Part II – 1982

1953 | 1954 | 1955 | 1956 |1957 | 1958 | 1959
1960 | 1961 | 1962 | 1963 | 1964 | 1965 | 1966
1967 | 1968 | 1969 | 19701971 | 1972 | 1973
1974 | 1975 | 1976 | 1977 | 1978 | 1979 | 1980
1981 | 1982 | 1983 | 1984 | 1985 | 1986 | 1987
1988 | 1989 | 1990 | 1991 | 1992 | Epilogue, 1993


According to a poll conducted by The Daily Oklahoman, 44% of Oklahomans said they favored ERA, 39% opposed it, and 15% said they weren’t sure. However, when read the text of the ERA, support soared to 80.6%. (01/82)

Nine years after the U.S. Supreme Court decision on abortion, 75% of Americans opposed a constitutional amendment that would allow Congress to ban abortions, according to an Associated Press/NBC News Poll. Only 19% favored it, 6% weren’t sure and 77% said they agreed with the statement, “The decision to have an abortion should be left to the woman and her physician.” (01/20-21/82)

Former Presidents Jimmy Carter and Gerald Ford issued a joint statement urging ratification of ERA. (01/18/82)

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 6-3 in the case of North Haven Board of Education v. Bell that the law barring sex discrimination by schools and colleges receiving Federal funding covered not only the students but also the employees of those institutions. The decision was written by Justice Harry A. Blackmun and joined by Sandra Day O’Connor, William J. Brennan, Thurgood Marshall, John Paul Stevens, and Byron White. (05/17/82)

In the final month of the decade long drive to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, NOW President Eleanor Smeal charged that the insurance industry was among the “vested interests” in an “invisible lobby” that had worked to defeat the amendment. Other industries want to preserve cheap labor pools and “. . . we know the insurance companies have been working state by state to block any bans on sex discrimination in rates and benefits,” Smeal said. (06/01/82)

On June 30, 1982, the Equal Rights Amendment fell three states short of ratification. Business in general and the insurance industry in particular had opposed it. Most revealing: 75% of women state legislators in the four key states but only 46% of the men voted to ratify; only 55% of Democrats voted for it; and 75% of Republicans voted against it.

Women’s Equality Day, 1982, the first since a handful of legislatures blocked the ERA, was the day NOW’s PACs launched a $3 million fundraising drive for the fall state and congressional elections. Some 65 PAC/ WOMAN Walkathons were held nationwide with the largest in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, and San Francisco, each with more than 1000 walkers. (08/82)

When members of the National Association of Women Judges met in New York, they handed down an impromptu judgment on the Reagan Administration. The verdict: Guilty of short-changing women on Federal court appointments. The Reagan Administration had racked up just four women on its list of 84 federal court appointees. (1982)

Judy Goldsmith, NOW Vice President-Executive, was elected to a three year term as President at the 15th annual NOW Conference in Indianapolis, IN, October 8-10. Other new officers included: Barbara Timmer, Vice President-Executive; Mary Jean Collins, Vice President-Action; Kathy Webb, Secretary; and Alice Chapman, re-elected Treasurer. (10/10/82)


Los Angeles (CA) NOW activist David M. Dismore pedaled east from the Santa Monica Pier on a coast-to-coast bike-a-thon to raise funds and generate publicity for the Equal Rights Amendment. In 148 days (92 on the road) the “adventure of a lifetime for the cause of the century” covered 4,482 miles, generated $3,000 in pledges and received coverage in 50 local newspapers as Dismore crossed the country, then circled Florida’s perimeter, arriving in Tallahassee for the second time the day before an ERA rally. (01/09/82)

Wisconsin became the first state in the nation to pass a law that prohibited discrimination against homosexuals in all areas regulated by the state, including both public and private employment, housing and public accommodations. In a formal ceremony, Republican Governor Lee Dreyfus signed the Gay Rights Bill and presented the pen to the author of the measure, State Representative David Clarenbach (D-Madison). (02/25/82)

Eleanor Spikes, 46, partner in the firm of Hernandez Associates, a civil rights and women’s rights activist and former coordinator of the the Minority Women’s Task Force of NOW, died on April 3, after a long, courageous battle against cancer. In 1975 Spikes assisted the first group of women to enter and successfully complete training as full-service police officers in the San Francisco Police Department in a year-long project funded by the Mayor’s Criminal Justice Planning Council. She was a co-founder of the Black Women Organized for Action in San Francisco and served on local boards of Planned Parenthood and the YMCA. (04/03/82)

