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October 29

Compiled and Written by Irene Stuber
who is solely responsible for its content.
This article was taken from the 1997 email version
of Women of Achievement and Herstory. The complete episode
will be published here in the near future.

Anniversary of the Formation of the National Organization for Women (NOW)


QUOTE from the National Organization for Women's Statement of Purpose.

"Press for True Equality for All Women in America."

According to the Feminist Chronicles, "At the third annual conference of Commissions on the Status of Women In Washington, DC, the failure of the EEOC to enforce Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prompted the formation of NOW. Twenty-eight women contributed $5 each to help fund its organization. The founding conference elected Betty Friedan as President, Kay Clarenbach chair of the board, Aileen Hernandez executive vice-president, Richard Graham vice president, and Caroline Davis, sec-treasurer."

The original Statement of Purpose adopted at the organizing conference starts off:

"We, men and women who hereby constitute ourselves as the National Organization for Women, believe that the time has come for a new movement toward true equality for all women in America, and toward a fully equal partnership of the sexes, as part of the world-wide revolution of human rights now taking pace within and beyond our national borders.

"The purpose of NOW is to take action to bring women into full participation in the mainstream of American society now, exercising all the privileges and responsibilities thereof in truly equal partnership with men.

"We believe the time has come to move beyond the abstract argument, discussion and symposia over the status and special nature of women which has raged in America in recent years; the time has come to confront, with concrete action, the conditions that now prevent women from enjoying the equality of opportunity and freedom of choice which is their right, as individual Americans, and as human beings.

"NOW is dedicated to the proposition that women, first and foremost, are human beings, who, like all other people in our society, must have the chance to develop their fullest human potential. We believe that women can achieve such equality only be accepting to the full the challenges and responsibilities they share with all other people in our society, as part of the decision-making mainstream of American political, economic and social life..."

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B. 10-29-1875, Marie of Romania. Convinced her husband King Ferdinand to join the Allies in World War I, and her bravery as a front line nurse made her a national hero.

B. 10-29-1891 (?), Fanny Brice, comedienne and singer, of stage, film, and radio. Longtime star of the Ziegfield Follies, created the role of Baby Snooks on radio (1939-1951). In addition to her comedic ability, was a renowned singer of torch songs.

B. 10-29-1908, Louise Bates Ames, renowned child psychologist.

B. 10-29-1945, Melba Moore, singer and actor.

Event: 10-29-1966, formation of the National Organization for Women to "bring women into full participation in the mainstream of American society NOW!"

Event 10-29-1974, President Gerald Ford signs law that forbids credit discrimination on the basis of sex. In November, the Federal Home Loan Bank Board announces an end to discrimination in mortgage lending. (1995 backlash finds many mortgage lenders reverting by insisting on spousal credit/income.)

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      "IN THE INTERESTS OF THE HUMAN DIGNITY OF WOMEN, we will protest and endeavor to change, the false image of women now prevalent in the mass media, and in the texts, ceremonies, laws, and practices of our major social institutions. Such images perpetuate contempt for women by society and by women for themselves. We are similarly opposed to all policies and practices - in church, state, college, factory or office - which, in the guise of protectiveness, not only deny opportunities but also foster in women's self-denigration, dependence, and evasion of responsibility, undermine their confidence in their own abilities and foster contempt for women."
            -- From NOW's 1966 organizing Statement of Purpose.

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