The Feminist Chronicles, 1953-1993
Part I - No Women Need ApplyThe first of these issues to surface was the sex-segregated helpwanted advertising.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act read: "It shall be an unlawfulemployment practice for an employer . . . to publish or causeto be . . . published any notice or advertisement relating toemployment . . . indicating any preference, limitation, specification,or discrimination, based on race, color, religion, sex, or nationalorigin" except where a BFOQ existed.
The Commission had no second thoughts about ruling that a jobad specifying race would violate Title VII but convened a special 17 member committee (13 men and four women, 10 of whom representednewspapers or advertising agencies) on August 18, 1965, to considerthe sex question. Composed disproportionately of business interests,this committee quickly concluded that want ads segregated by sexin newspapers did not violate Title VII.27
But even as these deliberations were still in process, the supposedlyliberal press, kept up the drumbeat of trivialization. "Why,"asked the New Republic, "should the mischievous joke perpetratedon the floor of the House of Representatives be treated by a responsibleadministrative body with this kind of seriousness?"28
At first, the EEOC itself split 3-2 in favor of ruling that sex-segregatedhelp-wanted ads did violate Title VII, with Richard Graham, AileenHernandez, and Sam Jackson in the majority and Commission Chair,Franklin Roosevelt Jr., and Vice Chair, Luther Holcomb in theminority. But then Jackson changed his vote and the Commissionissued its ruling on Sep-tember 22, 1965, that sex-segregatedadvertising was permissible. All that was required was for thenewspaper publishers to print a disclaimer in a prominent place:
"NOTICE: many listings in the 'male' or 'female' columnsare not intended to exclude or discourage applications from personsof the other sex. Such listings are for the convenience of readersbecause some occupations are considered more attractive to personsof one sex than the other. Discrimination in employment becauseof sex is prohibited by the 1964 Federal Civil Rights Act withcertain exceptions. . . .Employment agencies and employers coveredby the Act must indicate in their advertisement whether or notthe listed positions are available to both sexes. . . . In theabsence of such a statement in the advertisement, readers mayassume the advertisers prefer applicants of a particular sex.. . ."29
As Hernandez pointed out, "the Commission's tortuous reasoningwas in marked contrast with a guideline proposed by the Wisconsin Industrial Commission in the same month which stated simply: 'Itshall be deemed a discriminatory practice because of sex to designatehelp-wanted columns 'male' and 'female' except where the exclusiveemployment of one sex is in positions where the nature of thework or working conditions provide valid reasons for hiring onlymen or women.'"30
On October 12, the National Council of Women of the United Statesheld a conference attended by some 300 women from across the countryat the Biltmore Hotel in New York City on Title VII and the EEOC.Both Dr. Pauli Murray, professor of law at Yale University anda member of the President's Commission on the Status of Women,and Franklin D. Roosevelt Jr., chair of the EEOC, were speakers.
In his speech, Roosevelt defended his agency's policy of permittingsex-segregated help-wanted ads, saying that enforcement of thelaw to protect women against employment discrimination had toproceed "gradually." He pointed out that in introducingthe amendment, Rep. Howard Smith had wanted to create "ridiculeand confusion." The last minute introduction of the amendmentmeant no Congressional hearings had been held, so it had no legislativehistory, Roosevelt contended.
Murray flatly declared that the EEOC's policy on job advertisingwas a violation of Title VII and a product of subtle oppositionto the new law.
"If it becomes necessary to march on Washington to assureequal job opportunities for all," Murray said, "I hopewomen will not flinch from the thought."
One of those who read the news coverage of this event in the NewYork Times the following morning was Betty Friedan; she made immediatetelephone contact with Dr. Murray, establishing one of the manyhistoric linkups that led to a re-emergence of an overt feministmovement in the U.S.
