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The Feminist Chronicles, 1953-1993

Part III - The Early Documents

 

TASK FORCE ON EDUCATION (1967)

GOALS:

1. To revise the systematic and deliberate mis-education with respect to sex roles which prevails in the American school system.

2. Enforcement of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 - and the inclusion of sex in Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

3. The elimination of restrictive quotas on the basis of sex, written or unwritten in colleges, universities, graduate and professional schools.

4. All schools should offer an identical curriculum for boys and girls. Neither men nor women should be discouraged from pursuing those professions which traditionally were restricted to the opposite sex.

5. All schools should provide a realistic education which includes instruction in contraceptive devices and family planning.

6. Sufficient funds should be made available so that self-supporting mothers, mothers on welfare and those whose income is essential to family survival can afford to complete their education without the triple burden of child-care, work and school.

7. A substantial number of high schools and universities should provide day care facilities to enable mothers of preschool children to complete their education.

 

REPORT OF THE TASK FORCE ON EMPLOYMENT (1967)

Discussion was had of the attitudes of newspapers towards the interests of working women, and of industry opposition to women workers in certain areas.

Examples were given by various individuals of discrimination against women in union jobs, as well as jobs in education, government, libraries, the hard sciences, medical arts, law and the space affiliated field, which women are being discouraged from entering.

We suggest a study and research item as a long range effort, that NOW collect and compile existing data on women's employment, such as salaries, promotion levels and other data, which would be more detailed and penetrating than the compilations now available.

Resolution 1: (As an action item of first priority)

We urge that NOW set a day of national action on sex-segregated help-wanted advertising. This could be the mailing to the EEOC, or possibly to the President himself, of marked help-wanted sections from all over the country, or possibly picketing of the newspapers, on a set day.

Resolution 2: (As another high priority item)

We urge that facts regarding discrimination against women workers, women's need to work and their reasons for working, women's median salary levels and similar data be constantly furnished in brief, concise, graphic form to NOW members. This hard data would make our members more effective recruiters, persuaders, speakers, and members of panels. This data could also be distributed by our members to other interested groups at strategic times.

Resolution 3:

Press for day care centers for all working mothers.

Resolution 4:

That local chapters endeavor to recruit as NOW members those women who have effective influence on the nation's newspapers. These women might include advertisers and wives of advertisers, owners and wives of owners, advertising and public relations women, department store executives who place advertising, and employment agencies which place advertising.

Resolution 5:

That local chapters endeavor to recruit into NOW more guidance counselors, elementary through college level, to change the image now prevalent of counseling girls into "safe" fields, rather than into more challenging ones. We also believe that NOW should provide speakers to work towards this end.

Resolution 6:

In order to implement our judgements on the effectiveness of government bureaus and of our elected officials in serving the needs of working women, we urge that NOW appoint ARCHIVISTS to search the voting and committee records of elected officials and government bureaus whose work affects working women.

We urge that their findings of fact be briefly tabulated and widely disseminated. These could be sent out just before elections to each elected official's constituency, to NOW chapters, which would then inform all women's organizations willing to publicize the data among their membership. Similar action could be taken at time of appointment of officials and other strategic times.

This action would be possible with our presently existing membership. It would have immediate impact on Capitol Hill when it was observed that our workers were tabulating this data on our elected representatives.It would have a salutary effect on the voting of our representatives who vote our way in Washington and talk another way when back at home campaigning.

It would make it possible for us to stiffen up our own spines to cross party lines in voting and working for candidates, when confronted with their actual tabulated voting records.

It would make us influential far beyond the numbers of our membership in enforcing more favorable legislation for working women, both on the national and the state level if we have archivists both in Washington and in state capitals.

Resolution 7:

Incorporate and continue to work on the Equal Employment Task Force report adopted last year.

Resolution 8:

Urge the U.S. Civil Rights Commission to include the word "sex" in the study it is doing on discrimination.

Resolution 9:

Write a letter to the appropriate government official or agency urging them to undertake the study of restrictive laws affecting women workers recommended by the President's Commission on the Status of Women in 1963 immediately and asking for an explanation of why it has not been done. This letter should probably go to the President, Labor Department, Women's Bureau, etc.

 

REPORT OF THE TASK FORCE ON

POLITICAL RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITIES (1967)

1. It is recommended that the Bill of Rights for Women, including the amendment to Section VII, be adopted

2. NOW members should not only register and vote but become active in a political party at local, state and national levels. NOW members should be willing to cross party lines in order to elect candidates who have accepted our goals.

3. Immediate priority should be given to getting the Bill of Rights for Women into the hands of the platform committees and the leading candidates of the major political parties. Each NOW chapter should endeavor to get women elected to the party conventions.

4. NOW should encourage women who hold elected offices to join our organization and/or to advocate the Bill of Rights for Women. The Bill should be distributed to other women's organizations, to civil rights groups and to the churches for their support.

5. The task force strongly urges that women in NOW who work within the Women's divisions of the major political parties refrain from doing the traditional menial work of sealing envelopes, ringing doorbells and raising pin money through cocktail parties and "kaffee klatches" unless men do their share and women are proportionately represented on all committees. It is felt that this strategy could be the starting point for women's political bargaining.