The number of one-parent families headed by divorced women grew 181% between 1970 and 1981, from 956,000 to 2,700,000. In the same period, one-parent families headed by women separated from their husbands grew from 1.1 million to 1.6 million. (1982)NOW Membership – 225,000; Annual Budget – $9,050,000; NOW PAC – $1,700,000 (1982)

According to a book entitled Somebody Has To Do It by Penney Kome, the average employed woman with children did 30 hours of housework in addition to her paid job. (1982)

Women who raised families and worked outside the home had a lower incidence of high blood pressure and heart ailments despite the popular notion that such dual roles produce anxiety and stress, according to a report in Science Digest magazine. According to the author of the report, Georgetown University Medical School physiologist Estelle Ramey, the women were healthier because of the reduced stress afforded by the sense of security a salary brings in an era of high divorce rates. (09/01/82)

Illinois NOW chapters joined together in front of the Chicago Bulls’ ticket office in downtown Chicago to picket against Quintin Dailey, the basketball club’s number one draft choice who was convicted of assaulting a University of San Francisco nursing student in her dormitory room. (10/30/82)

Sexual harassment would no longer be “condoned or tolerated” in the United States Navy, according to an order by Vice Chief of Naval Operations Admiral William N. Small. Small ordered commanders to crack down on sexual harassment with “swift and appropriate disciplinary action.”(11/12/82)


A report released by the National Advisory Council on Women’s Educational Programs showed that in the nine years since Title IX, a federal statute which prohibited sex discrimination in federally funded educational institutions, was enforced, the number of females in interscholastic highschool sports increased by 527% to almost one third of the total. And female athletic scholarships increased impressively, from 1% of the total in 1972 to 22% in 1982. The report also called attention to much slower progress in jobs for women in education and continuing serious inequities in funding of women’s sports in college. (01/82)

The California Title IX signed into law by Governor Jerry Brown, and actually more comprehensive than the Federal Title IX, outlawed sex discrimination in any program or activity of an educational institution receiving any state financial assistance. It covered participation in programs or activities, financial assistance, athletics and employment, and set rules regarding pregnancy and related conditions and also required the use of instructional materials which provided a balanced view of women and men. The concept of a California Title IX bill originated with Phyllis W. Cheng of the Educational Task Force of the Los Angeles NOW chapter and was backed by California NOW and 26 other organizations. (09/16/82)


Low pensionsor the total lack of themwere the main cause of women’s poverty, according to Karen Ferguson of the Pension Rights Center. Ferguson offered the sobering statistics that though 85% of married women outlive their husbands, only 9% of them receive any corporate pension dollars. (01/82)

Chicago NOW announced a dollars and cents victory over sex discrimination in Chicago. Both Carson Pirie Scott and Company and Marshall Field and Company changed their discriminatory clothing alteration policies in response to complaints filed by Chicago NOW activists with the Illinois Department of Human Rights on March 17, 1981. The stores’ former policies made women pay for alterations which men received free of charge. (09/82)

Baltimore NOW staged an “IT PAYS TO BE A MAN” march to highlight the inequities of the wage gap between women and men in various occupations such as waiter, clerical worker, and physician. As participants in the 2nd annual Charles Street on Parade event, Baltimore NOW members carried placards and handed out 500 flyers containing statistics on the wage gap and also distributed NOW membership applications and invitations to their next chapter meeting. (11/20/82)


Although encountering more difficulty than men in winning first assignments and still receiving smaller paychecks, women in the Protestant clergy were adjusting with success to their new roles, according to a Ford Foundation study. The report noted that the total percentage of women in the once all-male world was now 22%. (01/82)

Lynchburg (VA) NOW picketed Jerry Falwell’s Thomas Road Baptist Church and were joined by Virginia NOW officers, other Virginia chapters of NOW, and Mormons for ERA in protesting Falwell’s stand on ERA and women’s issues. (04/25/82)


Birmingham (AL) NOW launched a full-scale billboard campaign for reproductive freedom. The chapter raised $4,000 from private donations and bought space for 13 billboards which were placed throughout the city. The billboards pictured a couple in bed with a second man dressed in a business suit sitting between them. The caption on the sign read, “Pregnancy Is Personal Not Political! Keep Your Senator Out Of Your Bedroom!” (07/82)

