WASHINGTON, DC — The National Organization for Women joins the rest of the world in mourning the loss of Nelson Mandela. “While deeply saddened by his passing, we are also deeply thankful for his courage, integrity and grace,” said Terry O’Neill, NOW President. “He will continue to be an inspiration for future generations.”
We will remember Nelson Mandela for the many ways in which he made this world a better, freer place, and for his dedication to the rights of the oppressed. NOW was an early supporter of the anti-apartheid movement, activism that included then-president Ellie Smeal’s arrest outside the South African Embassy. Later, under Mandela’s leadership, South Africa’s constitution codified women’s rights to access reproductive healthcare and the country ratified the U.N Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) in 1995 — steps the United States has yet to take.
NOW’s Advisory Committee co-chair, Ambassador Carol Moseley Braun, said: “He was a father to his nation and a shining example for leaders everywhere. A bright light has gone out of the world; but those of us who were fortunate enough to have known Nelson Mandela will always be grateful to have had the opportunity to spend time with him and learn from him. Now it is up to us to carry forward his legacy of peace and justice.”