6. The task force recommends that the women's divisions of the major political parties be eliminated and integrated fully in the party structure in the future.

7. Politicians and other public figures should be challenged to produce results in terms of NOW's Bill of Rights for Women.

8. NOW believes that women should be equitably represented on all policy-making boards, committees, and commissions of governmental, political and tax-free quasi-public non-governmental organizations which have a bearing on the overall well-being of people.

Action Resolutions From The Task Force On Political Rights and Responsibilities

A. The task force on political rights and responsibilities recommends the adoption of the Bill of Rights for Women including the amendment to Section VII.

B. NOW members should not only register and vote, but become active in a political party at the local, state and national levels. NOW members should be willing to cross party lines in order to elect candidates who have accepted our goals.

C. Immediate priority should be given to getting the Bill of Rights for Women into the hands of the platform committees and the leading candidates of the major political parties. Each NOW chapter should endeavor to get women elected to the party conventions,

D. NOW should encourage women who hold elected office to join our organization and/or advocate the Bill of Rights for Women. The Bill should be distributed to other women's organizations, to civil rights groups and to the churches for their support.

E. It is recommended that the women's divisions of the political parties should be eliminated and fully integrated into the parties in the future.

F. NOW believes that women should be equitably represented on all policy-making boards, committees, and commissions of governmental, political and tax-free quasi-public non-governmental organizations which have a bearing on the overall well-being of people.

 

Task Force on Women and Religion (1967)

All Conference Resolution:

Be it resolved that NOW recognizes that it is the right of women to participate fully on an equal basis with men at all levels and in all areas of church life and practice.

Task Force Statement

Tenet: We hold that discrimination based on sex is destructive of religious values. We oppose discrimination based on sex and the religious teachings and laws which cause or reinforce it.

Action: 1. Encourage woman to enter professional theological fields and work to ensure job opportunities for women.

2. Strive to open the priesthood and ministry to women in religious groups where it is now forbidden.

3. Strive to integrate religious organizations and societies which are segregated solely on the basis of sex.

4. Promote the principle of equal pay for equal work in all institutions conducted by religious groups.

5. Integrate religious-sponsored institutions such as schools, colleges and seminaries.

Task Force on Women In Poverty (1967)

The Task Force on Women in Poverty urged the board of NOW to call a national conference on "Women in Poverty" to deal with special problems of women in poverty and urged women to attend such conferences held by other groups to speak directly for the rights and needs of women. Discriminatory practices within the Job Corps and other poverty programs were deplored. Action was urged of the membership to correct unequal representation of women on policy-making bodies of poverty programs.

 

REPORT OF THE TASK FORCE ON THE IMAGE OF WOMEN (1967)

"Stronger than a hundred armies is the force of an idea whose time has come.""You cannot reason a man out of a position he didn't reason himself into."

The first thing that comes up in all meetings on the image of women is that we certainly do not yet know everything there is to know about the nature, origins, and force of the image of women presented to our society by its mass media, This is an honest concern. Nevertheless, this task force has resolved that, while we don't know everything there is to know, we know enough to begin to take action. We know at least that the mass media's image of woman is not realistic, and that we have ideas about more realistic images to supersede the current ones.

The Image Committee will probably function as a two-pronged force: immediate action and continuing research. Because of limited resources we set a priority on action now.

The mass media are defined as TV and Radio; commercial advertising; newspapers, news services and national magazines; textbooks; and language itself.

The audience is all of society: men, women, girl children, boy children, and institutions and communities.We wish to reach all these people, but in particular we wish to reach women and girls with models which will enable them to form a new self-image; one which more closely matches their reality as independent, rational, vital, growing, curious, inquiring homo sapiens (or perhaps I should say mulier sapiens).

We would conclude that our most powerfuI potential tool for myth-shattering is the mass medium of TV. Accordingly, we outline specific goals and initial recommendations for their accomplishment in this area,

1. Goal - Increase the number of models of healthy, happy women with expertise and contributions to make in areas which may include but are not restricted to home-making and child-rearing,

Method-Local chapters assemble lists of the female resources of the community, approach the producers of local public affairs shows requesting a real effort to find women to appear on these shows as experts (e.g. in air pollution, city planning, the arts, not just the role of woman) and be prepared to aid the local media outlets in finding such people.

2. Goal - The entertainment shows which are based on the facts of daily life more accurately reflect the many roles which women fill in our present society.

Method-This must be developed by the task force as a top priority in 1968,

3. Goal - Personal models of mulier sapiens for young girls.

Method-establishment of speakers' bureaus on the local and national levels.

Miscellaneous Comments:

We feel that we must be able to present a plethora of new images of women to supplement the aproned mother. The vital career woman is one. There are many more.

There are single women who are home-makers. There are women who work primarily because they are breadwinners, rather than because they have profession or are seeking stimulations outside the family circle. And concurrently with presenting new images of women, we must develop and present new images of men.