Murray had still more to say and she did so in collaboration withMary Eastwood, then employed in the Office of Legal Counsel inthe Department of Justice. Together they wrote an article, publishedin December 1965, in the George Washington Law Review, entitled,"Jane Crow and the Law: Sex Discrimination and Title VII."At the outset they declared, "That manifestations of racialprejudice have been more brutal than the more subtle manifestationsof prejudice by reason of sex in no way diminishes the force ofthe equally obvious fact that the rights of women and the rightsof Negroes are only different phases of the fundamental and indivisibleissue of human rights."31
Among the points they made in reviewing the legal discriminationsagainst women was that ". . . great scientific and socialchanges have already taken place, such as longer life span, smallerfamilies, and lower infant death rate, with the result that motherhoodconsumes smaller proportions of women's lives. Thus, the effectsof sex discrimination are felt by more women today."We areentering the age of human rights," they wrote. "In theUnited States, perhaps our most important concerns are with therights to vote and to representative government and with equalrights to education and employment. Hopefully, our economy willoutgrow concepts of class competition, such as Negro v. white,youth v. age, or male v. female, and, at least in matters of employment,standards of merit and individual quality will control ratherthan prejudice."32
In January 1966, historian Dr. Carl N. Degler, who had participatedin the American Academy of Arts and Science Conference in 1963with Alice Rossi, further developed his ideas for a new symposiumin Dallas, Texas entitled, "American Women in Social andPolitical Affairs-Change and Challenge."
In this presentation, he declared, "We have to restructurethe attitudes of women as well as men as to what is the properplace of women in society; we have to broaden the expectationsof young women; we have to expand our conception of what a womanmay become. As a society we have to act as if we believe thatwomen are entitled to careers as well as to babies and husbands.This is not to say that every woman will want a career or willeven have one. But if the paths are to be kept open for thosewho do and if we are to make maximum use of the talents of women,then we have to abandon the prevalent notion that a girl mustchoose between a career and marriage. And even for those youngwomen who do elect not to take a job or pursue a career when theymarry, they should know that in the modern life-pattern of Americanwomen raising a family is, in fact, not a lifetime job."33
Aileen Hernandez circulated copies of this paper to her colleagueson the EEOC in the hope of enlarging their vision.In the meantime,however, the second issue surfaced at the EEOC-the discriminationagainst women that resulted from state protective legislation.
The major types of state laws regulating the employment of womenwere: laws prohibiting the employment of women in certain occupations,such as in bars and mines; maximum hour laws that women couldwork; minimum wage laws for women; laws prohibiting the employmentof women during certain hours of the night in certain industries;laws limiting the weights women could lift on the job (from alow of 15 pounds in Utah to 35 pounds in Michigan); and laws requiringspecial facilities for women employees such as chairs and restrooms.
The U.S. Supreme Court case that provided the legal precedentfor the passage of a mushrooming number of these laws by the stateswas Muller v. Oregon in 1908. The Oregon law had limited the numberof hours women could work and had been hailed by trade unions,some of which had originally pushed to have the law cover bothmen and women. In upholding the Oregon law, the U.S. Supreme Court'sdecision declared ". . . women's physical structure and theperformance of maternal functions place her at a disadvantagein the struggle for subsistence. . . [her physical well-being]becomes an object of public interest and care in order to preservethe strength and vigor of the race. . . [she] is properly placedin a class by herself, and legislation designed for her protectionmay be sustained even when like legislation is not necessary formen and could not be sustained."
Being in "a class by herself" however was being perceivedby many women in the work force less as a protection than as amajor obstacle to better job opportunities and higher pay, includingthe higher rates paid for working overtime. And the EEOC beganreceiving an increasing number of complaints filed by women thatraised the issue of the conflict between Title VII and these statelaws.
On November 22, 1965, the Commission released the guidelines coveringthese complaints: "The Commission will not find an unlawfulemployment practice where an employer's refusal to hire womenfor certain work is based on a state law which precludes the employmentof women for such work, provided that the employer is acting ingood faith and that the law in question is reasonably adaptedto protect women rather than to subject them to discrimination.. . ."
In his comments at the press conference at which the guidelineswere released, EEOC Chair Roosevelt said the Commission couldnot assume Congress intended to strike down state legislation,though "study demonstrates that some of this legislationis irrelevant to the present day needs of women." However,he went on to say that until the laws were revised, the Commission"will consider qualifications set by state laws or regulationsto be bona fide occupational qualifications and not in conflict"with Title VII.
