Printable PDF

passed June 26, 2011


WHEREAS, the average amount of Social Security retirement income for women is $11,377 per year, as compared to $14,822 for men — the difference being due to women taking time out of the paid workforce to raise children and care for ill relatives and to wage discrimination; and

WHEREAS, 46 percent of all single women over 65 receiving Social Security benefits rely on Social Security for more than 90 percent of their income, and a significant proportion of women of color rely exclusively on Social Security for their retirement income; and

WHEREAS, sex-based wage discrimination results in loss of income and reduced savings for women, ranging from several hundred thousand dollars to more than a million dollars lost over a working career; and

WHEREAS, due to disappearing pensions, unemployment among older workers, declining household income, increasing health care costs, reduced home values, and reduced value of investments after the financial meltdown, seniors are becoming more reliant on Social Security for retirement income; and

WHEREAS, modest changes to financing Social Security — such as raising the cap on taxable income (above $106,800) or slightly increasing the payroll tax rate — can finance benefit improvements and assure Social Security funding for the long term;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the National Organization for Women (NOW) urge that benefits under Social Security be significantly improved to assure that all workers who have paid into the system have sufficient income and not fall into poverty and that the Special Minimum for lifetime low-income workers be raised; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NOW urge that caregiver credits under Social Security be provided so that women do not lose Social Security income when they take time out of the paid workforce, and that eligibility for spousal benefits be lowered from 10 years of marriage to seven to reflect current demographics; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NOW urge that benefits for same-sex couples be provided; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that NOW urge that benefits for disabled widows/widowers be raised to 100 percent of the deceased worker’s benefit and that the survivor’s benefit should be raised to 75 percent of the couple’s joint benefits, capped at the maximum earner’s benefit; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NOW urge that the age of eligibility for full retirement be lowered — not increased; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that NOW advocate for legislation and policy that reflect all of the above noted improvements to Social Security.


WHEREAS, the National Organization for Women (NOW) has endorsed single-payer health care in 1993 and in 2009, and the fight to make health care a right for all people continues even after the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010, which expands the role of private health insurance, while limiting women’s access to reproductive health care; and

WHEREAS, women continue to pay more for health insurance, while earning less, and women spend more time than men providing unpaid care to elderly, disabled, or sick family members; and

WHEREAS, congressional proposals connected to the national budget debate seek to cut, privatize, or eliminate Medicare, Medicaid, and any health benefits derived from the Social Security Act — changes that will most heavily impact women; and

WHEREAS, expanding Medicare to everyone and eliminating the role of the private health insurance industry would save $400 billion a year, enough to extend comprehensive health care, including vision, hearing and dental coverage and all reproductive health care, to all of the uninsured and underinsured; and

WHEREAS, Vermont has passed a law that intends to make health care a human right for all Vermonters by implementing a single-payer program in the state, and various states continue to advocate for passage of single-payer health care as a means of pushing for national single-payer health care; and

WHEREAS, hundreds of organizations, local, national and international unions, cities, towns, and school boards have endorsed single-payer health care, and polls continue to show that the majority of physicians, nurses, and the public support single-payer “Medicare for All” as the solution to our health care crisis;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that NOW continue to advocate for a “Medicare for All,” single-payer health care system as the solution to our health and fiscal crisis and oppose cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and any health benefits derived from the Social Security Act; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NOW participate in the activities around Medicare’s anniversary in July 2011 to build support for Medicare as the solution, not the problem, to our health care and fiscal woes; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that NOW support single-payer health care legislation on the state and national levels, including Senator Sanders’ American Health Security Act of 2011 (S 915) and the Expanded and Improved Medicare for All Act (HR 676), as well as legislation that supports granting the necessary federal waivers for states to implement single-payer health care.


