NOW: The National Organization for Women
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NOW: The National Organization for Women

NOW, The National Organization for Women, is the largest and most recognized organization of feminist activists in the United States. With over 500,000 contributing members and 550 chapters in all 50 states (as well as the District of Columbia), NOW's prevailing objective is to take action to bring about equality for all women.

NOW, The National Organization for Women, is the largest and most recognized organization of feminist activists in the United States.

With over 500,000 contributing members and 550 chapters in all 50 states (as well as the District of Columbia), NOW's prevailing objective is to take action to bring about equality for all women. According to their brochure, "NOW is one of the few multi-issue progressive organizations in the United States. NOW stands against all oppression, recognizing that racism, sexism and homophobia are interrelated, that other forms of oppression such as classism and ableism work together with these three to keep power and privilege concentrated in the hands of a few."

Founded on June 30, 1966, in Washington, DC by 28 women and men including Betty Friedan (author of The Feminine Mystique), Rev. Pauli Murray (the first African-American female Episcopal priest), and Shirley Chisholm (the first Black woman to run for President of the United States), Friedan was elected NOW’s first president, serving in that office for three years. Most members contend that it was Friedan’s book, The Feminine Mystique that originally spawned the movement, which NOW embodies.

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Since its inception, NOW has worked to eliminate discrimination and harassment in the workplace, schools, the justice system, and in all other sectors of society.  It has fought to secure abortion, birth control, and reproductive rights for all women, end all forms of violence against women, eradicate racism, sexism, and homophobia, and promote equality and justice in American society.  A highly vocal public voice for equal rights for women, NOW has been extremely effective in enacting rhetorical strategies that have brought about monumental changes in laws and policies that enlarge women's opportunities and protect their rights.

The national level of NOW isnow led by four elected national officers, as well as by the national Board of Directors and the national issues committees. These national leaders are responsible for implementing policy as formulated by the annual National Conference, for coordinating national actions, and for providing membership services.

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Since its inception, NOW has worked to eliminate discrimination and harassment in the workplace, schools, the justice system, and in all other sectors of society. It has fought to secure abortion, birth control and reproductive rights for all women, end all forms of violence against women, eradicate racism, sexism and homophobia, and promote equality and justice in American society. A public voice for equal rights for women, NOW has been extremely effective in enacting rhetorical strategies that have brought about concrete changes in laws and policies that enlarge women's opportunities and protect their rights.

According to the organization's Statement of Purpose, (the original said to have been scribbled on a napkin by Friedan in 1966), described NOW’s purpose as "[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."

Other ideals now included in NOW’s mission include:

> to focus on activism; 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

> to secure women's rights as seen in the context of the world-wide revolution of human rights; equality for women to develop their fullest human potentials

> to put women in the mainstream of American political, economic, and social life

> to seek equality, freedom, and dignity for women, specifically defined as not being about "special privilege" for women or "enmity towards men"

Additionally, NOW seeks to address issues surrounding war, employment and economics, education, marriage and divorce laws, home responsibilities (designated by gender role), political participation (with NOW being independent of any particular political party), images of women in the media, in culture, in laws, and in social practices, "double discrimination" (of African American women) and racial justice, and "protectiveness" in work, school, church, etc.

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NOW has had ten national presidents beginning with Betty Friedan in 1966, with Terry O'Neill currently serving as since 2009.

References:

http://www.now.org/

http://womenshistory.about.com/od/feminism/p/now.htm

http://www.nydailynews.com/topics/National+Organization+for+Women

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Comments (4)

Great article about great organization (NOW).. Nothing can be done without the effort of some dedicated figure such as Friedan. Thanks James for bringing these important issues to be a source of inspiration for those who would like to achieve something.

NOW has been really serving and championing the cause of women in US over a period of four decades.

Thanks Abdel-moniem and Rama. Hope this puts into perspective the old adage, "You're either part of the problem or part of the solution."

great organization, I wrote the biography of shirley chisholm, Betty Freidan, Gloria Steinem, all instrumental to this organization and the rights of women

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