The third issue to surface during the first year of the EEOC's operations involved the entire airline industry. Flight attendants-thencalled "stewardesses"-filed an escalating number ofcomplaints charging that the airlines were violating Title VIIby hiring only women for that job, by discharging them if theymarried, and by firing or grounding them when they reached theage of 32 or 35.
On October 25, 1965, Judith Evenson filed a sex discriminationcomplaint against Northwest Airlines because it required women,but not men, to sign an agreement to resign after they got married.
Aileen Hernandez, the decision commissioner on this complaint,found "reasonable cause" that Evenson was the victimof sex discrimination and directed a Commission conciliation teamto attempt to restore her to her job, in spite of her marriage,and get her back pay for the period since she had been dischargedby Northwest.
The conciliation effort failed and Northwest and other airlinespetitioned the EEOC for a public hearing on their request fora BFOQ exemption for the position of flight attendant.
At the first hearing on May 10, 1966, and for months afterward,the airlines attempted to make their case that being female wasessential to the job. They did so primarily by citing surveysthat indicated a customer "preference" for young, unmarriedwomen as flight attendants.
In the meantime, on March 27, 1966, the New York Times reportedthat a spokesperson for the EEOC had said that the EEOC was movingcarefully on sex discrimination issues because of the absenceof legal precedent, out of its concern for upsetting protectivelabor legislation and because "it did not want this areato interfere with its main concern, racial discrimination."
Then, a month later on April 27, the majority of the EEOC buckledcompletely under pressure from newspaper publishers and advertisersand amended its guidelines to lift even its mild requirements,essentially permitting the advertising of jobs in sex-segregatedcolumns.
On May 19, Michigan Congresswoman Martha Griffiths challengedthe guidelines in a letter to the EEOC that declared, "Iassume you will agree that the heading 'white' or 'Negro' or 'Protestant'would be prohibited by the statute, and therefore I have difficultyseeing how advertisements under the headings of 'male' or 'female'could be in compliance with the very clear prohibitions of Section704(b). . . I am convinced that advertising columns labeled bysex. . . is most pernicious because it reinforces prejudicialattitudes limiting women to the less rewarded and less rewardingtypes of work."
Luther Holcomb, then serving as Acting Chairman of the EEOC becauseRoosevelt had resigned to run for governor of New York, respondedby letter, contending, "Column headings do not prevent personsof either sex from scanning the area of the jobs-available page."
On June 20, Griffiths took to the floor of Congress to castigatethe Commission for its approach to sex discrimination issues,characterizing it as "nothing more than arbitrary arrogance,disregard of law, and a manifestation of flat hostility to thehuman rights of women." She termed its ruling on sex-segregatedwant ads as a "peak of contempt."
"I would remind them," she said, "that they tookan oath to uphold the law, not just the part of it that they areinterested in." To Holcomb, in particular, she respondedpointedly, "I have never entered a door labeled 'Men,' andI doubt that Mr. Holcomb has frequently entered the women's room."
Catherine East, now serving as the Executive Secretary of both the Interdepartmental Committee on the Status of Women and theCitizen's Advisory Council on the Status of Women, fanned thegrowing dissatisfaction with the EEOC's handling of sex-discriminationcomplaints by seeing that copies of Griffiths' speech were distributedto the delegates of the state commissions assembled for the third annual conference of Commissions on the Status of Women on June28 in Washington, D.C.
Presiding at the conference were the small hierarchy of women then prominent in government, mostly from the Department of Laborand the Women's Bureau. These included Esther Peterson, Mary Keyserling,heading the Women's Bureau, and Marguerite Gilmore, chief of theBureau's field division.
Margaret Hickey, public affairs editor of the Ladies' Home Journal,who had been on the President's Commission and was also just retiringas chair of the Citizen's Advisory Council, actually conductedmany of the conference sessions.
Hickey was, in reality, one of the only women in the leadershipof the conference who was a free agent; most of the others weresubordinates in the male-dominated Department of Labor and membersof the political administration then in power. They were subjectto discipline as well as instructions from its upper echelons.Their leeway for encouraging or even entertaining expressionsof dissent with administration policies was obviously minimal.
