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Jane Fonda to speak about ‘Journey to Wholeness’ at ASU

September 25, 2008

Jane Fonda’s official biography describes her as “an avid reader, hiker, fly fisherwoman and yoga enthusiast.”

American audiences know her as an award-winning actress and producer. Faculty and students at Emory University School of Medicine in Atlanta view her as the benefactor behind the Jane Fonda Center for Adolescent Reproductive Health. 

Many others around the world describe her as an activist, advocating on environmental issues, human rights, and the empowerment of women and girls. 

Fonda, 70, also is an author. Her 2005 memoir “My Life So Far” made its debut as No. 1 on the New York Times best-seller list. 

Fonda will be at Arizona State University Oct. 17 to give this year’s Feldt/Barbanell Women of the World Lecture, offering her insights on “Sex, Gender and the Journey to Wholeness.” 

This annual lecture is presented by ASU’s Women and Gender Studies program in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. It is free and open to the public. 

“We believe knowledge about women and gender leads to action,” says Professor Mary Margaret Fonow, director of the Women and Gender Studies program. “Our graduates have found successful careers in law, education, business, government, and in the nonprofit sector serving the needs of their communities. Similarly, Jane Fonda has found success in several areas – from the theatrical stage to the world stage – now focusing much of her time on activism and social change.” 

Among her current projects, Fonda chairs the Georgia Campaign for Adolescent Pregnancy Prevention, a statewide effort she founded in 1995. The program’s goal is to reduce the high rates of adolescent pregnancy in Georgia through community, youth and family development training of professionals who work with adolescents. 

Previously, Fonda traveled to Nigeria and produced a documentary about adolescent girls titled “Generation 2000: Changing Girls’ Realities,” a collaborative project with the International Women’s Health Coalition. 

“Fonda has made the rights of women an important part of the international human rights agenda and just like last year’s speaker, Gloria Steinem, her message continues to inspire new generations of young women. We are pleased to be able to bring her to ASU as part of the Feldt/Barbanell Women of the World Lecture Series,” Fonow says. 

Fonda was born in New York City, the daughter of movie star Henry Fonda and Frances Seymour Fonda. She now lives in Atlanta, along with her daughter Vanessa Vadim, and two grandchildren. Her son, Troy Garity, an actor, lives in Los Angeles. 

Fonda attended the Emma Willard School in Troy, New York, and Vassar College. In her late teens, Fonda studied with renowned acting coach Lee Strasberg and became a member of Actors Studio in New York. 

Her stage and screen work earned numerous nominations and awards, including an Oscar for best actress in 1971 for “Klute” and in 1978 for “Coming Home,” and an Emmy for her performance in “The Dollmaker.” She starred in dozens of highly acclaimed productions and went on to become a film and television producer. Her film and television credits including “Coming Home,” “The China Syndrome,” “Nine to Five,” “Rollover,” “On Golden Pond,” “The Morning After” and “The Dollmaker.” 

In 2005, the year her memoir ranked No. 1 on the New York Times best-seller list, “Monster-in-Law,” her first film in 15 years, also become the No. 1 box office hit, making Fonda the first person to simultaneously have a No. 1 book and No. 1 movie. Her most recent film, “Georgia Rule,” opened in spring 2007. 

Fonda also is credited with revolutionizing the fitness industry with the 1982 release of “Jane Fonda’s Workout.” She followed with the production of 23 home exercise videos, 13 audio recordings, and five books – selling 16 million copies all together. 

On the international front, Fonda was named Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Population Fund in 1994. She is a member of the Women and Foreign Policy Advisory Committee of the Council on Foreign Relations. She also sits on the board of V-Day: Until the Violence Stops, a global effort to stop violence against women that began in 1998 by Eve Ensler, author of “The Vagina Monologues.” 

In 2004, Fonda co-founded, along with Steinem and Robin Morgan, the Women’s Media Center, a non-partisan, non-profit progressive women's media organization based in New York whose mission is to ensure that women and women’s experiences are reflected in the media just as women are present everywhere in the real world. During her visit to Arizona, Fonda will read from her memoir “My Life So Far” at a fundraiser for the Women’s Media Center. 

Serving on the board of the center is Gloria Feldt, who along with Alex Barbanell are the benefactors of the Feldt/Barbanell Women of the World Lecture, which was established in 2002 to bring to Arizona State University prominent individuals to address issues of a global nature and their effects on women. Feldt is an author, speaker and women’s rights advocate who is the past president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America. Barbanell, a retired insurance executive, is an ASU history department alumnus and one of the founding members of the Dean’s Council in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. 

This is the fifth year for the Feldt/Barbanell Women of the World Lecture. Previous speakers, in addition to Steinem, include Nafis Sadik, Kathleen Turner and Eve Ensler. 

Fonda’s lecture will be at 7 p.m. in Neeb Hall on ASU’s Tempe campus. Seating is available on a first-come, first-serve basis and is limited. Doors open at 6 p.m. More information is available at 480-965-2358 or online at