Faye Wattleton

Faye Wattleton is the president of the Center for the Advancement of Women, an independent, nonpartisan non-profit research and education institution dedicated to advocating for the advancement of women.

From 1978 to 1992, as president of the Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) Ms. Wattleton  played an unsurpassed role in defining the national debate over reproductive rights and health, and in shaping family planning policies and programs around the world.  As the youngest person and first woman named to the presidency of the nation's oldest and largest voluntary reproductive health organization, Ms. Wattleton's vision, leadership and courage projected Planned Parenthood into the forefront of the battle to preserve women's fundamental right to self-determination.  Under her leadership, PPFA grew to become the nation’s seventh largest charitable organization, providing medical and educational services to four million Americans each year, through 170 affiliates, operating in 49 states and the District of Columbia.  Under Ms. Wattleton’s guidance, PPFA also supported family planning programs in dozens of developing nations through its international division, Family Planning International Assistance. 

Ms. Wattleton holds a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from Ohio State University and a Master of Science degree in maternal and infant care, with certification as a nurse-midwife, from Columbia University.  In addition, she has received twelve honorary doctoral degrees; Simmons College (1993), Hofstra University (1992), Haverford College (1992), Meadville Lombard Seminary at the University of Chicago (1992), Bard College (1991), Oberlin College (1991), Wesleyan University (1991), Northeastern University Law School (1990), Long Island University (1990), University of Pennsylvania (1990), Spellman College (1986), and St. Paul's College (1985).

Ms. Wattleton was a 1993 Inductee into the National Women’s Hall of Fame.  Her memoir, Life on the Line, was published, in the fall of 1996, by Ballantine Books.

Ms. Wattleton presently serves on the boards of directors of Savient Pharmaceuticals, WellChoice, Inc., Quidel Corporation, Columbia University, Jazz at Lincoln Center, Pardee RAND Graduate School and the United Nations Association of the United States of America.


  • 2004 Fries Prize for Improving Health
  • 21 Leaders for the 21st Century: Women’s eNews Honor
  • Life of Commitment Award, Auburn Theological Seminary
  • Mothers’ Voices Extraordinary Vision Award
  • National Mother’s Day Committee Outstanding Mother
  • The American Public Health Association's Award of Excellence

-    The American Humanist Award presented by the American

      Humanist Association

  • The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation Humanitarian Award
  • The Independent Sector's John Gardner Award;
  • The American Nurses Association’s Women's Honor in Public Service
  • Jefferson Award for the Greatest Public Service performed by a Private Citizen
  • Planned Parenthood Federation of America’s Margaret Sanger Award

Ms. Wattleton is a celebrated lecturer whose views on issues of women’s equality, health care and civil rights continue to be sought by organizations, opinion and political leaders around the world.  In 1994, she was named one of the best female speakers in the United States by NEW WOMAN magazine.

BUSINESS WEEK named her one of the best managers of non-profit organizations in America; MONEY magazine selected Ms. Wattleton as one of five outstanding Americans, who project the forces that will shape our lives in the year 2000; ESQUIRE named Ms. Wattleton as one of the 25 most influential people in America, EBONY named her as one of the 100 Most Fascinating Black Women Of The 20th Century, while PEOPLE listed Ms. Wattleton as one of the 25 most beautiful people in the world, and HARPER'S BAZAAR selected her as one of the ten most beautiful women in America.  Cover stories on Ms. Wattleton have appeared in the NEW YORK TIMES magazine, BLACK ENTERPRISE, MS., WORKING WOMAN and Heart & Soul magazine.  In a poll of SASSY magazine readers, she was named "one of the twenty coolest women ever." 

She has appeared in numerous national publications and on public affairs and news programs, including "GOOD MORNING AMERICA", “OPRAH”, "ABC WORLD NEWS TONIGHT", "60 MINUTES", "THE MACNEIL-LEHRER NEWSHOUR", "TODAY", "20/20",  "NIGHTLINE", MSNBC’s “HOCKENBERRY”,"POLITICALLY INCORRECT WITH  BILL MAHER", "CBS THIS MORNING" and "NBC NIGHTLY NEWS".

In the book, Remarkable Women of The Twentieth Century, Ms. Wattleton is cited for the “Courage of Her Convictions.”  “In the face of resistance, public ridicule, or even mortal danger, these women listened to their hearts and their unshakeable faith.  In standing up for what they believed in they spoke out for many who dared not.”  The book Fifty On Fifty features Faye Wattleton as one of 50 “remarkable role models”.  From Suffrage to Senate called her “the most visible and persuasive spokesperson for reproductive rights in the nation in the latter part of the century.  Ms. Wattleton was also featured in a national photography exhibit, "I DREAM A WORLD: Portraits of Black Women Who Changed America".