The famous meeting that prompted the founding of NOW took place 55 years ago, on June 30, 1966.  In the years since, our community has been on the front lines of the grassroots feminist movement, growing strength at the national level, in the states and through our NOW chapters. 

In 1967, at NOW’s 2nd Annual Conference, we became the first national organization to endorse the legalization of abortion. We passed a “Bill of Rights for Women” with goals of repealing all abortion laws, advocating for publicly-funded child care, enforcing laws banning sex discrimination in employment and passing the ERA, among others. 

In 1994, NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund and partner allies such as the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence deployed 2,000 supporting organizations to pass the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). We were the communications and grassroots arm of this movement, and have worked to re-authorize and adequately fund VAWA ever since. 

In the 2000s, NOW helped initiate and lead the marriage equality campaign—helping to build what became a tidal wave of momentum of support for full marriage equality. Lobbying, communications and grassroots organizing helped build support and transform attitudes. 

And in 2019, as part of our Unlock the Future Campaign For Women And Girls, we drafted another Bill of Rights, for people housed in Donald Trump’s illegal immigration detention prisons.  NOW will always fight for the rights of those who are shut out by systemic racism and discrimination.  

From our founding, NOW has always stood out as the one broad-based, multi-racial national women’s rights organization that has taken early, important and consistent steps to work against racism through public education, legislation and advocacy—especially as it relates to women of color.  

Ending racism is one of NOW’s six core issues, and we have signed on to and mobilized support for every civil rights bill since our founding.  NOW’s Racial Justice Summits gather congressional leaders, advocates and experts working on policy through a racial justice and equity lens.  This year, our First 100 Days Listening Sessions conducted with Black Women’s Blueprint helped frame the debate over a new, feminist agenda. 

Today, NOW is mobilizing an expanding grassroots base of voters, activists and allies to turn the tide towards intersectional feminism at the ballot box, in the courts, and in our laws.  We are making a difference and improving lives, every day. You can join us for a virtual celebration of our birthday tonight and at our 55th Annual Conference starting on July 24 as we continue the fight.   

Here’s to the next 55 years!