Past NOW President Ellie Smeal was voted fourth most influential woman in America by newspaper editors across the country, according to the World Almanac. Out of a possible 133 votes from both female and male editors, Smeal received 53 votes. Sandra Day O’Connor, the first female U.S. Supreme Court Justice, placed first in her first year on the list with 81 votes. She was followed by Katherine Graham, chair of the board of the Washington Post Company, and Billie Jean King, tennis star. Following Smeal with 52 votes each were Gloria Steinem, publisher of Ms. Magazine and Phyllis Schlafly. Other women who received influential honors included: Carol Burnett, Jane Byrne, Sarah Caldwell, Mary Cunningham, Chris Evert-Lloyd, Millicent Fenwick, Ellen Goodman, Katharine Hepburn, Barbara Jordan, Jeane Kirkpatrick, Ann Landers, Sylvia Porter, Nancy Reagan, Brooke Shields, Beverly Sills, historian Barbara Tuchman, Abigail Van Buren, Barbara Walters, and physicist Rosalyn Yalow. (11/82)

In A Different Voice, Psychological Theory and Women’s Development by Carol Gilligan was published. (1982)


A Superior Court judge ruled that the Westarms Mall, the largest mall in Connecticut, must permit members of NOW to gather signatures for ERA in the enclosed courtyard of the shopping area. (01/04/82)

A Lancaster, WI, Circuit Court Judge, William Reinecke, outraged state residents with his remarks in the case of a five-year-old girl who was the victim of sexual assault by 24-year-old Ralph Snodgrass of Gays Mills. ” I am satisfied we have an unusually sexually permissive young lady,” said Reinecke, “and he did not know enough to refuse. No way do I believe Mr. Snodgrass initiated the sexual contact.” Reinecke referred to the child as “the aggressor” in the assault. Nearby NOW chapters assisted parents in the local area to organize a petition drive to recall the judge. (01/82)

OW, the ACLU, and the National Lawyers’ Guild prepared a joint defense team to represent 10 women and two men sailors accused by the U.S. Navy of homosexuality while serving aboard the submarine tender U.S.S. Dixon, docked in San Diego, CA. (09/82)


In Oklahoma, the ERA Campaign was set back by a negative 27-21 vote in the state Senate. An analysis of ERA votes showed that all 11 Republicans in the state Senate voted against the Amendment. Although a majority of Democrats voted “yes,” two-thirds of those who were up for election in 1982 voted against the ERA in fear of the far right wing. The NOW Oklahoma ERA Campaign decided to dig in and fight on. “I don’t accept the ERA vote as a loss; we simply haven’t won yet!” was Alan Alda’s message to thousands of ERA supporters in Oklahoma during a speaking tour through targeted rural districts. Alda, co-chair of NOW’s Countdown Campaign, reminded overflow crowds in eastern Oklahoma that the next phase of the Oklahoma Campaign was to target districts of the State House and Senate members who voted “no.” (01/82)

Philadelphia (PA) NOW sent over 400 postcards to the governors of the targeted unratified states during the past two months. All of the governors responded that they support the ERA but needed to receive more mail. Philadelphia’s goal was to send 1,000 cards a week as the campaign intensified. (01/82)

The Georgia House rejected the ERA on a 116-57 vote. This vote marked the ERA’s first appearance before the Georgia House in eight years. (01/20/82)

Illinois NOW members focused on Governor Jim Thompson and Speaker George Ryan as part of the Republican Project of NOW’s Countdown Campaign. Members tried to persuade Governor Thompson to take a more active role in ratification efforts and Ryan to allow a vote on changing Illinois’ 3/5 rule. They also began a door-to-door campaign in Du Page County. (01/82)

The NOW National Board and the NOW-NJ Board joined civil rights organizations in opposing alleged intimidation tactics of the National Ballot Security Task Force, a project of the Republican National Committee. The Task Force, led by John A. Kelly, a Republican National Committee employee, was charged with using off-duty police and sheriff’s officers to patrol only Black areas of Trenton and Newark during the November state elections. (01/82)

Los Angeles NOW sponsored a tribute dinner for actress Esther Rolle who campaigned for the ERA in her home state of Florida and in other unratified states. (04/24/82)

