National Organization for Women

“The National Organization for Women (NOW) is an American feminist organization founded in 1966. The organization consists of 550 chapters in all 50 U.S. states and in Washington, D.C. There were many influences contributing to the rise of NOW. Such influences included the President’s Commission on the Status of Women, Betty Friedan‘s 1963 book The Feminine Mystique, and passage and lack of enforcement of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 (prohibiting sexual discrimination). The President’s Commission on the Status of Women was established in 1961 by John F. Kennedy, in hopes of providing a solution to female discrimination in education, work force, and Social Security. Kennedy appointed Eleanor Roosevelt as the head of the organization. The goal of action was to reconcile those wanting to advance women’s rights in the workforce (such as advocates of the Equal Rights Amendment) and those advocating women’s domestic role needing to be preserved (such as organized labor groups). The commission was a way to settle the tension between opposing sides. Betty Friedan wrote The Feminine Mystique in response to her own experiences. She was a feminist long before her book, by educating herself and deviating from the domestic female paradigm. The book’s purpose was to fuel movement to a women’s role outside of domestic environment. Acknowledging some satisfaction from raising children, cooking, rearranging house decor was not enough to suffice the deeper desire for women to achieve an education. The book is widely credited with sparking the beginning of second-wave feminism in the United States. It was published on February 19, 1963, by W. W. Norton. In an interview, Friedan specifically notes, There was no activism in that cause when I wrote Feminine Mystique. But I realized that it was not enough just to write a book. There had to be social change. And I remember somewhere in that period coming off an airplane [and] some guy was carrying a sign… It said, ‘The first step in revolution is consciousness.’ Well, I did the consciousness with The Feminine Mystique. But then there had to be organization and there had to be a movement. And I helped organize NOW, the National Organization for Women and the National Women’s Political Caucus and NARAL, the abortion rights [organization] in the next few years. …”
The NOW Button Takes Us Back When Women’s Equality Was a Novelty (Video)
NOW – About
NY Times – NOW
YouTube: The National Organization for Women

Karen DeCrow

About 1960s: Days of Rage

Bill Davis - 1960s: Days of Rage
This entry was posted in Books, Civil Rights Mov., Feminist and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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