- Executive Vice President of the National Organization for Women
- Advocates unrestricted access to taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand
- Supported Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign in 2008
Born in Cuba, Olga Vives was named Action Vice President of the National Organization for Women (NOW) in 2001. Four years later, she became NOW’s Executive Vice President.
Vives first joined NOW in the early 1980s and served the organization in a variety of roles over the years, including National Board Member, Regional Director, and Chair of NOW's National Lesbian Rights Committee. Vives took part in the effort to block the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas in 1991, and in 1992 she worked on the campaign to elect Carol Moseley-Braun as the first African American woman in the U.S. Senate.
As NOW’s Action Vice-President, Vives spearheaded such major campaigns as the April 2004 “March for Women's Lives,” a rally that advocated unrestricted access to taxpayer-funded abortion-on-demand, and “Save our Courts,” which sought to prevent “the legacy of our courts” from being “dictated by religious and political extremists.”
Vives was a key proponent of the “Equal Marriage” initiative, which promoted the idea that “any lesbian woman should be able to marry her partner and be entitled to the same rights as her heterosexual sisters.” Toward that end, in November 2000 Vives co-faciltated a workshop titled “Heather Has Two Mommies: Changing Societal Attitudes Toward Our Families.”
Vives was a prime mover behind the campaign to name the Wal-Mart corporation a “Merchant of Shame.” According to Vives, Wal-Mart was guilty of “systemic discrimination against women in pay and in promotion.” In 2004 she said the following about a massive class action lawsuit that had been filed against Wal-Mart:
“Wal-Mart will finally be held accountable for its treatment of women…. Hundreds of women reported that Wal-Mart has created a hostile working environment, one which systematically discriminates against women … Women who face this problem should be encouraged to know that effective remedies exist and feel comfortable coming forward with their complaint.”
In a February 3, 2004 speech at Cornell University, Vives lamented:
“Right now we're in very dangerous times…. We consider this [Bush] administration to be one of the most anti-women, anti-civil rights administrations in recent memory. It is an activist administration in the sense that it's inclined to turn back the clock. We haven't found one single instance where the rights of women have been advanced by the policies of this administration.”
In August 2007 Vives joined NOW in denouncing the recent deportation of immigrant-rights activist Elvira Arellano, an illegal alien who had served as President of La Familia Latina Unida (United Latino Family), an organization that “lobbies on behalf of families that could be split up because of deportation.” Said Vives:
“It is an outrage that the Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency (ICE), in a deplorable operation called ‘Return to Sender,’ is violating the rights of U.S.-born children and placing their well-being in jeopardy. In a cold-hearted and punitive manner, ICE ignores pleas from mothers and fathers who have lived, worked, paid taxes and formed families in this country not to be separated from their dependent children.”
Vives was a strong supporter of Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign. In April 2008, Vives hosted an “I’m Ready for Hillary” event in Philadelphia. She was also a member of a NOW Political Action Committee called “Women for Hillary in Pennsylvania. Other notable members of this PAC included Kim Gandy and Eleanor Smeal.
Prior to her election as a national NOW officer, Vives was Vice President of an Internet company that connects large corporations with minority-owned and female-owned vendors and service-providers.