Our numbers are small but our potential power may be relatively large. Some techniques which we may use are consumer pressure, pressure on one medium through another (i.e. letters to the editor criticizing TV shows) both techniques in which one articulate individual can accomplish virtually as much as a hundred silent armies.

In conclusion, we request approval of the following two resolutions for immediate action:

1. We urge that all local NOW chapters will have approached local TV outlets to stimulate the greater representation of women on public affairs shows by the end of the first quarter of 1968, having previously prepared themselves to provide, where necessary, the names of such women.

2. We urge that all local chapters and the national structure have formally organized a speakers bureau by spring of 1968.

3. We request that our report with its awareness of needs which must be further explored and for which specific modi operandi must be further developed be adopted by this conference.

 

Campus Coordinating Committee Report (1967)

The purpose of NOW is to bring women into full participation in the mainstream of American society, to share equally with men the rights and responsibilities necessary for the full development of human potential. To achieve this goal, occupational and educational benefits must be made equal and young women must be encouraged to take advantage of their increasing opportunities. NOW should therefore oppose those policies of schools, colleges and universities which discriminate against women economically, unfairly limiting their chances for career and financial advancement, and socially inhibiting their development of confidence and personal responsibility. The Campus Coordinating Committee hopes to spearhead such opposition by recruiting students, faculty and university employees and by forming campus chapters of NOW. Although it is anticipated that such chapters will become deeply concerned with other aspects of the unfinished revolution of women, they will be uniquely adapted to working towards such goals as:

1. Dual educational opportunities: Abolition of discrimination against women in undergraduate and graduate school admissions and in the granting of scholarships, fellowships and other types of assistance.

2. Dual employment benefits: Abolition of discrimination in pay, consideration for hiring and opportunities for job advancement in all branches of university employment.

3. Establishment of University-run nurseries where parents may leave their children while at work or study.

4. Abolition of nepotism rules, written and unwritten, which deprive faculty wives of jobs by forbidding both husband and wife to hold faculty appointments simultaneously in the same academic department.

5. Academic reform: (a) Abolition or revision of all psychology, homemaking and other courses which present a subservient and degraded image of women; (b) opening up to members of both sexes, courses, such as home economics courses, previously offered to one sex only; (c) establishment of courses dealing with women, their problems, and their fight for equality in psychology, sociology and history departments.

6. Equalization of all dormitory hours, sign-out requirements and social regulations which discriminate against women on assumption that they require more protection than men and are not equally endowed with self-control, responsibility and common sense.

7. Integration of student facilities, in order to promote healthy social contact between men and women without artificial barriers, and thereby combat the stereotyping of individuals by members of the opposite sex. Such integration by sex could be achieved by providing common dining halls, study rooms and recreational facilities for men and women and by providing alternation of the sexes by dormitory wing, floor or segment of floor.

8. Equality of initiative and responsibility in dating: Alteration of the rigid pattern by which dating and other social contact between men and women is initiated, planned, paid for and controlled by men.

9. Sex equalization or abolition of the draft.

10. Birth control: Student health services should be encouraged to make birth control information and methods available to all students over the age of consent who want them.

 

NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN BILL OF RIGHTS IN 1968

(Adopted at the 1967 National Conference)

I. Equal Rights Constitutional Amendment

II. Enforce Law Banning Sex Discrimination in Employment

III. Maternity Leave Rights in Employment and in Social Security Benefits

IV. Tax Deduction for Home and Child Care Expenses for Working Parents

V. Child Day Care Centers

VI. Equal and Unsegregated Education

VII. Equal Job Training Opportunities and Allowances for Women in Poverty

VIII. The Right of Women to Control their Reproductive Lives

We Demand:

I. That the United States Congress immediately pass the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution to provide that "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex" and that such then be immediately ratified by the several States.

II. That equal employment opportunity be guaranteed to all women, as well as men by insisting that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission enforce the prohibitions against sex discrimination in employment under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 with the same vigor as it enforces the prohibitions against racial discrimination.

III. That women be protected by law to insure their rights to return to their jobs within a reasonable time after childbirth without loss of seniority or other accrued benefits and be paid maternity leave as a form of social security and/or employee benefit.

IV. Immediate revision of tax laws to permit the deduction of home and child care expenses for working parents.

V. That child care facilities be established by law on the same basis as parks, libraries and public schools adequate to the needs of children, from the pre-school years through adolescence, as a community resource to be used by all citizens from all income levels.

VI. That the right of women to be educated to their full potential equally with men be secured by Federal and State legislation, eliminating all discrimination and segregation by sex, written and unwritten, at all levels of education including college, graduate and professional schools, loans and fellowships and Federal and State training programs, such as the job Corps.

VII. The right of women in poverty to secure job training, housing and family allowances on equal terms with men, but without prejudice to a parent's right to remain at home to care for his or her children; revision of welfare legislation and poverty programs which deny women dignity, privacy and self respect.

VIII. The right of women to control their own reproductive lives by removing from penal codes the laws limiting access to contraceptive information and devices and laws governing abortion.