The North Carolina NOW ERA Countdown Campaign, led by Terry Schooley, began a major push for ratification. The TV ads, door-to-door canvassing, action team phone-banking for constituent mail and constituent visits, a speaking tour by NOW President Ellie Smeal, and a massive rally in Raleigh were all aimed at building the climate for ratification. All polls showed solid support for ERA among North Carolinians. (04/82)

Over a quarter of a million door-hangers were distributed by ERA activists in Florida during the last critical months of the ERA Countdown Campaign. The door hangers told the recipients exactly where their state legislator stood on ERA and urged them to get involved in the ratification drive by using the “postcard” portion of the door-hanger to send a message to that legislator. (04/82)

A group of women gathered in Springfield, IL, to begin a fast for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. The women who participated were Zoe Ann Amanda, Dina Bachelor, Mary Barnes, Mary Ann Beall, Sonia Johnson, Shirley Wallace and Maureen Fiedler. (05/18/82)

A poll of North Carolinians showed that the Equal Rights Amendment was favored by a majority of 61-30, but anti-ERA Senators met in the legislature’s chapel and, after offering a prayer “to justify use of a chapel for a political meeting,” the 27 took a “solemn pledge” to kill the ERA by tabling it when it came up before the North Carolina Senate. The next day, the Senate voted to table the ERA 27-23. All 10 Republicans in the North Carolina Senate voted to table. Of the 40 Democrats, 23 voted against the tabling and 17 voted for it. (05/19/82)

As thousands of ERA supporters gathered in Tallahassee, the Florida House voted 60-58 in favor of ratification, but the Senate voted 22-16 against it. At the conclusion of the vote, angry supporters chanted, “We’ ll remember in November!” (06/21/82)

The day after the Florida vote, the ERA came to a vote in the Illinois House where it was rejected by a vote of 103 for to 72 opposed. The three-fifths requirement of 107 votes meant that the Amendment fell short by four votes. The entire Illinois campaign revolved around the efforts to change the three-fifths to a majority vote. House Speaker George Ryan would not even allow the question of majority rule to come to the floor of the House. The Amendment was further blocked by Governor Jim Thompson, self-styled ERA supporter, who, in fact, also refused to support the majority rule. (06/22/82)

NOW marked the end of the ERA Countdown Campaign on June 30, 1982, with a protest demonstration in Lafayette Park across from the White House. Thousands of ERA Countdown Campaign workers flew in from all over the country to participate. Rallies were also held in other major cities. NOW President Ellie Smeal vowed to flood the tickets with pro-ERA women in Florida and Illinois. The NOW Equality PAC recruited candidates, turning the drive for ERA into a massive political movement for women. (06/30/82)

Record breaking numbers of women filed to run for office in Florida as a part of the tidal wave of political activity after the Florida ERA vote in late June. As of the last day to file in the state legislative races, 81 women had declared as candidates. Twenty women were running for the 40 member Florida Senate, and 61 women were running for the 120 member Florida House. All state legislative seats were up for election by order of the Florida Supreme Court. (06/82)

Ohio NOW chapters and other pro-choice and equal rights groups transformed themselves into “Ladies Against Women” and organized a rally when Phyllis Schlafly spoke in Cleveland. Sporting hats and white gloves for the occasion, about 75 women gathered at the club where Schlafly spoke. They waved signs reading “Suffering Not Suffrage,” “Sperm Are People Too,” “You’re Nobody Until You’re Mrs. Somebody.” (07/82)

The Gender Gap the difference in male/female voting patterns had a significant impact on races nationwide in the 1982 elections. According to exit polls, 53% of women voted Democratic as opposed to 47% going Republican; the figures for men were exactly reversed. The Gender Gap appeared in every part of the country, in varying patterns and degrees, affecting state legislator, Congressional, and gubernatorial elections. This election resulted in a doubling of the number of women in the Florida senate. In 1977, the Florida senate had only one women; in 1982, four women served; and in 1983, nine women sat in the Florida senate. The number of women in the Florida House was also increased by 50%. Of the 23 Florida Senators who voted “no” on the ERA, 10 did not return. Eight of the 10 were replaced by pro-ERA Senators. A count in the Florida Senate showed 23 pro-ERA legislators, a winning majority. In an impressive showing in Illinois, out of 79 NOW/ EQUALITY/ PAC supported legislative races, 68 of the candidates won. In the Illinois Senate, as in the Florida Senate, the number of women doubled, from four to eight. Of the eight, seven were pro-ERA. The Illinois House also switched by a substantial margin from a Republican majority to a Democratic majority. In Illinois, as a result of the election, there were 36 pro-ERA legislators in the Senate and 75 pro-ERA legislators in the House. These gains meant that there were enough votes to meet even the 3/5 voting requirements of the Illinois legislature. In the North Carolina state legislature, NOW/ EQUALITY/ PAC supported 35 races, and won 26. In Congress, an initial analysis showed women’s rights issues gained approximately 21 seats in the House of Representatives. (11/82)

