FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
CONTACT: DIANE MINOR, x773
WEDNESDAY, JANUARY 15, 1997
Statement of NOW President Patricia Ireland
The agreement we are announcing today represents a shift, a milestone, but not the end of negotiations among NOW, our civil rights allies -- the National Rainbow/PUSH Coalition, the National Council of Negro Women and the National Minority Automobile Dealers -- and representatives of Mitsubishi Motors.
I can't imagine a better way to celebrate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and to honor his dream than by announcing jointly with Mitsubishi their commitment to affirmative action and to equal opportunities for women, African Americans and other minority workers, executives and business owners. With this commitment of Mitsubishi, we move from an adversarial and confrontational relationship to a partnership with the mutual goal of a model workplace and fair business practices. Knowing that lawsuits by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and individual women still must be resolved in a fair and equitable manner, we have received assurances from the company that they'll make the necessary commitment of resources to reach a quick, just solution.
We also know that race and sex discrimination are not limited to factory floors and military bases, but are present in executive suites and throughout the culture. So this agreement marks an effort by NOW to go back to basics. We are an organization that was formed more than 30 years ago by women whose first visible effort was to get daily newspapers to stop publishing sex-segregated employment advertisements. Now in our fourth decade of civil rights work, we are again looking to the private sector. As the newly elected government officials are sworn in, we recognize that government is not the only powerful institution that shapes our culture. Standing behind the politicians are powerful corporate and business people who often pull their strings. So in this case we are pulling back the curtains and dealing directly with the real wizards, reaching out to business women and men from Wall Street to Main Street.
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