National Organization for Women


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Financial, Acronyms, Encyclopedia, Wikipedia.

National Organization for Women

The National Organization for Women (NOW) is the largest organization of feminist activists in the United States, numbering more than 500,000 members. A nonpartisan organization, it has more than 550 chapters in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. It receives its funding from membership dues and private donations. NOW has used both traditional and nontraditional means to push for social change. Traditional activities have included extensive electoral and Lobbying work, and the filing of lawsuits. NOW also has organized mass marches, rallies, pickets, counter-demonstrations, and nonviolent civil disobedience. Its headquarters are located in Washington, D.C.

NOW was established in 1966 in Washington, D.C., by people attending the Third National Conference of the Commission on the Status of Women. Among the 28 NOW founders was its first president, betty friedan, author of The Feminine Mystique (1963). In its original statement of purpose, NOW declared 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."

As part of its efforts to pursue economic equality and other rights for women, NOW launched a nationwide campaign in the 1970s to pass the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the U.S. Constitution. Though the ERA ultimately failed to be ratified, NOW efforts helped the organization. NOW became a huge network of more than 200,000 activists and began operating with multimillion-dollar annual budgets. Leaders organized political action committees, NOW/PAC and NOW Equality PAC, that raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for pro-ERA candidates.

NOW priorities are promoting economic equality, including an amendment to the U.S. Constitution that will guarantee equal rights for women; championing Abortion rights, reproductive freedom, and other women's health issues; opposing racism and opposing bigotry against lesbians and gays; and ending violence against women. The organization has proved effective in many of these areas. NOW points to sweeping changes that put more women in political posts; increased educational, employment, and business opportunities for women; and the enactment of tougher laws against violence, Sexual Harassment, and discrimination.

Its 1992 "Elect Women for a Change" campaign sent an unprecedented number of feminist women and men to the U.S. Congress. NOW has combated harassment and violence by organizing the first "Take Back the Night" marches and establishing hot lines and shelters for battered women. NOW has also successfully prosecuted lawsuits against antiabortion groups that bombed and blocked clinics and laws that deprived lesbian women of custody of their children. NOW has also consistently sought economic equality for women in the workplace, exposing both the "glass ceiling" that professional women face in advancing in the workplace and the difficult circumstances that poor women face in the United States.

Further readings

Friedan, Betty. 1963. The Feminine Mystique. New York: Dell.

Haney, Eleanor Humes. 1985. A Feminist Legacy: The Ethics of Wilma Scott Heide and Company. Buffalo: Margaret-daughters.

National Organization for Women. Available online at <www.now.org> (accessed July 29, 2003).

Cross-references

Equal Rights; " National Organization for Women Statement of Purpose" (Appendix, Primary Document); Women's Rights.

References in periodicals archive ?
I graduated from college in `79 and, before going to law school, worked for the National Organization for Women.
The results of a 1979 survey by the National Organization for Women, published in the January 1980 issue of NOW National Times, reveal that, for every 700 pages about men in U.
She is also a member of the Lincoln University Board of Trustees, Philadelphia Gas Works Consumer Advisory Committee, National Black Caucus of State Legislators, National Organization for Women Legislators, the Governor's Advisory Commission on African American Affairs, the Governor's Ad Hoc Advisory Committee on Minorities and Women-Owned Business Opportunities, the Bi-Partisan Task Force on the Study of Geriatric and Seriously Ill Prison Populations, the Eastern Region Advisory Board of Guadenzia Inc.
The strategy was on full display last week at a series of press conferences sponsored by local chapters of Planned Parenthood, the National Organization for Women and NARAL.
The book is also prominently featured on the Web site of the National Organization for Women (now.
A Mexican-American raised in Tucson, Toledo said she hopes to use her background as vice president of the National Organization for Women to include women and racial minorities in her activism.
The ruling, which a panel of the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals refused to overturn, caused Wisconsin's National Organization for Women to declare, "Wisconsin overturns Roe v.
Next Sekulow defended Operation Rescue in a suit filed by the National Organization for Women, Planned Parenthood, and several Virginia abortion clinics.
WASHINGTON -- The American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), specializing in constitutional law, today asked the Supreme Court of the United States to put a final end to the nearly 20-year-old racketeering suit brought by the National Organization for Women (NOW) and two abortion businesses against Joe Scheidler, Operation Rescue (OR), and three other pro-life defendants.
Concerned Women for America, the National Organization for Women and the Parents Television Council said the show degrades women.
Toledo, who is Latina, most recently served as a vice president of the National Organization for Women, where she helped raise over $1 million from new funding sources.
That was the upshot of a class action lawsuit filed 12 years ago by two abortion clinics and the National Organization for Women.

Full browser ?