Monday, October 29, 2012

National Organization for Women

On October 29–30 in 1966 the National Organization for Women was founded.

After the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 leading feminists grew increasingly frustrated over the government’s failure to implement and enforce the provisions of  Title VII, an amendment of the act which prohibits sex discrimination in employment. In response, Betty Friedan brought together feminists to form an organization dedicated to action that would bring about women’s full participation in American society, with all the privileges and responsibilities that brings. The result was the National Organization for Women, whose acronym, NOW, reflects the founders belief that the need was urgent and the time was ripe.
NOW is dedicated to the proposition that women, first and foremost, are human beings, who, like all other people in our society, must have the chance to develop their fullest human potential. We believe that women can achieve such equality only by accepting to the full the challenges and responsibilities they share with all other people in our society, as part of the decision-making mainstream of American political, economic and social life.
—from the National Organization for Women’s 1966 Statement of Purpose

Its official priorities have changed over time. In the beginning, its priorities included passage of an Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the Constitution, enforcement of Title VII, maternity leave rights, home and child-care deductions for working parents, child-care centers, abortion and reproductive rights, and equal education and job-training opportunities. Today NOW still supports many of those same priorities, including the top priority of constitutional guarantees. It has expanded its goals to also included other women’s health issues and an end to violence against women. It officially supports gay and lesbian rights and works with other civil rights groups toward ending bigotry and racism.

Today NOW is the largest feminist organization in the United States, with more than 500,000 members and chapters in each of the 50 states. In its early years it achieved many successes at the national level. Today, NOW, with over 500 chapters, is more effective at the state and local level.
Visit NOW’s website for highlights of its accomplishments. You could visit Encyclopedia Britannica, but how much can it tell you in 148 words?


In Other News:
Born this day in 1837: Harriet Powers (1837–1911), African American folk artist and quilter. Only two of her works survive, but they are prime examples of nineteenth century Southern quilting. 

The Bible Quilt, by Harriet Powers,
hangs in the Smithsonian

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