The Women Who Run PETA: Lisa Lange

Next in our feature series on the Women Who Run PETA, we hear from Senior Vice President of Communications Lisa Lange. If you missed our feature from Executive Vice President Tracy Reiman about what life as a woman has been like at PETA over the past 26 years, be sure to check it out here.

Women have always ruled PETA—from its founding in 1980 by our president, Ingrid Newkirk, to today, with women holding seven of our 10 top executive positions, including the very top two. Tough, smart, and strategic female activists make up a whopping 80 percent of our workforce, and together, we’re changing the world for our sisters of all species—by pioneering eyewitness investigations, persuading major corporations to change cruel policies, popularizing cruelty-free vegan living, and so much more.

Here’s what Lisa Lange, one of the women who run PETA, has to say about her work life:

As women speaking out against the mostly male-dominated status quo, I think we’ve all gotten the “Hey, little lady” approach. That’s always been an eye-roller for me. But being surrounded by strong women at this organization (and having a good mom) gave me confidence that there isn’t anything we can’t do. All of our victories through the years prove that.

Lisa sparring with Bill O’Reilly.

I used to be a frequent guest on The O’Reilly Factor and other talk shows on which anti-animal guests would be real bullies. I remember one instance in which two of them were yelling over me, trying to prevent me from getting a word in edgewise. One even referred to me as “Osama bin Laden.” But it just didn’t bother me. I realized that they were the ones coming across as “out there” and reminded myself to keep my eye on the prize: speaking up for animals.

Hunters have called in to radio shows that I’ve been on, saying that if they see me on the street, they’ll shoot me. Trappers have spit on me. A hunter who recognized me at a shopping mall threatened me. And recently, SeaWorld’s head of security threw me to the ground and sat on me while he bent my arm backwards. All these things are done to intimidate, and I think that the idea is often that women will fold, but we don’t.

I love my male colleagues and friends, too, but there’s a strength and a quickness to women. We’re always 10 steps ahead.

—Lisa Lange, Senior Vice President, Communications

PETA is a place where everyone is encouraged to speak up—to use their voices to help those who are often ignored. We acknowledge that all the negative “isms”—from sexism to speciesism—share a common denominator of fear, ignorance, exploitation, oppression, and bigotry and that people who want a more just world must work to end all prejudice, not just the kinds that directly affect our own species.

Do you want to be a part of this female-powered force for change?

We’re looking for a few good women (and people of all genders!) to carry the torch of the animal rights revolution. Can we count you in? Learn more about joining our team or getting involved as a volunteer.

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 Ingrid E. Newkirk

“Almost all of us grew up eating meat, wearing leather, and going to circuses and zoos. We never considered the impact of these actions on the animals involved. For whatever reason, you are now asking the question: Why should animals have rights?” READ MORE

— Ingrid E. Newkirk, PETA President and co-author of Animalkind