Women is...: Gloria Feldt, Family Planning Advocate

Gloria Feldt, Family Planning Advocate

profession: President, Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the reproductive-health nonprofit org with over 900 affiliated clinics in the US.

annual budget: $40 million.

basic story: Married at 15 with three children by the age of 20, Feldt worked her way up through the ranks at Planned Parenthood to her current position as prez. born: April 13, 1942.

education: Received her high school degree by mail. At 32, got a BA from the University of Texas at Permian Basin.
first steps: Worked as a Headstart teacher before becoming director of Planned Parenthood's Odessa, TX, office, (where her bookkeeper had a sign on her desk that said "Sexretary").

the way up: Four years later, she became executive director of the organization's Phoenix, AZ office, a job she held for 18 years.

her current gig: A veteran and an insider, Feldt was reportedly promoted to national president of PPFA to "soothe tensions" at the organization after the resignation of her predecessor, Pam Maraldo. (Maraldo had tried to expand PPFA services outside of reproductive health to compete with HMOs.) Appointed in June, Feldt will live part of the year in New York City and part in Phoenix.
household: Divorced in 1975, Feldt then married a member of the Planned Parenthood Phoenix affiliate's board, Alex Barbanell. She and her husband have six children and eight grandchildren between them, with another grandchild on the way.

her management style: "I'm very task-oriented and goal-oriented. I'm not a very good process person. I want to get it done and I believe all things are possible. Sometimes that does stretch people just a bit."

her top priorities: Spreading the organizations's messages about the need for abortion rights, family planning and responsible sex education. "(We have to) rethink how we get our informational services out to people. Yes, there's a specific place to get a Pap smear, but our education ideas should be everywhere."

web-savviness: PPFA's extensive site is one way it gets the word out.
on clinic violence: Since the 1994 deadly shootings at a PPFA clinic in Brookline, Mass., Feldt says that attacks on clinics have declined: "Numerically, incidents have gone down. In intensity, they're just as bad. Our adversaries can't mobilize numbers the way they used to. The people who are left are very hard core and very fanatic and they are scary."

Planned Parenthood products?: Yes, Planned Parenthood plans to start licensing merchandise. "A condom probably, a home pregnancy test, maybe a package with both of those. Other things: a video and workbook to help parents talk about sex with preadolescents. Our most recent book, the 'Planned Parenthood Women's Health Encyclopedia,' is on the racks."

on how things have changed: As a young mother, Feldt says she lived the life that "the right" is trying to force on women. "Women do have more choices today and I'm very proud they have more choices, and I want them to realize those choices and have even more."