Even the state commissioners in attendance could be subject tointimidation or reprisal. Many came freshly aware of what hadhappened to the Illinois Commission on the Status of Women, whichhad been established with funding of only $10,000 for its activities.(Many commissions in other states had to fund themselves). Theyear after the Illinois Commission succeeded in getting and equalpay act passed in the state, it lost its funding in the statebudget.
However, among the conference attendees were a core of willing dissidents. For them, hope coupled with frustration had arousedan impatient passion for what at last seemed possible. Tolerancefor any new frustration was at an all-time low.
Betty Friedan attended this conference as a writer/observer, andhas indicated she arrived already persuaded of the need for acivil rights organization to represent the interests of women.
She had, Friedan wrote, "followed closely the valiant effortsof Richard Graham and Aileen Hernandez as Equal Opportunity EmploymentCommissioners to enforce the prohibition against sex discriminationin employment" and she had "learned how seriously handicappedthey were by the absence of support or pressure from organizationswho would speak out on behalf of equality for women as the CivilRights Movement had done for Negroes. The leaders of a numberof major women's organizations told me that they could not ordid not wish to speak out in protest against sex discriminationor press for serious enforcement of the law on behalf of women,for fear of being called 'feminist.' " 35
During this same period, EEOC Commissioners Richard Graham and Aileen Hernandez were "privately suggesting the need foran organization to speak on behalf of women in the way civil rightsgroups had done for Blacks."36
"I still remember running into Dorothy Haener [of the United Automobile Workers] and Pauli Murray on the escalator the first morning at the Washington Hilton," Friedan wrote, "and agreeing, somewhat less than enthusiastically, that we would inviteto my hotel room that night anyone we met who seemed likely to be interested in organizing women for action."37
After hearing Kay Clarenbach, head of the Wisconsin Commissionon Women, give what Friedan described as "a biting talk onhow far from equality the very terms were in which the statusof women was being discussed,"38 she invited Clarenbach tothe meeting. According to Friedan, her co-conspirators were horrified,describing Clarenbach as "the darling of the Women's Bureau."39
Clarenbach's status with the Department of Labor's Women's Bureauprobably was cause for concern among the more militantly-mindedwomen because of the prominence of representatives from the Women'sBureau in the machinery of the conference and the relatively "conservative"reputation of the Bureau itself.
Because of the Bureau's origins in the trade union movement, ittended to reflect the traditional male-dominated biases of unions.Many union women were all too painfully aware that the unionshad never been a dynamic force for opening job opportunities towomen on an equal basis with men. Unions had a long history ofopposition to the ERA because it threatened protective labor legislationfor working women, which unions favored, though they dependedon independent trade union negotiation and action to advance therights of working men. Unions had in fact provided testimony opposingthe inclusion of sex discrimination in Title VII of the CivilRights Act.
Some 15-20 women assembled in Friedan's hotel room, among them:Catherine Conroy of the Communication Workers of America, fromWisconsin; Inka O'Hanrahan and Rosalind Loring from the CaliforniaCommission on the Status of Women; Mary Eastwood from the Departmentof Justice in Washington, D.C. ; Dorothy Haener, Pauli Murray,Kay Clarenbach and, of course, Betty Friedan.
