkable legacy. Her unwavering commitment to feminism and her tireless advocacy for equality are a lasting source of inspiration for us all. Rep. Reckitt’s passion and commitment will continue to fuel our efforts to honor her memory by continuing the fight for equality, justice and women’s rights.

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