 

Document V

PUBLIC RELATIONS COMMITTEE REPORT

November 18, 1967

Our public relations efforts in NOW's first year of life have pursued three main goals: 1.) To educate the public and public officials on the prevalence of discrimination based upon sex-with emphasis on the illegality of such discrimination under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. 2.) To tell the world about NOW as an organization, and to publicize NOW campaigns. 3.) To help create a dignified new image of American women, and to help revise long-established cliches in the communications media that foster "self-denigration, dependence, and evasion of responsibility" among women. We trust that our efforts have achieved some success toward those three goals.

On the whole, NOW has been treated by the press with respect and fairness. Press conferences have been well attended; and although certain newspapers restrict NOW coverage to the woman's page, most papers carry our stories in the general news section. Thanks to cover- age by Associated Press, NOW has appeared on the front page of many leading American newspapers.

Television and radio have been especially generous, with networks and local stations carrying NOW stories on their top night-time newscasts. The NBC-TV network TODAY show presented a two-hour program on discrimination against women; largely as a result of a NOW memorandum; Betty Friedan appeared on this program with Senator Maurine Neuberger and Dr. Bruno Bettelheim. The NBC radio network then produced a three-program series on the same subject with the same three experts.

This Week magazine carried a three-page picture story about NOW, titled "Sex and Civil Rights," to its 26 million readers. The National Observer and True magazine did features- the former on page One. Major stories quoting NOW in sex discrimination are currently in the works at five other leading magazines. Although most women's magazines (Mademoiselle, Vogue; Glamour, McCall's, Redbook, etc.) have written about NOW, some were critical. (Vogue's comments might be summarized thus: Girls, why settle for job equality, when it's more fun to dream about finding a rich husband to support you.)

Local NOW chapters and individual NOW members might profit from this brief summary of NOW's main news stories thus far:

l) Our organizing conference in Washington. (Local Chapters: How about local publicity when you become an official chapter, or when you elect officers? Good-quality news pictures of your officers should be welcome at the newspapers and TV stations. Ask your radio and TV stations if they' d like to interview your chapter officers.)

2) NOW's first press conference, stating its immediate goals. (Local Chapters: Your press conference could reveal your state and local objectives.)

3) NOW's petition to the EEOC regarding sex-segregated "Help Wanted" ads. (Local Chapters: Any local issues worthy of a NOW-sponsored petition?)

4) A press conference in Washington following meetings between representatives and key Washington officials. (Local Chapters: When you have a solid, newsworthy issue, how about a call on your Mayor, and Governor, perhaps followed by a press conference?)

5) Interviews with prominent men and women who are members of NOW. (Prominent members, don't be modest. Your local press is interested.)

6) Press conferences following NOW national board meetings in certain cities.

7) Press conferences and news releases expressing NOW support for victims of sex discrimination. For example, NOW has received nationwide publicity for its assistance to Pauline Dziob, who was denied a yeoman (clerk-typist) job aboard ship on the grounds that this was "man's work," and for its intervention in the"Mengelkoch case" protesting a California state labor law which restricts women (but not men) in hours of overtime work in factories. (Dramatic case histories are always welcomed by the press. But check all the facts carefully first! The national NOW legal committee can advise you.)

A FEW WORDS OF CAUTION: Don't let the press lure you into a battle-of-the-sexes approach. Emphasize that NOW has many men members, and that we are working for equal partnership between men and women-with no discrimination against either sex. . . . Don't participate in a discussion that pokes fun at women. Sure we all have a good sense of humor; but let's try to promote the image of American woman as a serious, responsible person-not a helpless object for ridicule. . . . When you are interviewed as a NOW representative, use good judgment if the press tries to draw you out on controversial issues not covered by NOW policy. Remember, the public might erroneously get the impression that you are stating NOW policy, rather than your own personal opinions as an individual. Also, if your local NOW chapter has taken a certain stand which is not the policy of the national NOW organization, please be sure to emphasize in press interviews that you are speaking for your local chapter only. If in doubt about a future statement or interview, please check first with your local NOW chapter president or with a NOW national officer.

NOW keeps a scrapbook of national and local publicity. This helps us tell our story to prospective members, financial supporters and allies. Would you kindly send any and all NOW clippings you come across to Muriel Fox, 43 East 83rd St. New York City 10028. If you wish, we will xerox your clippings and return the originals to you In the next mail.

A special word of thanks to Patricia Perry, Barbara Ireton, Linda Waring and Bette Jerome for their publicity work in Washington; and to Marsha Lane and Dolores Alexander for their work in New York.

Respectfully submitted

Muriel Fox, Public Relations Chairman

 

From: NOW (National Organization for Women)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

PRESS CONTACTS: Barbara Ireton, 202-DU 7-3110

Betty Friedan, 212-874-1658

Muriel Fox- 212-YU 8-1124

NOTE: The latter two may be reached Monday, Nov. 20, through the Mayflower Hotel.

WASHINGTON, D. C. November 20 - - The National Organization for Women (NOW) announced today that its second annual National Conference has adopted a Bill of Rights for Women in 1968 to be presented to all political parties and candidates in the coming election year, and that candidates for office would be judged by their assistance to its proposals.