WHEREAS, conservative, right-wing state organizations and lawmakers continue to refuse to grant civil rights to lesbians, treating them as second-class citizens and thereby implying that all people are still not equal under the law; and

WHEREAS, the attack on lesbian rights continues as conservative, right-wing groups have put forth constitutional amendments in Minnesota and other states to define marriage to exclude same-sex couples; and

WHEREAS, while a civil unions bill recently passed in Illinois, providing equal protections and rights to same-sex couples in that state, it has come under scrutiny and threat of repeal by conservative groups; and

WHEREAS, a same-sex marriage bill was effectively killed in the Maryland General Assembly, a few votes short of passage; and

WHEREAS, New York has made significant advancements for lesbian rights, with activists and legislators in the New York State Assembly working tirelessly and passing a same-sex marriage bill on June 24, 2011; and

WHEREAS, with New York’s passage, six states and the District of Columbia now permit same-sex couples to marry, and 11 other states have some form of same-sex relationship recognition; and

WHEREAS, members of Congress continuously threaten to overrule the local decision supporting marriage equality in the District of Columbia; and

WHEREAS, while there is little female representation at the state and federal levels protecting equality for women, we see even smaller lesbian representation at state and federal levels;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the National Organization for Women (NOW) mobilize in support of state action on lesbian rights by:

  • Identifying states with upcoming referenda and legislation related to equal marriage; and
  • Urging local NOW chapters and members as well as activists from around the country to organize and/or actively participate in campaigns regarding the referenda and/or legislation; and
    Providing National Action Center support of these local efforts; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that NOW recognize the urgency of encouraging and supporting feminist lesbians and supporters of lesbian rights to run for public office to serve as voices for the LGBT community in the legislature and to advance lesbian rights.


WHEREAS, the National Organization for Women (NOW) has a long history of supporting women’s health clinics that provide critical reproductive health and abortion services; and

WHEREAS, National NOW has created a new “Destigmatizing Abortion Ad Hoc Committee,” the purpose of which is to “work with the National NOW Action Center to develop and implement a strategic proactive campaign to achieve universal access to abortion as part of normal health care, repeal abortion funding restrictions and support doctors who provide abortion care in the face of terrorism and harassment”; and

WHEREAS, NOW passed a resolution called “Stop Domestic Terrorism at Women’s Health Clinics” in 2009, condemning the recent brutal murder of Dr. George Tiller and the threats toward Dr. LeRoy Carhart’s Nebraska clinic; and

WHEREAS, Dr. Carhart is now also working part-time at Reproductive Health Services (RHS) in Germantown, Md., and since Dr. Carhart started working at this clinic, threats to the staff and services at RHS have increased; and

WHEREAS, Operation Rescue, the same group that hounded Dr. George Tiller in Wichita, Kan., for years, has announced plans for a so-called “Summer of Mercy 2.0” targeting Dr. Carhart in Germantown, Md., from July 30-Aug. 7, 2011, and their original so-called “Summer of Mercy” actions in 1991 shut down access to Dr. Tiller’s clinic for six weeks and resulted in 3,400 arrests; and

WHEREAS, a similar anti-abortion extremist group, Operation Save America/Operation Rescue, will target the reproductive health care facilities providing contraceptives and abortion in Orlando, Fla., on July 16-23 with harassment and protest, referred to as “storming the gates of hell” by their president, Flip Benham; and

WHEREAS, Dr. Carhart and his Abortion Access Fund, Inc. (AAF) — which is designed to assist women who are not able to fully pay for their reproductive health services — are organizing a “Summer Celebration of Choice” from Sunday, July 31 through Saturday, Aug. 6, 2011, to counter the so-called “Summer of Mercy” attacks; and

WHEREAS, reproductive rights, health, and justice organizations and activists from across the country have created a coalition called “Summer of Trust” to support reproductive rights, health, and justice via public events scheduled from July 31 through Aug. 7, 2011, in Germantown, Md.;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that NOW work with Dr. Carhart and AAF to support and advertise the “Summer Celebration of Choice” and to encourage its members to participate in the “Summer Celebration of Choice” activities scheduled for the week of July 31-Aug. 6, 2011, including the “Kickoff Walk” on July 31, 2011; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, National NOW urge NOW chapters and activists to join in coalition to organize and mobilize its members to offer support and/or escorts to the clinics of Orlando, Fla., during this siege by our opponents; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NOW support a peaceful presence at all activities at both the “Summer Celebration of Choice” and the “Summer of Trust” activities; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the Destigmatizing Abortion Ad Hoc Committee work with the National NOW Action Center to encourage NOW members to participate in these actions.


