Holly Kearl is an expert on the topic of gender-based violence, including street harassment and sexual harassment in schools and on college campuses. She is the founder of the nonprofit organization Stop Street Harassment and a consultant for organizations like the United Nations, Aspen Institute, the State Department, the OpEd Project and YOU.
She has authored three books: Stop Global Street Harassment: Growing Activism Around the World (2015), 50 Stories about Stopping Street Harassers (2013) and Stop Street Harassment: Making Public Places Safe and Welcoming for Women (2010) and two national studies, Unsafe and Harassed in Public Spaces: A National Street Harassment Report (2014) and Crossing the Line: Sexual Harassment in Schools (2011). Since 2010, she’s given more than 135 talks, 250 media interviews, and authored more than 60 published articles for outlets like the New York Times, Washington Post, and the Guardian.
Kearl received a master’s degree in Public Policy and Women’s Studies from George Washington University and bachelor’s degrees in history and women’s studies from Santa Clara University.
Tired of strange men whistling and honking at her, calling out to her, following her, and grabbing her when she was alone in public, Holly wrote her master’s thesis in 2007 at GWU on gender-based street harassment and how women were using online websites to combat it.
* In 2010 she wrote one of the only books about street harassment: Stop Street Harassment: Making Public Places Safe and Welcoming for Women (Praeger Publisher, 2010), testified at the New York City Council hearing on the topic, and began speaking and giving media interviews.
* In 2011, she founded International Anti-Street Harassment Day, the first annual commemoration took place March 20, 2011 It expanded to a week in 2012: Meet Us on the Street: International Anti-Street Harassment Week. The most recent week in April 2015 had participating groups from 41 countries!
* In 2012, Holly became an advisor to WMATA on their anti-harassment transit campaign and Stop Street Harassment became a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization.
* In April 2013, Holly left her full-time job to devote more time to building SSH the nonprofit. Read about the work of SSH.
* In September 2013, Holly published her second book, 50 Stories about Stopping Street Harassers. She testified at the second-ever hearing on street harassment in Philadelphia in November 2013.
* In June 2014, Stop Street Harassment released a national report on street harassment, authored by Holly.
* In 2015, Holly wrote her 3rd book that was released on Aug. 30, 2015, Stop Global Street Harassment: Growing Activism Around the World
On Oct. 28, 2010, Holly testified before the New York City Council during a hearing about street harassment.
On Nov. 23, 2010, she presented at the 3rd International Conference on Safety for Women: Building Inclusive Cities in Delhi, India.
In 2012, with Collective Action for Safe Spaces, Holly helped launch an anti-harassment campaign on the Washington, DC Metro system, including by testifying before the DC City Council in February 2012.
Also in 2012, she traveled to both Cairo, Egypt, and Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota to research street harassment and meet with activists and community members in each location to hear their stories.
In 2013, she testified at the Philadelphia City Council hearing on street harassment and released her second book on the subject.
In June 2015, she presented at the UN Safe Cities Global Initiative Site Leaders’ Forum in Delhi, India.
Holly testified at the DC Council Hearing on Street Harassment in December 2015.
Holly presented at the UN’s global conference on ending violence against women in Istanbul, Turkey, in December 2015.
Holly advised WMATA on their first-ever anti-harassment transit survey and the results were released in April 2016.
After leaving her full-time job in April 2013, Holly has done consultant work for UN Women, Aspen Institute, AAUW, the U.S. State Department, and One World Education. She also works as a part-time facilitator for the OpEd Project and was an adjunct professor at George Mason University in the Women’s Studies department in 2014.
She is available to do other consultant projects. Her expertise includes: writing, researching, website editing, and social media, and topic specialties: gender violence, sexual harassment, street harassment, and Title IX.
From 2007-April 2013, Holly worked for AAUW, a national women’s equity nonprofit organization. She oversaw the Legal Advocacy Fund and Campus Action Project. She is the co-author of a national report on sexual harassment in grades 7-12, Crossing the Line: Sexual Harassment at School.
Prior to her position at AAUW, Holly worked in various positions at the National Women’s History Museum from 2004-2007, starting as a summer intern before her senior year of college.
George Washington University
MA Public Policy & Women’s Studies (2007)
Studied abroad for a year at Lancaster University, UK (2003-2004)
Holly is a long-distance runner who ran her first 5k at age 8 and her first marathon (26.2 miles) at age 14. She ran varsity cross country and track in high school and part of college. Today, she runs in several road races each year and the 10k is her favorite distance. Because Holly has faced so much street harassment while running over the years, when Mark and Holly bought a house, they purposely picked a place near a high school track and trails where Holly now runs mostly harassment-free.