NOW, which was founded in Washington one year ago by men and women pledged to work actively for full equality for women in truly equal partnership with men, re-elected Dr. Kathryn Clarenbach of the University of Wisconsin as chairman of the board and author Betty Friedan of New York as president. Re-elected as vice presidents were two former Commissioners of the Equal Employment Opportunity commission, Mrs. Aileen Hernandez of San Francisco and National Teacher Corps director Richard Graham. San Francisco biologist Inka O'Hanrahan was elected secretary-treasurer.

The Conference called for abolition of the women's divisions of the major political parties and their integration into the parties' main structures; and NOW advised women to "refrain from merely doing the traditional menial work of sealing envelopes, ringing doorbells, raising pin money and holding koffee klatches unless they are also admitted to the policy-making mainstream of the political parties." More than a dozen Conference resolutions regarding political action included one suggesting that NOW members "cross party lines to elect candidates who support equality for women, and to defeat its enemies.

Although many sections of the NOW Bill of Rights for women were passed unanimously, two sections engendered heated discussion before passage by the Conference. One resulted in NOW support for the Equal Rights Constitutional Amendment, currently before Congress, providing that "Equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of sex." This language became the first item in NOW's "Bill of Rights for Women."

The second controversy ended in a strong NOW stand on birth control and abortion: "NOW endorses the principle that it is a basic right of every woman to control her reproductive life; and therefore NOW supports the furthering of the sexual revolution of our century by pressing for widespread sex education and provision of birth control information and contraceptives, and by urging that all laws penalizing abortion be repealed." This too was incorporated in the NOW Bill of Rights for Women.

Another section in the NOW Bill of Rights stressed the right of women to be accorded equal treatment with other victims of discrimination in all decisions by governmental officials and agencies regarding employment discrimination. This includes the right to "immediate relief from governmental rulings permitting sex-segregated Help Wanted ads, which perpetuate and tolerate discrimination." NOW has repeatedly urged the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission to outlaw sex-segregated classified ads as violating Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 which prohibits employment discrimination based upon sex as well as race, religion, or national origin.

Sounding a battle cry for the election year ahead, NOW president Betty Friedan urged "the organization of women and men committed to our goals into a true voting power block. I will not call it `woman power' for it includes men. We must find a synonym for 'sexual equality power.'" This "New Woman" power block, Mrs. Friedan said includes "28 million American working women, the millions of women emerging from our colleges each year who are intent on full participation in the mainstream of our society, and mothers who are emerging from their homes to go back to school or work. This New Woman could prove a significant factor in the presidential election."

The "Bill of Rights for Women also states: "The rights of women in poverty to secure job training, housing and family allowances in equal terms with men must be secured by revision of welfare legislation and poverty programs which today deny women of dignity privacy and self-respect." A separate NOW resolution deplored "discrimination against women within the Job Corps and other poverty programs"and called for appointment of more women to policy-making posts in poverty programs and agencies. NOW also passed a resolution regarding H.R.12080, the Social Security bill passed by the House of Representatives and currently before the Senate, which makes it possible for women receiving Aid to Dependent Children welfare payments to be forced to take jobs or job training, and to place their children in child care centers. NOW has previously written the Senate Finance Committee in strong opposition to this requirement, stating it would be "punitive, undemocratic and un-American to deny welfare mothers of the option of choosing whether to work or stay home with their children." NOW supported the language of the amendment to this bill proposed by Senator Robert Kennedy of New York.

In reference to child care centers, The NOW Bill of Rights for Women states: "To ensure the right of women to participate on an equal basis with men in the world of work, education and political service, fully adequate child care facilities be established by Federal law on the same basis as parks, libraries and public schools, as a community resource to be used at the option of citizens from all income levels."

The NOW Bill of Rights for Woman continues: "The right of women to equal opportunities in employment must be implemented by immediate revision of income tax laws ensuring the right to permit the deduction of full home and and child care expenses for working parents.

Another plank in the NOW Bill of Rights states: "Since bearing and rearing children is important to society, the right of women who want to, or have to work not to suffer because of maternity, must be protected by laws ensuring their right to return to the job within a reasonable time after childbirth, without loss of disability credits or seniority.

"Finally, the NOW Bill of Rights for women urges: "The right of every man and woman to be educated to the fullest potential should be secured by federal and state laws to eliminate quotas and discrimination on the basis of sex on all levels of education, discrimination in loans and fellowships, segregation of educational facilities including dropout programs, and education which develops passivity and inferior aspirations among women while encouraging abdication of responsibility for home and children among men."

At a press conference this morning In the Mayflower Hotel, NOW officers revealed the new "Bill of Rights for Women" and announced NOW support for music teacher Cindy Hill in her fight against the school district of Chartiers Valley Pennsylvania, a suburb of Pittsburgh. Mrs. Hill was deprived of sabbatical study pay, and subsequently fired, after she gave birth to a baby while on sabbatical leave obtaining her master's degree at Duquesne University. NOW charged the school district has "violated the rights of motherhood, the rights of a married couple to manage its own family, and the basic individual rights of a teacher"and called Mrs. Hill's case "a serious example of employment discrimination based on sex." Introduced at the press conference, Mrs. Hill stressed that she had fulfilled all requirements of her sabbatical study leave, and had won her master degree "with accolades," taking off only one week to have her baby.