What happened in the now legendary hotel room meeting has beenvariously described by several of the participants. At a dinnerhonoring the founders of NOW at the 1971 national conference inLos Angeles, Dorothy Haener presented one account, excerpted here:
"The whole concept of the need in this country of an NAACPfor women was really brought to me by women who worked in theLabor Department. One in particular, a Black friend of mine, madeit very clear that what the women in this country really neededwas an NAACP for women. And frankly, that night in Betty's hotelroom, when it almost didn't come off because there were some womenthere who said, 'Do you really think we need another women's organization?'and I can recollect . . . that the session which up until thenhad been very productive, completely erupted and we really hada kind of all-out shouting match. And Betty ended up by openingthe door and saying to one woman, 'You know, this is my room andmy liquor and you're perfectly free to say anything you please,but you're not going to use my room and my liquor while you'redoing it.' And so, after she had left, some of us tried to smooththings over. And in the process of smoothing things over, we cameup with the idea of allowing that group that thought they couldjust work within the establishment to try the following day toget a motion on the floor to reappoint Richard Graham, who haddone such a wonderful job for women on the Equal Employment OpportunityCommission. Now those of us who were in the know knew that [President]Lyndon Johnson didn't intend to reappoint him because he was doinga job for women and because, really, we had such a terrible timetrying to make Title VII anything but the standard cocktail hourjoke in Washington about [Playboy] bunnies. And so we said, 'Well,let them try.' "40
Another participant, Nancy Knaak, then a member of the WisconsinCommission on the Status of Women and dean of women at the RiverFalls campus of the University of Wisconsin, who also became afounder of NOW, remembered it somewhat differently in an accountwritten in 1973:
"On the second night of the conference, I crossed paths withKay Clarenbach in the hotel lobby. There was to be a meeting inBetty's room, she said, and I ought to come. I had no idea whythere was to be a meeting, and was reluctant to appear withoutan invitation, but Kay assured me that it was quite an informalaffair and the gathering a random one . . . .
"The meeting began at a late-ish hour . . . perhaps 10:00p.m. Though I did not count the house, it was my impression that15 or 20 women were crowded into all available space, and I consideredit fortunate to find a swatch of wall against which I could leanwhile sitting on the floor from a vantage point which requiredpeering over two beds towards Betty and Kay who somehow were ensconcedon chair or stool. Some of the women were drinking, but becausethe choice was limited and because I was a sort of unintendedguest, I found a paper cup and settled for plain water.
"The discussion seemed to have just gotten underway. No clearleadership had been established, but the main conversants wereBetty, Kay, and Pauli Murray. They seemed to think there was aneed for still another kind of structure which could effectivelymeet women's needs as the earnest souls present at the conferenceweren't going to be able to. I was slow to offer an opinion, theevidence seeming to be that this was no random group at all. Rather,I had a hunch that several of the folk there might well have hada preliminary meeting for which the agenda for this one had alreadybeen outlined. This impression was confirmed when the acronymof NOW was so quickly proposed. Though Betty takes credit forit, and my own recollection may be inaccurate, I think it wasKay who suggested such a label-and several quickly gave assent.(Betty says she wrote the letters on a napkin earlier in the day:perhaps Kay was merely introducing the notion for her. But whateverelse, it was Kay who said more than once that the objectives ofsuch an organization would include bringing women into 'full participationin the mainstream of American society'. . . and in full partnershipwith men.' If credit for those phrases is ever due, it has tobe accorded Kay and not Betty.")41
"This discussion was interesting, wide-ranging, and passionate,"Nancy Knaak remembered.
Rosalind Loring's recollection was that much of the conversationwas about how angry most of the women present were at what washappening at that conference and what they could do to changethe way it was being conducted. The feeling was that the Women's Bureau staff was "sitting on them and not letting them makestrong enough statements about what they expected the Federa lgovernment to provide in the way of services, legislation, support,etc. Mary [Keyserling] was trying to keep it low key because therewere other people there from the Department of Labor-male, more senior people, or higher-up-the-echelon people."42
"It became clear," Loring recalled, "that while all of us in the room were very uncomfortable with the way the conference was being conducted, because I really agreed with Betty-it was arbitrary-I guess the difference was in how we thought itshould be handled."43
The ostensible cause celebre-what they wanted from the conference-seemsharmless enough in retrospect: passage by the conference of theCommissions of a resolution calling for the enforcement of TitleVII by the EEOC and for the reappointment of Richard Graham (his term expired July 2) as an EEOC Commissioner. Had they been permittedto pass this resolution, it might have convinced at least someof the dissidents that the existing mechanisms-the combinationof state commissions and federal agencies- could be useful inadvocating the interests of women.
"Finally," according to Knaak, "it was Pauli Murraywho seemed to have a course of action to suggest." Knaak recalled Murray beginning to outline an organizational plan, speakingfrom notes on a large, yellow legal pad. At about this point,as she remembers it, Knaak interrupted to offer "the benefitsof my great wisdom."
