WOMEN

Wife Of California Governor Will Go By 'First Partner' Instead Of 'First Lady'

Filmmaker Jennifer Siebel Newsom is going by a new title in the name of gender equality.

Jennifer Siebel Newsom, an award-winning filmmaker and the wife of new California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), is taking a different title in the name of gender equality. 

Siebel Newsom, who is also the creator of the nonprofit organization The Representation Project, will go by the title “first partner” instead of “first lady.” The mom of four changed her Twitter bio to reflect the move earlier this week when her husband was sworn in. Siebel Newsom is also recognized as the first partner on the governor’s official website.

The filmmaker told Politico in October that if her husband were to win the governor’s race, she would go by “first partner” because “we’re going to have a female governor someday soon.” She added, “It opens up the opportunity for any couple to really step in, and that’s exciting to me.”

“Today was joyous beyond measure, and it is the honor of a lifetime to serve the people of California,” Siebel Newsom wrote on Twitter after her husband’s inauguration ceremony on Monday. 

As a filmmaker and activist, Siebel Newsom has a long history of fighting for gender equality. She wrote, directed and produced “Miss Representation,” a 2011 documentary that highlights sexism in media and the underrepresentation of women in film. Her second film, “The Mask You Live In,” was released in 2015 and focuses on how toxic masculinity is harming boys and men. 

“The work I do really parallels and complements Gavin’s work because it’s about awakening people’s consciousness, shifting hearts and minds, attitudes and behaviors,” Siebel Newsom said in a Los Angeles Times profile published in November. 

The governor has been an advocate for gender issues, including women’s and LGBTQ rights. He spoke highly of his wife to the Los Angeles Times, telling the paper her work is more important than ever after the recent Me Too movement. 

“It’s been long overdue, and we’re all expressing ourselves in a way that a decade ago we weren’t. So I think it’s uncomfortable for many,” he said. “The way she’s presenting this debate is in a much safer place because she doesn’t look through the prism of politics and who’s to blame. It’s much more focused on what to do.” 

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