WHEREAS, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was originally enacted in 1994 and is slated for renewal in 2011; and

WHEREAS, under the current VAWA law, immigrant women who are victims of domestic violence may receive protection should they seek it; and

WHEREAS, law enforcement is not always aware of these provisions and often questions reporting victims about their immigration status; and

WHEREAS, throughout the country immigrant women who are victims of domestic and/or sexual violence are further victimized by a system that discriminates against them and limits their access to protection;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the National Organization for Women (NOW) oppose laws or statutes that create a climate of fear and intimidation that discourages immigrant victims from seeking protection from abuse; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NOW encourage that the revision of VAWA contain language to prohibit a victim’s immigration status from being used to discriminate against and/or discredit the victim; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that NOW encourage that the revision of VAWA include language to allocate funding for law enforcement training on the appropriate responses when dealing with immigrant victims of violence.


WHEREAS, the June 9, 2011, report of the World Health Organization and the World Bank titled “World Report on Disability” indicates that, worldwide, the prevalence of disability has dramatically increased from 10 to 15 percent of the population, which is about one billion people and includes an increased estimate of the proportion that are women and girls with disabilities; and

WHEREAS, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and Ambassador for Global Women’s Issues Melanne Verveer have engaged in vigorous efforts to advance the rights of women and girls in the areas of health, including sexual and reproductive health and maternal mortality, education, economic development, anti-trafficking, and conflict and post-conflict environments; and

WHEREAS, women and girls with disabilities are rarely included in such efforts and, if included, their participation is rarely part of the media coverage of such efforts; and

WHEREAS, women and girls with disabilities are more often subjected to sexual and gender-based violence, and the numbers of women with disabilities increases as a result of conflict, necessitating their inclusion in programs addressing sexual and gender-based violence and anti-trafficking programs, especially in regions of conflict;

THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that the National Organization for Women (NOW) advocate that the U.S. Department of State (DOS) do the following:

  • Address concerns of women and girls with disabilities in migrant and refugee policy and programming; and
  • Include women and girls with disabilities in anti-trafficking programs, making it understood that women and girls with disabilities are often victims and that disabilities often result from trafficking; and
  • Include women and girls with disabilities in programs addressing economic empowerment of women, such as micro-finance, leadership skill development, mentoring programs, and economic skills workshops; and
  • Include images of women and girls with disabilities in the DOS multimedia activities; and
  • Include women and girls with disabilities and their organizations in meetings with women’s groups held during country visits by the Secretary of State and the Ambassador for Global Women’s Issues; and
  • Ensure that issues of concern to women and girls with disabilities be included in DOS’ multilateral diplomacy at the United Nations Security Council, General Assembly, Commission on the Status of Women, Human Rights Council, and at other international and regional multilateral organizations; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NOW advocate that the DOS collaborate with both Special Advisor for International Disability Rights Judith E. Heumann and with organizations representing women and girls with disabilities to take vigorous and targeted efforts to increase the number of women and girls with disabilities who participate in education exchange programs, with a goal of at least 10 percent of such participants; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the NOW Disability Rights Committee, in collaboration with the NOW Global Feminist Issues and Strategies Committee, and in consultation with the National NOW officers, draft a letter to the Secretary of State and other appropriate individuals to advocate for the issues elaborated in this resolution.