Ellie Smeal, Alan Alda, and Betty Ford were honored at a tribute dinner sponsored by Los Angeles NOW. At the dinner, attended by 500 people many of whom had worked in the Countdown Campaign, Smeal was presented with a plaque which read “Thank you for never giving up or giving in.” Other well-known individuals who received NOW Medallion Awards for their part in the Countdown Campaign were: Arlene Alda, John Astin, Patty Duke, Maryedith Burrell, Virginia Carter, Rosemary Chiaverini, Midge Costanza, Harlan Ellison, Mike Farrell, Joan Hackett, Valerie Harper, Carole Hemingway, Allan Jonas, Linda Kelsey, Judge Joan Dempsey Klein, Linda Lavin, Caroline Mc Williams, Joan Palevsky, Esther Rolle, William Schallert, Jean Stapleton, Loretta Swit, Trish Van Devere and Robert Walden, plus National Board members Mary Margaret Smith and Shelly Mandell and State Coordinator Ginny Foat. The tribute dinner was coordinated by Los Angeles NOW Vice President Marnie Delaney. (11/11/82)

The Backlash

Planned Parenthood (PP) was cleared of suspicion of using federal money to finance abortions or pro-abortion lobbying in an audit by the Department of Health and Human Services. PP Director Faye Wattleton protested to Health and Human Services Secretary Richard Schweikera foe of reproductive choice that the “unprecedented series of audits” represented an abuse of the power of government by those philosophically opposed to abortion. (01/82)

According to several outspoken opponents of “test tube babies,” the “right to life” did not extend to them. Since they were not conceived in a womb, they had no souls. That was the essence of objections lodged against the in vitro fertilization program at Eastern Virginia Medical School (which had reported its first birth). (01/82)

Reagan’s Education Department asked Attorney General William French Smith for permission to revoke rules banning discrimination in the employment practices of schools and colleges receiving federal aid. (1982)

The Federal agency charged with enforcing Affirmative Action proposed new regulations that would cripple enforcement if adopted. The regulations, issued by the Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, virtually killed the effectiveness of back pay awards as a remedy for discrimination and outlined goals that were absurdly low for bringing more women into the construction trade. (05/82)

The Department of Education, through the Justice Department, took steps to limit its enforcement responsibilities under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, Title VI of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, and section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973. In the case of Grove City College v. Bell, pending before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, the Justice Department argued that Guaranteed Student Loans did not constitute “Federal financial assistance” as defined in Title IX and Title VI. If guaranteed student loans were excluded from the definition of Federal assistance, over 300 post-secondary schools would be free to discriminate on the basis of race, national origin, sex, and handicap. (05/82)

In their 21st annual protest, Mel and Norma Gabler, the Texas textbook censors, filed almost 600 pages of protests with the Texas Textbook Committee. (06/24/82)

The New York Times Magazine published an article entitled “Voices From The Post-Feminist Generation by Susan Beletin kicking off the myth that the “post-feminist” era had begun. (10/17/82)

The Moral Majority, which collected $134,000 to fight to keep gay speakers out of Minneapolis, MI, schools and then spent the money elsewhere, again sought funds nationally to oppose homosexuality. (11/24/82)

More and more women’s “classics” were joining the “dangerous” list of books targeted by the Radical Right’s book-banning arm. Among the titles challenged: Our Bodies, Ourselves; Memoirs of An Ex-Prom Queen; Growing Up Female In America; and even Marlo Thomas’ Free to Be You and Me. To fight back against the anti-book trend, the American Library Association and the American Booksellers Association joined forces, declaring a “dangerous volumes” week; targeted books were featured prominently in library and bookstore windows. (11/82)

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