The NOW Conference also heard three women from Indiana who were denied higher paying jobs with the Colgate-Palmolive Company because of new weight-limit restrictions imposed by the company on women workers only. One of the women, Mrs. Georgianna Sellers, was elected to the NOW board of directors.

The Conference unanimously adopted a resolution stating "Women should be equitably represented on all policy-making boards, committees and commissions of governmental, political and tax-free quasi-public organizations which have a bearing on the over-all well being of people."

The Conference resolved: "It is the right of women to participate on an equal basis with men at all levels and in all areas of church life and practice" and approved the report of NOW's Task Force on Religion calling for removal of sex segregational religious organizations and church-sponsored schools. This report said NOW members must "strive to open the priesthood and ministry to women in religious groups where it is now forbidden." And it called for "equal pay for equal work" for women employed by religious institutions.

Delegates at the NOW conference included several veterans of the early movement for women's right to vote, and also many students-young men and young women alike-from NOW groups on college campuses. The Conference adopted a 10-point report of its Campus Coordinating Committee urging a drive for equality in university employment, admissions, curricula, dormitory regulations, student loans, scholarships and all other phases of campus life. The report also urged integration of dormitory facilities, dining halls, study rooms and recreation facilities.

The NOW "Image of Woman" committee report adopted at the convention, called upon members and chapters to fight for "more realistic and varied images of women" in the mass media including textbooks and it stressed, especially, the need for television programs to depict more examples of women who are experts in many fields "to supplement the all-pervasive image of the aproned mother."

The NOW Board of Directors for the following year includes: Julia Arri, California clothing company executive, past president of the California Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs; art historian Ti-Grace Atkinson of New York; Ernesta D. Ballard, Philadelphia horticulturist and author; Elizabeth Boyer, attorney, past president of the Ohio League of Women Voters; Grace D. Cox, New York City attorney, president of the National Association of Women Lawyers; Professor Carl Degler of Stanford University, prominent historian and author; Alisson Drucker, student at the University of Chicago; Sister Mary Austin Doherty, a Catholic nun, teacher at Alverno College; Dr. Elizabeth Jane Farians, Catholic theologian from New Jersey; Frances Flores of Riverside, California, consultant to the Food and Drug Administration; Muriel Fox of New York City, vice-president of one of the country's largest public relations agencies; Ruth Gage-Colby of Minnesota and New York, journalist, and board member of the women's International League for Peace and Freedom; Jane Hart, wife of the Senator from Michigan, herself a professional pilot who campaigned for admission of women as astronauts; Claire Hatch, Connecticut teacher and industrial artist; Wilma Heide, Pittsburgh sociologist and journalist; Dr. Anna Arnold Hedgeman, coordinator of the Commission on Religion and Race of the National Council of Churches; Barbara Ireton, Washington public relations executive; Lucy Jarvis, prize-winning NBC Television network producer; Coretta King, Atlanta civic leader and concert singer, wife of Dr. Martin Luther King; Reverend Dean Lewis of Philadelphia, Secretary of the Office of Social Education and Evangelism, United Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.; Ollie Butler-Moore of Baton Rouge, dean of women at Louisiana State College; Eliza Paschall, Atlanta community relations official and member of the Unitarian Universalist Association Commission on Religion and Race; Marguerite Rawalt, Washington attorney and past president of the National Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs; Sylvia Radyx, Washington research consultant in information sciences; Dollie Robinson, New York attorney, official with the Hotel and Allied Service Union; Dr. Alice S. Rossi, prominent sociologist at Johns Hopkins University; Aaron Scheinfeld of Milwaukee and Chicago, chairman of Manpower, Inc.; Susanne Schad-Somers, Rutgers University sociologist; Georgianna Sellers, the Indiana worker mentioned previously; and Los Angeles attorney, Evelyn Whitlow.

 

Lesbian Rights (1971)

WHEREAS the first wave of feminist anger in this Country recognized the fundamental issue of women's liberation as "the most sacred right of all-a woman's right to her own person." This is the right that NOW reaffirmed a century later when it took up the banner and dedicated itself to changing those conditions in society, the laws, the practices, the attitudes - that prevented women from realizing their full human potential. Recognizing that a woman cannot reach this potential if she is denied the basic right to control her own body, NOW has demanded the dissemination of birth control information and contraceptives and the repeal of all laws against abortion. It has stopped short, however, of clarifying its position on every woman's right to define-and express -her own sexuality, to choose her own lifestyle. Specifically, NOW has been silent on the issue of lesbianism. Yet no other woman suffers more abuse and discrimination for the right to be her own person than does the lesbian, and