WHEREAS, the National Organization for Women’s (NOW’s) Love Your Body Day campaign, poster contest, and event activities are examples of the kind of activism that changes the quality of life for women and girls throughout our nation; and

WHEREAS, NOW seeks to be inclusive of women and girls of all races, ethnicities, sexual orientation, sexual identity, and abilities, including women with either visible or invisible cognitive, mental and/or physical disabilities; and

WHEREAS, the primary intersection of Feminist Studies and Disability Studies is a focus on the body, which determines both whether you are a woman or are disabled; and

WHEREAS, both beauty and disability tend to be things you are considered either to be born with or without, and they are also equally considered to be things that can be “fixed” or “improved” with surgery; and

WHEREAS, women with disabilities face two separate, but related, pressures for surgery — the same pressure to have cosmetic surgery to “beautify” themselves as experienced by women without disabilities and the pressure of reconstructive surgery to “normalize” their bodies (for example with cochlear implants); and

WHEREAS, this pressure to conform to an external standard of both a normal body and a beautiful one doubles the pressure felt by women with disabilities to conform to these standards and/or face the same feelings of self-rejection and self-hatred women without disabilities face as they compare themselves to a standard of beauty defined by some men and the media; and

WHEREAS, these feelings of self-rejection and self-hatred often limit or impair women from garnering the internal strength built on self-acceptance and self-love that empowers women to move beyond the limits and expectations that society has often placed upon them;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that NOW’s “Love Your Body” Campaign incorporate ads of women and girls with disabilities within their offensive and positive ads shown on the Love Your Body Campaign section of the NOW website. The LYB Campaign should also include women and girls with disabilities in the graphic images and messages of the LYB Poster Contest by reaching out to artists with disabilities to submit contest entries; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that feminist and disability activists be encouraged to find and submit negative ads and images of women and girls with disabilities to be considered for addition to NOW’s Media Hall of Shame; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NOW encourage state and local chapters to host Love Your Body events that include or focus on women and girls with disabilities by providing additional suggested activities on the “What Can I Do” part of the Love Your Body website; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that the Disability Rights Ad Hoc Committee of NOW work together with the NOW National Action Center to address these specific additions to the Love Your Body Campaign; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that the Love Your Body Campaign be enhanced by including issues that women and girls with disabilities also face around loving their bodies, so that it emphasizes and honors the fact that all women and girls are perfect just as they are.


WHEREAS, the National Organization for Women (NOW) has a herstory of passing multiple resolutions on racial diversity and immigration but not fully implementing them for varied reasons;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the Combating Racism Ad Hoc Committee and the board committee on Ending Racism create a tool kit, by the 2012 National Conference, which will emphasize racial and ethnic inclusion, immigration issues, and the dismantling of white privilege, and include, at minimum:

  • the three articles that were recently distributed to the NOW National Board — i.e., Peggy McIntosh’s White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack, Latoya Peterson’s On Being Feminism’s ‘Ms. Nigga,’ and Hepshiba’s White Privilege Diary Series #1 — White Feminist Privilege in Organizations; and
  • a model racial inclusion plan that contains cultural communication dynamics education; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that NOW hold a diversity-inclusion-themed national conference in 2014 and explore the provision of conference scholarship funds to ensure the attendance of economically disadvantaged feminists of color.


WHEREAS, consciousness raising (CR) was a successful action strategy and tool utilized by the National Organization for Women (NOW) in the 1970s and early 1980s to give voice to women’s experiences and oppression, which led to recognition that the personal is political; and

WHEREAS, there is a need to connect multiple generations of feminists through a mutual understanding of sexism in order to strengthen NOW’s membership base and activities; and

WHEREAS, NOW continues to pursue ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) as a meaningful guarantee of women’s right to equal protection under the law; and

WHEREAS, achieving full citizenship and equal protection under the law is a priority on NOW’s agenda in order to end sex discrimination; and

WHEREAS, resolutions to update CR have been passed at previous NOW Conferences;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that NOW develop, produce and distribute materials to facilitate the establishment of the Feminist CR Project; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that such materials include, but not be limited to, the former Feminist CR Manual leadership guidelines, as well as creative materials and format for today’s electronic and social media; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that NOW provide leadership and assistance to all NOW state and chapter units, as requested, to implement the Feminist CR Project under the guidance of the National CR committee.


