The National Organization for Women

Who: The National Organization for Women (NOW) has over 500,000 members and 5,987 chapters from 47 out of the 50 States. Some important members are Betty Friedan, president, and Kay Clarenbach, chair of the board. Shirley Chisholm was also a member of this organization and became the first Black woman elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

What: The National Organization for Women is the largest feminist organization in the United States.

When: This organization was founded on June 30, 1966.

Where: It started in Washington D.C, when 28 women and men attended the Third National Conference of the Commission on the Status of Women. This conference was called into order to advise the president on current issues concerning the status of women.

Why: This is a way for women to have is a public voice, for equal rights (politically, professionally and educationally), for protection of those rights, and to increase opportunities for these women. “The purpose of the National Women’s Organization is to take action to bring women into full participation in the mainstream of American society now, exercising all privileges and responsibilities thereof in truly equal partnership with men."

How: The organization holds conferences to discuss issues regarding women’s rights and their status within society. They also organize many campaigns, such as the campaign in 1983, which was used to reinstate the cancelled TV series Cagney and Lacey, the first series to portray female police officers and strong role models for women.

Important People:
Betty Friedan, born in Illinois, was an American writer, activist and feminist. She co-founded The Nation Women’s Organization in 1966 in hope of bringing women "into the mainstream of American society and in full equal partnership with men.” Friedan also wrote the book The Feminine Mystique, with efforts to expand the women’s movement to countries around the world.


Important Dates:

1968-NOW chapters around the country demonstrate at facilities that deny admittance or service to women, demanding equal treatment of women in all public accommodations.

1969-On February 9, NOW proclaims "Public Accommodations Week," and holds national actions at "men only" restaurants, bars, and public transportation.
1975-Congress opens U.S. military academies to women

1980-The NOW conference adopts an affirmative action, or the encouragement of increased representation of women and minority-group members by law, reserving a minimum number of board seats for women of color.

1998-NOW holds its first Women of Color and Allies Summit, during which activists support equal wages for women janitors in the U.S. Capitol.

1992-NOW runs "Elect Women for a Change" campaigns in several states, helping feminist candidates to win congressional, state, and local primaries.

2002-2006-NOW's Women Friendly Workplace Campaign names Wal-Mart a Merchant of Shame because of alleged sex discrimination policies in hiring, pay and promotions.

2005-Second NOW Women of Color and Allies Summit draws hundreds of women to draft an action plan to empower and energize women of color.

2005-NOW declares a State of Emergency upon the resignation of Sandra Day O'Connor, holding a rally and demonstration the following day to demand that O'Connor's replacement be supportive of women's rights and civil rights.

This organization has had a major impact within society. It has really focused on brining fourth equality for all women. It has eliminated much discrimination and harassment in the workplace, schools and throughout the justice system. It has also secured abortion, birth control, and other women’s rights. The organization is still working hard to end all forms of violence against women, eliminate racism, sexism and homophobia, and to promote equality and justice in our society.