Loring's recollection was that when Knaak spoke, it wasn't indisagreement. "She was really asking League-like questions,such as, 'Have we really explored all the alternatives? Have youtold Mary [Keyserling] how you feel about this? Have we exhaustedall the channels?' "
"Betty, however, was not pleased," Knaak remembered."By the time I'd all but concluded. . . Betty was visiblyannoyed, a response which grew in intensity. Finally, she interruptedmy lecture to ask, 'Who invited you?' She said more, but whatI really heard was Kay's quick assertion that it had been shewho'd done so, and that I somehow had a right to be where I was.'Get out! Get out!' Betty shouted.
Knaak can't remember what verbal response, if any, she made, butLoring recalled that she replied, "I will not. I'm havingtoo good a time!" Knaak remembered feeling "entitledto disagree . . . it seemed to be justified in a fluid situation."
"So I was not about to get out. In fact, had it taken a herdof camels, I'd not have moved from my uncomfortable spot if Icould have helped it. Voices were raised in my defense-Kay's andothers-not on the grounds that I'd said anything worth considering,but purely on the matter of the right to speak, invited or not.Betty noted the conflict, saw my failure to leave, and she thereuponstomped to the bathroom, entered, slammed its door, and noisilysnapped the lock. What a pickle. Perhaps I really didn't belongin that room . . . . [But] I also considered Betty's demonstrationto be childish, so I decided to wait her out. If I had to leavebefore she would come out of the bathroom, then, by gum, she couldstay in there all the rest of the night.
"What Dorothy Haener later described as 'some of us triedto smooth things over' occurred then-and not after my departure.We lowered our voices, I retreated from the certainty of my stance,and the meeting continued. It had lost some of its momentum: afterall, our hostess was locked in her bathroom! But discussion wasquieter, arguments modified, and we did move on to other considerations.I timed it on my watch: Betty returned to the group after a 15-minuteperiod of isolation, ignored my presence, and gradually resumedher role as an important participant. And in awkward concession,I remained until she seemed sufficiently distracted by the businessat hand, so that I could inch toward the exit and leave, generallyunnoticed."44
"Among the limited legends of NOW," Knaak commented,"the woman 'thrown out who never returned' has been a sortof symbol of constancy of those who remained. That I am stillamong the membership does make me feel a bit subversive sometimes."
". . . I have regret that I am still that legendary woman.She serves a purpose, I suppose, in showing that there was deviationwithin the charmed circle, but I'm really rather tired of beingher. I was there. I cared a whole lot. And I'm still among thepeople who consider justice for all human beings to be a worthygoal."45
Friedan identified Clarenbach as among those who resisted theidea of forming a new organization. Knaak's memory is that noone really opposed the idea and there was general agreement thatit had to be done. Her recollection was that part of the planagreed on that night was to meet again at lunch the next day tofurther develop the idea and recruit more support before theyall had to leave for home.
Knaak remembered that while it was agreed that Clarenbach wouldmake another formal attempt at getting the conference leadershipto accept the resolutions, no one expected her to succeed. Itwould just be one last confirmation that "we were not goingto be allowed to move" and a new organization was necessary.
Loring's recollection was that she and a friend, who was alsopresent at the hotel room meeting, shared the same reaction andweren't as ready as some of the others "to go all the way."But their objection was not to the idea of forming an organization(they both joined NOW later), but to "the tone of voice"which she remembered as uncomfortably "strident."
"It sounded to us more energized than the occasion called for," Loring said. "In fact, now that I look back onit, I am sure that that much energy wasn't caused just by thatconference. That was a catalyst. But there was a lot of feelingbuilding in a lot of women then and, depending on their otherexperiences, they were more-or less-ready."46 Friedan recalled,". . . they left, in what I felt was sanctimonious disapprovalof me for suggesting anything so radical as an independent organization.And Pauli Murray, the Black scholar who'd triggered me first,and my indefatigable friends from the Washington underground,and Dorothy Haener from UAW and I just looked at one another andshrugged, 'Women-what can you expect?' "47
The next day, as expected, the leaders of the conference-Hickey,Peterson and Keyserling-ruled the Clarenbach resolutions "outof order" because the participants in the conference werenot really official delegates and "government commissionscannot take action against other government departments."What they were really saying was that they did not want resolutionsbeing passed at the conference that would embarrass or criticizeits sponsor-the Johnson Administration-an angered Clarenbach reportedback to Friedan and the others who had been at the meeting thenight before.
