Image description: A headshot of Ellen Bravo.


Born: 1944



Author and activist Ellen Bravo has fought tirelessly for policies that support working women and their families.

In 1982, Ellen Bravo helped found the Milwaukee chapter of 9to5, National Association of Working Women. As its first director, she worked to win economic justice for low-wage women by fighting for pay equity, family leave, fairness for part-time and temporary workers, and an end to sexual harassment and punitive welfare laws. Bravo served on several state and federal commissions, including the bi-partisan Commission on Leave appointed by Congress to study the impact of the Family and Medical Leave Act. She also co-chaired the Economic Sufficiency Task Force of the Wisconsin Women = Prosperity project, led by then-lieutenant-governor Barbara Lawton. Her numerous honors include a Ford Foundation Visionary award, the Francis Perkins “Intelligence and Courage” award, and a Woman of Vision award from the Ms. Foundation. In 2004, she became the national director of the Family Values @ Work Consortium, a national network working for paid sick days and family leave.

Bravo has taught women’s studies at the UW-Milwaukee, including master’s-level classes on family-friendly workplaces and sexual harassment. She is the author of Taking on the Big Boys, or Why Feminism is Good for Families, Business and the Nation (2007), based on her grassroots organizing work, and the new novel Again and Again (2015), among other books. She has also written numerous articles and reports, including “Quality Part-Time Options in Wisconsin,” funded by the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.