WHEREAS, the lesbian is doubly oppressed, both as a woman and as a homosexual, she must face the injustices and degradation common to all women, plus endure additional social, economic, legal, and psychological abuse as well. In education and employment, the lesbian confronts more than discrimination or tokenism. She can be arbitrarily rejected or dismissed from many professions, even those-such as teaching-traditionally relegated to women. Married women are denied equality under laws that decree men as head of the household, but a wife is nonetheless allowed some legal protection. A lesbian, however, who shares her home with another woman-regardless of her income or responsibilities-forgoes all the economic and legal compensations granted to the married woman, including the tax deductions, insurance benefits, inheritance rights, etc., and

WHEREAS, this prejudice against the lesbian is manifested in the courts as well, and

WHEREAS, most divorced women are conceded the right to their children, a lesbian is automatically presumed unfit for motherhood, and can have her children taken from her, and

WHEREAS, these are but a few of the laws and practices in our society that reflect irrational assumptions about lesbians. Just as the false and demeaning image of all women provides the rationale to keep them subjugated, so does the distorted stereotype of the lesbian sanction her persecution. Not only is she assumed to be unstable or sick or immoral; but because she defines herself independently of men, the lesbian is considered unnatural, incomplete, not quite a woman-as though the essence of womanhood were to be identified with men. Obviously, this Playboy image of the lesbian reduces her to an abject sexual object, deprived of the most basic civil and human rights due every person, and

WHEREAS, because she is so oppressed and so exploited, the lesbian has been referred to as "the rage of all women condensed to the point of explosion." This rage found a natural outlet in the women's liberation movement that seemed to view women in a new way and promised a new pride and sisterhood for every woman in search of equality and independence. Lesbians became active in NOW and in other groups, fighting for all the feminist goals, including child care centers and abortion repeal. As a result of their activism in the movement, lesbians -as did all feminists-reached a new consciousness, a new sense of their worth and dignity as women and human beings. They began to rebel against the intolerance of a society that condemned their lifestyle, but instead of finding support from their sisters, lesbians discovered that NOW and other liberation groups reflected some of the same prejudices and policies of the sexist society they were striving to change, and

WHEREAS, lesbians were never excluded from NOW, but we have been evasive or apologetic about their presence within the organization. Afraid of alienating public support, we have often treated lesbians as the step-sisters of the movement, allowed to work with us, but then expected to hide in the upstairs closet when company comes. Lesbians are now telling us that this attitude is no longer acceptable. Asking women to disguise their identities so they will not "embarrass" the group is an intolerable form of oppression, like asking black women to join us in white face. Furthermore, this discrimination is inconsistent with NOW's stated goal to "recognize our sisterhood" and to help women "overcome self-degradation." If this pledge is to be anything more than idle rhetoric, NOW must reassess the priorities that sacrifice principle to "image," and

WHEREAS, some members of NOW object that the lesbian question is too controversial to confront right now, that we will weaken the movement by alienating potential and current members who are comfortable with NOW's "respectable" image. The same argument, that women would be frightened away, was raised a few years ago when NOW took a bold stand on the controversial abortion issue. The argument did not prove prophetic then, and we do not believe it is valid now. We are, after all, a reform movement, with revolutionary goals. The D.A.R. can be "respectable," but as Susan B. Anthony pointed out:

"Cautious, careful people always casting about to preserve their reputation or social standards, can never bring about a reform. . ."

WHEREAS, it is encouraging to note that feminists are not so easily frightened. Since the resolution supporting lesbians was passed in Los Angeles NOW two months ago, the chapter has increased, not decreased, in membership. If a few cautious, careful people scurried away, the loss was imperceptible. And we are stronger now because many women feel more relaxed and are freer to work with us towards NOW goals, and

WHEREAS, another objection to the resolution contends that lesbian oppression is simply not "relevant" to the concerns of NOW; "the movement will be weakened or even destroyed" if we diffuse our energies on non-feminist issues. This is a curious argument, since all one has to do is read the NOW Bill of Rights to find that we have pledged support to the cause of "equal rights for all those who suffer discrimination and deprivation;" further, we have recognized a "common oppression that affects all women." If lesbians are women, and if lesbians suffer discrimination and deprivation, then the conclusion is inescapable: their oppression is not only relevant, but an integral part of the women's liberation movement, and

WHEREAS, we are affected by society's prejudices against the lesbian, whether we acknowledge it or not; as feminists we are all subject to lesbian-baiting by opponents who use the tactic of labeling us the worst thing they can think of, "lesbians," in order to divide and discredit the movement and bring women to heel. Even within NOW, regrettably, this tactic is employed by some members who conjure up the sexist-image of lesbians and shout "lavender menace" at anyone who opposes their views. NOW is inevitably weakened by these attempts to undermine the spirit and efforts of its members; we can no longer afford to ignore the problem; and

WHEREAS, the resolution does not mean that we are changing our emphasis and concentrating on specific lesbian issues, however. We have not been asked, nor do we intend, to diffuse our energies in any way. The resolution, in itself, is an action-the first step towards breaking down the barriers between women that have kept them weak and suppressed. We are giving notice that we recognize our sisterhood with all women and that we are fighting for every woman's "sacred right to her own person." As feminists, we can do no less;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED: That NOW recognizes the double oppression of women who are lesbians, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: That a woman's right to her own person includes the right to define and express her own sexuality and to choose her own lifestyle, and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED: That NOW acknowledge the oppression of lesbians as a legitimate concern of feminism.