With time running out on the conference, about 15 of the "dissidents"gathered at several tables during the final formal conferenceluncheon and under the very noses of the conference's leadershipplanned the formation of the new organization.
The recollections of another founder, Gene Boyer, of Beaver Dam,WI, provides some of the ambience of those now historic moments:
"My own memories of those fateful days at the National Conferenceof Commissions on the Status of Women in Washington are stillvery vivid," she wrote in 1971, "although I was amongthe 'lesser lights' attending the event as chairwoman of one ofthe two municipal commissions on the status of women which existedat that time. . . .
"I was at a nearby luncheon table, straining to overhearthe heavily whispered conversation, but the word about 'gettingorganized to take action' was soon buzzing around the conference,and I knew I wanted to be part of it. There were allusions to'reaching the grass roots' which struck a respondent note in me.Why, I had grass roots hanging out of my ears. Perhaps more thanany other woman there, I was aware of the undiscovered hordesof frustrated feminists buried alive in the small, dusty cornersof our nation. . . .
"For me, the most exciting moment was just before we allran off to catch our planes when a few of us gathered in a smallmeeting room to start the ball rolling. Catherine Conroy pulledout a five-dollar bill from her wallet and, in her usual tersestyle, invited us to 'put your money down and sign your name.'NOW was a reality, and I think we all felt somehow we had participatedin a significant beginning."48
What the women had agreed upon, sitting at those tables duringthe luncheon and at the second quick gathering before they leftfor the airport, was documented in a memorandum of record by AnaloyceE. Clapp, dated June 29, 1966:
"In a hurried gathering on the final day of the Third NationalConference of the Commissions on the Status of Women . . . 28women met to set up a temporary organization for this purpose:
"'To take action to bring women into full participation inthe mainstream of American society now, assuming all the privilegesand responsibilities thereof in truly equal partnership with men.'
"These agreements were arrived at in informal manner:
"1. That Kathryn Clarenbach act as temporary chairman.
"2. That members join as individuals; it will be a voluntaryorganization, speaking only for ourselves.
"3. That the group be called the National Organization forWomen (N.O.W.).
"4. That NOW will recommend action in the areas of equalityfor women.
"5. That we begin with the assumption that we will not haveunanimity on all questions.
"6. That NOW will be an action organization for the advancementof women into equal participation in the whole spectrum of Americanlife.
"7. That each member contribute $5 per month toward the expensesof the organization. The ultimate financing will be decided later.
"8. That NOW keep in touch with all similar groups, bothaction and non-action groups.
"9. That a telegram be sent to each of the EEOC Commissionersurging them to rescind the Commissions ruling that help-wantedads again be labeled Male and Female.
"These agreements came after a discussion of the ruling thatgovernment commissions cannot take action against other departments.It was felt that this was the time for action in this field. Thatthe problem cannot be tackled through existing apparatus was confirmedby talking with Margaret Hickey, retiring chairman of the Citizen'sAdvisory Council on the Status of Women, Mary Keyserling, directorof the Women's Bureau of the Department of Labor, and MargueriteGilmore, Chief Field Division, Women's Bureau, U. S. Departmentof Labor.
"Everyone agreed that in forming NOW, there be no impliedcriticism of any existing group or conference, but rather a realizationof the limitations of various organizations. Further, an organizationis needed that can supply nationwide pressures on an immediatebasis, an organization that will identify the problems (in thefield of equal rights) and relay the information to other interestedorganizations.
"Recruiting of membership will continue until August 1, 1966,when the charter list will be closed. [Clarenbach recommendedthis date be extended to September 1, according to a footnote].
"Simple rules of operation will be set up by mail and phone.
"An executive committee may be selected by the chairman tohelp her in any way necessary.
"There was agreement on three areas of immediate concern:
"1. Jury participation
"2. Title VII (Civil Rights Act of 1964)
"3. Newspaper ads."