N.O.W. Task Force on the Family – 1967

Guiding Ideology:

The basic ideological goal of NOW is a society in which men and women have an equitable balance in the time and interest with which they participate in work, family and community. NOW should seek and advocate personal and institutional measures which would reduce the disproportionate involvement of men in work at the expense of meaningful participation in family and community, and the disproportionate involvement of women in family at the expense of participation in work and community.

SUGGESTED MEASURES TO IMPLEMENT THIS GOAL:

Section 1 –

Cultivation of a wide spectrum of interests and skills among both girls and boys. If men and women are to participate as equal partners in adult life, boys must be encouraged to develop broad non-vocational interests, domestic skills and eagerness for community service, and young girls must be exposed to a wide range of career possibilities and encouraged to make career choices consistent with their true interests rather than social expectations of appropriate female fields. Only by changes in childhood experience and exposure can we counteract the work-achievement-science-money focus of American men, and the narrow home-nurturance-culture-beauty focus of American women.

Section 2 –

Later age at marriage and first pregnancy. If more women finished their educational training and acquired work experience relevant to their long range occupational goal before marriage and maternity, they would acquire more of the motivation, self-confidence and independence necessary for a balanced pattern of work and family life involvement after marriage. NOW should encourage wider opportunity of choice as to when or whether a person should marry or remarry, have or not have children.

Section 3 –

Individual control of reproductive life. 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education, provision of birth control information and contraceptives, and urges that all laws penalizing abortion be repealed.

Section 4 –

Expansion and change in home maintenance services. NOW urges the upgrading of the status and competence of domestic service occupations. This is a necessary change both to improve the social and economic lot of household employees, and to enable women who have to work or wish to work, to minimize the length of time they withdraw from the labor force due to family and home responsibilities.

Section 5 –

Expansion and change in child care services. If women are to participate on an equitable basis with men in the world of work and of community service, child-care facilities must become as much a part of our community facilities as parks and libraries are, to be used or not used at the discretion of individual parents. NOW encourages the development of a variety of child-care facilities available on an all-day, all-year basis, adequate to the needs of children from the preschool years through early adolescence. This can be accomplished by the upgrading of skills and licensing of “mother substitutes” similar to the development of practical nursing, as well as by child-care centers administered as an added employee facility by private or public employers at the place of work, as a logical extension of the local educational system. Standards for facilities and personnel should be established by law.

Section 6 –

Revision of divorce laws and alimony arrangements so that unsuccessful marriages may be terminated without hypocrisy, and new marriages contracted without undue financial hardship to either man or woman

Section 7 –

Loosening of nepotism rulings and practices so that husbands and wives can work for the same enterprise in business, government or the educational system.

Section 8 –

Revision of tax laws to permit the deduction of full home and child-care expenses in income taxes of working parents.

Section 9 –

Revision of social security laws to assure equitable coverage for married and widowed women who have worked, as they now do for married women who did not work, and to eliminate discrimination based on sex or marital status in the conferring of benefits thereunder. (The question of divorced women was raised and was referred to the Legal Committee for clarification.)

Section 10 –

Maternity Benefits. Since bearing and rearing of children is an important and valued contribution to the perpetuation of our society, maternity should not involve any penalties to women who have to or wish to work. NOW encourages a campaign to eliminate discrimination on the basis of maternity by the protection of a woman’s right to return to her job within a reasonable time after childbirth, determined by the woman herself, without loss of her disability credits or seniority.

Section 11 –

Expansion of “sick leave” to family members of employees. Men and women should be able to use sick leave to cover illnesses of children or spouses, not merely themselves. This is a needed social change both to revise our thinking from the needs of the individual to the needs of the family unit and to facilitate the sharing by men and women of their parental and marital responsibilities. Permit the deduction of full home and child-care expenses in income taxes of working parents.

Section 12 –

Employment laws designed to shorten hours of work should be revised to require equal treatment of male and female workers. As a current example, many women cannot work overtime if they wish to and many men feel compelled to work more overtime than they wish to. State employment laws should be reviewed and revised to assure that male and female employees have the right to refuse overtime work beyond a specified legal limit on overtime hours per week. Only by such equitable treatment can working fathers and mother participate equally in the pleasures and responsibilities of home care and child rearing.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PRIORITY:

(1) CHILD CARE

(a) Everyone opposes H.R. 12080 as passed by the House of Representatives. Urge support of the Kennedy amendment.

(b) NOW should take vigorous action to disassociate child care centers from “poor children of welfare cases.” Child care facilities should be community resources like parks and libraries, to be used or not at the discretion of individual citizens.

(2) Cultivation of wide spectrum of interests and skills among young boys and girls. Urge Image and Education Task Forces to concern themselves with books in elementary schools re image of what women do.

(3) Urge all members of NOW to affiliate with National Committee for Day Care of Children, 114 East 32nd St., New York, NY 10016.

(4) Urge and recommend that NOW have more detailed discussion of maternity benefit issue before taking any action on this issue.

MOTIONS:

Propose the motion that 4 articles be approved to the Bill of Rights of 1968:

(1) Right of women who have to or want to work by protecting her right to remain on the job during pregnancy and return to her job after childbirth without loss of disability credits or seniority.

(2) Revision of tax laws to make child care and home maintenance tax deductible.

(3) Encourage the development of child care facilities for all preschool children and older children for hours they are not in school, to be used or not used at the discretion of individual citizens, much as parks and libraries are.

(4) NOW endorses the human right of every woman to control her reproductive life.