 

Resolution on Establishing a Task Force on The Masculine Mystique
(1971)

WHEREAS the ideal of NOW is truly equal partnership for men and women, and

WHEREAS the reality is that many women continue to find men a stumbling block to their own development and many men are still not free to develop in ways other than those considered typically "male," and

WHEREAS the pervasive effects of "privileges" for women and "prerogatives" for men are equally injurious to their mutual growth and maturation, and

WHEREAS human liberation necessarily involves the critical examination, vigorous analysis and daily reacceptance of themselves as women and men, and

WHEREAS consciousness-raising groups of a continuing nature provide both the time and framework within which such an examination can occur,

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED: That NOW create a task force on the Masculine Mystique charged with suggesting the best methods in which women and men can successfully raise their consciousness to make truly equal partnership a reality.

 

Equal Rights Amendment

Declaration of State of Emergency

(February, 1978)

We declare a State of Emergency for the National Organization for Women in which we turn all our resources to the ratification effort and to extension of the deadline for ratification an additional seven years.

There comes a time when the harsh political realities must be recognized: the major interests of our country have hypocritically given lip service to the ERA while sabotaging its ratification by political deals, tradeoffs and do-nothingness.

There comes a time when a movement must decide its own destiny- when it must determine on what line it will stand and fight.

The ERA is the foundation on which all our gains rest. If the ERA is defeated, it will be perceived as a vote against equality for women. The gains women have made in the past 15 years will be eroded and erased. Worse yet, every future effort we make will be dismissed with the excuse that when the ERA failed, it proved that the women of this country didn't want equality.

Never mind that only 7% of those voting on the ERA in their state legislatures - where it counts-have been women.

Never mind that 80% of those women at the National Women's Conference-where it could have no binding effect-voted for the ERA.

Never mind that public opinion polls have time again proved majority support.

Never mind that 2/3 of the states with 3/4 of the population have ratified the ERA.

Political leaders do not want to be diverted by the truth or confused by the facts. And an indifferent national press refuses to consider the life and death issues facing women as hard news.

The burden on those of us who know the truth is to explode the myths, to confront the realities.

There comes a time to stand and fight and it is NOW.

The ERA is the last best hope in this century of committing this country to the principle of human equality-regardless of sex. It has been 55 years since the ERA was first introduced in Congress as the second step in guaranteeing full citizenship to women.

Two generations of women have now struggled for its ratification. If it fails, it will take 2 more generations to recover from the loss. There comes a time when we must have the courage to declare "This ABOVE ALL."

If we do not say this, who will?

If we who believe most passionately that all women and men are created equal are not willing to fight when the last chance to realize that dream in our lifetime is in dire peril, who will? If we who know the hypocrisy that has almost turned our victory into defeat will not expose it, who will?

If we do not rise to the challenge of going the extra mile, of giving all that we can in the last critical days, who will?

If we back away from a last ditch, all-out fight for the ERA today, what compromise of our convictions will we tolerate tomorrow?

WE MUST NOT REFUSE THIS CHALLENGE.

We must not deceive ourselves into believing that we can proceed with business as usual while the victory we have so nearly won is stolen from us.

Most of the traitors who switched votes and sold us out cannot be held accountable until after March, 1979 because they are not up for election until 1980. There is no longer one full legislative session left before the deadline is reached and our opposition is stalling with parliamentary delaying tactics and is prepared to stonewall it until time runs out. We cannot fool ourselves. We have done less than the best. We cannot fail to recognize that we in fact have not adequately alerted our own membership and indeed the nation to the peril to those of us who dream of full equality for women.

Therefore we declare a State of Emergency for the National Organization for Women in which we turn all our resources to the ratification effort and to extension of the deadline for ratification of the ERA an additional 7 years.

That we emphatically state that the extension of the deadline is necessary. Necessary for the real impact of the ERA boycott of convention business in unratified states; necessary for an electoral strategy to have full impact; necessary to remove time as the issue and to place the ERA before the public in an atmosphere in which the merits of the ERA itself are the only issue, necessary to erase the half-truths and distortions of the opposition and that we state emphatically that we are not willing to accept the false hope of reintroduction on March 23, 1979 that erases 55 years of work.

Rather we recognize that a vote against extension of the deadline is a vote against equality for women in this century.

There comes a time to gather the courage of our convictions, the strength of our unity, the passion of our commitment and declare we are pledged to do all that is humanly possible to pass H.J. Res. 638 - the extension of the time line in this session of Congress. We are determined to be victorious because we will not tolerate the possibility of living lives in which there is no realistic hope of sisters and brothers, wives and husbands, mothers and fathers, women and men, living together, working together as equals.

WE HAVE PASSED THE POINT OF NO RETURN!