The Feminist Majority Foundation is saddened to hear of the passing of a dear friend and an inspiring feminist activist, Maine State Representative Lois Galgay Reckitt. She was 79.
Rep. Reckitt was known as a relentless activist on behalf of women and dedicated her life to fighting for equality. She served as the executive vice president of the National Organization for Women from 1984 to 1987, where she fought for LGBTQ rights and to end violence against women.
Rep. Reckitt was the co-founder of 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 established the Family Crisis Shelter in Portland, Maine and successfully lobbied to protect victims of domestic abuse, leading to the passage of multiple influential bills. Her impressive resume led to her induction into the Maine Women’s Hall of Fame in 1998.
In 2016, Rep. Reckitt extended her talents to the Maine House of Representatives, where she served until 2022. She was unrelenting in her push to pass the Equal Rights Amendment in the Maine Constitution, bringing the amendment to a vote three times in the legislature.
“Lois Reckett has not only been an inspirational leader for women and girls in Maine, but also nationwide,” said Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority Foundation and former President of National Organization for Women. “She was a champion for the Equal Rights Amendment both for 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 to end violence against women and girls.
“I had the good fortune to work with her closely when I was president of the National Organization for Women and she was the Executive Vice President. She worked for women’s rights until the time of her death and was very proud that she had just passed historic legislation in Maine to end sex trafficking.”
Maine Gov. Janet Mills also released a statement: “Representative Reckitt was a tireless defender of the rights of women and girls throughout her life, wielding her sharp wit and her sense of humor to bring people together and to make a difference for her community. As the long-time executive director of Family Crisis Services in Cumberland County and, later, as a legislator for the people of South Portland, Lois never stopped trying to make our state better for everyone. In a week already marked by such deep loss, I am devastated to lose her as well. I knew Lois for nearly five decades; she was a dear friend, and I will miss her deeply. I extend my condolences to her friends, her family, and her community during this difficult time.”
In the wake of Rep. Lois Reckitt’s passing, we reflect on her remarkable legacy. Her unwavering commitment to feminism and her tireless advocacy for equality stand as an enduring source of inspiration for us all. Rep. Reckitt’s passion and dedication will continue to fuel our efforts to honor her memory by pressing on in the fight for equality, justice, and women’s rights.