Gina Messina-Dysert: With a Ph.D. in women’s studies in religion and a self-proclaimed Catholic feminist identity, the question “Why do you stay?” is one Gina has encountered time and time again. As the co-founder of Feminism and Religion, a blogging project with readers in 181 countries, she continually engages in dialogue around issues related to feminist identity within religious traditions.
Gina is Dean of the School of Graduate and Professional Studies at Ursuline College. She is the author of Rape Culture and Spiritual Violence (Routledge, 2014), and co-editor of Feminism and Religion in the 21st Century (Routledge, 2014). Gina has been interviewed on the national news circuit including appearances on Tavis Smiley and MSNBC. She has also spoken at the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations to discuss matters impacting the lives women around the globe. She is active in movements to end violence against women and explores opportunities for spiritual healing for those who have encountered gender-based violence. Gina can be followed on Twitter @FemTheologian and her website can be accessed at http://GinaMessinaDysert.com.
Jennifer Zobair: As a feminist and a convert to Islam, Jennifer Zobair has spent the last sixteen years answering questions about how she reconciles her feminism with her chosen faith. In many ways, her debut novel, Painted Hands (St. Martin’s Press, June 2013), which explores the lives of modern Muslim American women and challenges their prevailing depiction as “oppressed,” is a response to that question. Jennifer has also written essays on Muslim women, feminism, and stereotypes for The Huffington Post, The Rumpus, The Feminist Wire, and on websites like Love InshAllah and Feminism and Religion. She is a blogger for The Huffington Post, a columnist for The Muslim Observer, and is the founder of the website, “story and chai,” a creative space for readers and writers of Muslim and diverse narratives. Jennifer holds a B.A. in history, with a concentration in African American Studies, from Smith College, and a J.D. from Georgetown Law School. Connect with Jennifer on Twitter @jazobair and her website at http://JenniferZobair.com.
Amy Levin: A Jewish feminist, activist, writer, and aspiring psychotherapist. She holds a Master’s in Religious Studies from NYU where she focused on the history of feminist contributions to American religious liberalism. Currently she is a MSW candidate at the University of Pennsylvania’s School of Social Policy and Practice. She has worked as a political organizer for Organizing for America and J Street, and has written on the intersections of religion, gender, and social justice for publications such as The Revealer and Feminism and Religion. Levin spent a year living in Israel and four months in Southern India, where she completed ethnographic work on women worshippers of the Mother Goddess in a local temple in Madurai. At J Street, she worked as a field organizer promoting Israeli-Palestinian peace. She has also been active in the interfaith community through her work with World Faith: The Interfaith Service Network. Connect with Amy on Twitter @LevinAM.