Rebecca Walker is a writer, philanthropist, feminist, and mother. She is the daughter of Alice Walker, who was also a famous feminist and writer. Growing up with a mother who was an active radical feminist heavily influenced her ideologies, although she states in her autobiography that she disagrees with many of Alice Walker’s more radical views. She has worked as a consultant on cultural diversity and gender roles for businesses like Sony, Microsoft, and JP Morgan. Rebecca Walker was born November 17, 1969 in Jackson Mississippi to Alice Walker and her husband Mel Leventhal, and Jewish American Lawyer.
Her parents divorced when she was eight and she spent her childhood moving back and forth between her mother’s home in San Francisco in a predominantly African American neighborhood and her Father’s home in New York in a Jewish neighborhood. While Walker was staying in San Francisco, she spent most of her time being looked after by relatives or neighbors because her mother was frequently away working in the feminist movement. Walker had the drive and determination to be able to receive an excellent education. She was able to receive an education at a private high school, the Urban School of San Francisco.
She graduated from Yale University in 1992. In the same year, she helped found the Third Wave Foundation, a women’s leadership and activism organization. During her career as a writer, Walker has written in the subjects of gender roles, racism, sexism, politics, sexual orientation, and third wave feminism. In her autobiography Black, White, and Jewish: Autobiography of a Shifting Self she speaks about her parents’ divorce and how her bisexuality, and her biracial and bicultural heritage has affected her life.
Walker had also been a contributor to several magazines and other publications. In her book To Be Real: Telling the Truth and Changing the Face of Feminism, Walker talks about her feminist views and call out her mother’s generation of feminists for “for denigrating men and encouraging women to seek independence whatever the cost to their families. ” (Walker 1995). Walker became an active member of the feminist movement in 1992 shortly after she graduated from Yale.
She helped co found the Third Wave Foundation Walker speaks at universities and conferences about multiculturalism, equality, intergenerational cooperation, and third–wave feminism. Walker says that the goal of third-wave feminism should not be to raise women above men, as she said her mother believed should be done, but to seek true equality for all people. Her books explained that feminists also need to work towards equality for other people in need like victims of racial discrimination and those living in poverty. As an adult, Rebecca Walker became estranged from her mother.
The two frequently disagreed over Rebecca’s ideologies, which were not as radical as her mother’s. In 2004, Rebecca and her partner Choyin Rangdrol, a Buddhist teacher, had their first son Tenzin when Rebecca was thirty five years old. In 2007, Walker published her book Baby Love: Choosing Motherhood After a Lifetime of Ambivalence. Walker encourages feminists to pay attention to their age and not to miss out on the opportunity to be a mother and states the fact that she regrets waiting so long herself, as she is now unable to have second child.
She argues against radical feminist ideas that motherhood is a burden to women and instead calls it a blessing. Walker has received many awards for her writing and for her activism work. She has received the “Feminist of the Year” award, the “Woman of Distinction” award, and the “Women Who Could be President” award. Her autobiography Black, White, and Jewish: Autobiography of a Shifting Self was given the Alex Award by the American Library Association.