April 25, 2022 Press Release


April 25, 2022  

Contact: alexa@conwaystrategic.com

Equity Forward Announces Leadership Transition

Molly Bangs to Step Down as Director, Ashley Underwood to Assume Role

After two years leading the accountability group, Equity Forward, Molly Bangs is stepping down from her role as director on April 30. Ashley Underwood, currently senior researcher at the organization, will assume the role on May 1.

In a joint statement, the advisory board of Equity Forward said, "We are so thankful to Molly for how she has guided and grown Equity Forward over the past few years. She leaves the organization perfectly poised to tackle what comes next. We are thrilled that Ashley will become the next director and look forward to all we will accomplish with her in the lead. This is a critical time for sexual and reproductive health, rights, and justice and all human rights—and the organization will be here to support advocates with investigative and opposition research to hold people accountable."

Of the transition, Trishala Deb, director of national programs at CGRE, said, "Under Molly's leadership, Equity Forward has shown itself to be a valuable, nimble and creative partner in the movement to expand gender and reproductive equity. Ashley is an excellent choice to build on this foundation and we look forward to working with her as the organization moves into this next chapter."

Molly has been at Equity Forward since 2018, serving first as research associate and then senior researcher before taking over the helm in 2020. Molly has been a tremendous leader for the organization, growing the global work, including Global Spotlight, as well as creating the Forward Thinking blog platform, expanding partnerships across rights-based movements, and driving innovative research projects including the Light Inside campaign, which examines the Departments of Justice and Homeland Security.

Ashley joined Equity Forward in 2020 as research associate and currently is senior Researcher. She has led several initiatives, including co-authoring the "Cruelty and Control" report, spearheading the research to launch the Light Inside campaign, managing public records for the state-level anti-abortion center work, and leading our federal government accountability research under the Biden administration, including managing the signature campaigns and timeline trackers. 

Ashley holds a master’s degree in public health and has an extensive background in working to improve maternal and sexual health outcomes through program development and implementation. This experience, coupled with her insight and research acumen, make her the natural next leader for Equity Forward. 

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