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Today in Feminist History: N.O.W.— Bringing Women into Full Participation in Mainstream American Society (June 30, 1966)

Right now in Feminist Historical past is our each day recap of the most important milestones and minor developments that formed girls’s historical past within the U.S.—from suffrage to Shirley Chisholm and past. These posts have been written by, and are offered in homage to, our late employees historian and archivist, David Dismore.


June 30, 1966: A brand new, and proudly feminist group has simply been born!

Betty Friedan

Twenty-eight folks obtained collectively at the moment and formally arrange a Nationwide Group for Girls to complete the generations-long struggle for whole equality. The group’s founders have been in Washington, D.C., since day earlier than yesterday attending the Third Nationwide Convention of the Commissions on the Standing of Girls.

Lots of these attending the convention have been motion oriented, and wished to do one thing particular and significant to struggle sexism—starting with a decision demanding that the Equal Employment Alternative Fee do its job—and begin imposing legal guidelines towards intercourse discrimination within the office. However although the theme of the convention was “Targets for Motion,” delegates have been advised that “authorities commissions can not take motion towards different authorities departments,” so even this modest movement was dominated “out of order.”

At that time it grew to become apparent that no governmental entity might take the form of speedy, unbiased, typically militant actions that will likely be wanted to beat the final bastions of intercourse bias. So starting over lunch yesterday, adopted by a gathering in Betty Friedan’s resort room final night time, and at casual classes at the moment throughout breaks within the convention, 28 of the convention attendees managed to create a brand new activist group earlier than speeding to the airport for his or her flights house.

The aim of the brand new group will likely be:

“To take motion to convey girls into full participation within the mainstream of American society NOW, assuming all of the privileges and obligations thereof in really equal partnership with males.”

Writer Betty Friedan—The Female Mystique—got here up with the title, which she scribbled on a desk serviette throughout yesterday’s luncheon. However Kathryn Clarenbach of the Wisconsin Fee on the Standing of Girls will quickly head the group.

In keeping with Analoyce Clapp, it has been determined:

  • “That members be a part of as people; will probably be a voluntary group, talking just for ourselves.
  • “That the group will likely be referred to as the Nationwide Group for Girls (N.O.W.).
  • “That N.O.W. will advocate motion within the space of equality for girls.
  • “That we start with the idea that we’ll not have unanimity on all questions.
  • “That N.O.W. will likely be an motion group for the development of ladies into equal participation in the entire spectrum of American life.
  • “That every member contribute 5 {dollars} per thirty days towards the bills of the group. The final word financing will likely be determined later.
  • “That N.O.W. keep up a correspondence with all related teams, each motion and non-action teams.
  • “{That a} telegram be despatched to every of the Equal Employment Alternative Commissioners urging them to rescind the Fee’s latest ruling that help-wanted advertisements once more be labeled ‘Male’ and ‘Feminine.’
  • “Recruiting of Constitution Members will proceed till August first.”

Among the many problems with instant concern to the brand new group are:

  • Equal jury participation by girls. Feminine defendants typically face all-male juries resulting from unequal jury choice legal guidelines. In 22 states girls can get an computerized exemption from service, and Florida requires girls to register with the Clerk of the Circuit Court docket with the intention to be in a pool of these eligible to be referred to as. Alabama, Mississippi and South Carolina prohibit girls from serving in any respect.
  • Title VII (part of the Civil Rights Act of 1964) and the failure of the Equal Employment Alternative Fee to implement its prohibition of intercourse bias.
  • Newspaper “assist wished” advertisements that label jobs for “males” or “girls.”

Although a company presently consisting of 28 members unfold all through the nation—with no workplace or workers—and property of just one hundred and forty {dollars} doesn’t sound like a lot of a problem to the entrenched prejudice of presidency, trade, media, legislation and customized, neither did an initially small group of suffragists that ultimately grew to become a widespread, highly effective political and social motion as a result of righteousness of their trigger.

Regardless of nice strides, reminiscent of a Constitutional ban on intercourse discrimination on the polls gained in 1920, the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and inclusion of “intercourse” within the checklist of types of discrimination banned by the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the aim of whole equality continues to be as elusive at the moment because it was over a century in the past. But when the dedication and persistence of these on this second wave of feminism is the same as these within the first, then N.O.W. will likely be simply as profitable in reaching its worthy targets as have been those that labored so tirelessly to win the vote.


The coronavirus pandemic and the response by federal, state and native authorities is fast-movingThroughout this time, Ms. is retaining a concentrate on elements of the disaster—particularly because it impacts girls and their households—typically not reported by mainstream media. Should you discovered this text useful, please contemplate supporting our unbiased reporting and truth-telling for as little as $5 per thirty days.

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