WHEREAS, reproductive rights are human rights recognized in national law and in international human rights documents; and

WHEREAS, women’s reproductive rights are continually being eroded through restrictive laws; and

WHEREAS, court decisions intended for other specific purposes are being used to increase restrictions on women’s choices in reproductive decisions; and

WHEREAS, we remain in a climate of ever-increasing social and cultural pressures that use coercion, misinformation, and violence to influence women’s reproductive choices; and

WHEREAS, there are increasing efforts to overturn the Roe v. Wade decision; and

WHEREAS, reproductive rights are one of the six core issues of the National Organization for Women (NOW);

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that NOW affirm that it is time to lead and move the discussion into a new and more comprehensive vision of reproductive rights; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that NOW support the development, passage, and implementation of legislation defining reproductive rights explicitly as enforceable civil rights.


WHEREAS, the mission of National Organization for Women’s (NOW’s) Global Feminist Strategies and Issues Committee (GFC) is to work transnationally with women’s non-governmental organizations, the United Nations (U.N.), and international human rights organizations to advance the status of women and gender equity worldwide as well as at home, linking our struggles, resistance and accomplishments; and

WHEREAS, GFC, since its founding in 2006, has been organizing and activating NOW members and allies on a range of issues to advance women’s human rights globally and locally, with actions such as the Ratify Women! CEDAW (Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women) Campaign, participating at the United Nations and international conferences and co-organizing international feminist delegations; and

WHEREAS, NOW is committed, through our Ratify Women! Campaign, to achieving the U.S. ratification of CEDAW, the most comprehensive international agreement on the basic human rights of women and girls, which would lend weight to the treaty and the principle that human rights of women are universal across all cultures, nations, and religions and are worthy of being guaranteed through international human rights standards; and

WHEREAS, the “war on women” is global in scope, resulting from numerous social, political and economic forms of oppression and increasing fundamentalisms, whose backlash regularly and most negatively impact women, especially in the Global South; and

WHEREAS, the need to expand our understanding of the disparate impacts of United States (U.S.) policies on women globally and nationally is required to achieve the feminist goals of peace, equality, justice and sustainable development; and

WHEREAS, the women of the U.S. have much to learn from and share with women of the world who have developed responses to poverty, militarism, sexual and other violence, gender discrimination, racism, homophobia, disability discrimination, environmental degradation and other intersecting realities of oppression; and

WHEREAS, access to the highest standard of reproductive health, including family planning, is defined by the United Nations as a human right, but access to legal and safe abortion is left up to the various nation states and is not considered to be a universal human right; and

WHEREAS, transnational feminist solutions at both the grassroots and international law levels offer the broadest prospects to achieve our deserved and basic human rights;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the GFC work with NOW’s board, committees, task forces, chapter and state leaders and members to bring global, multicultural gender perspectives and educational resources to the recognition that sisterhood is indeed global; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NOW formally thank U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton for her inspired leadership to prioritize the needs of women and children globally in our U.S. diplomatic and development work and urge her to further advocate at the top levels of U.S. government for U.S. ratification of CEDAW and for more inclusive women’s programming; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NOW recommends to the National NOW PAC that the endorsement process ensure that criteria for international aspects of NOW’s core priority issues are included; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that NOW add a Global Feminist Issue Hearing to National NOW conferences in odd-numbered years to enhance NOW’s commitment to increase global feminist organizing and activism.


WHEREAS, the 1972 Title IX law prohibiting sex discrimination in education programs and activities receiving federal financial assistance has helped advance educational equality, but overt and subtle sex­based inequalities persist and must be eliminated by systematic and vigorous implementation of Title IX and related laws; and

WHEREAS, the National Organization for Women (NOW) has a long history of support for full implementation of Title IX and related governmental actions to advance gender equality in and through education to build a feminist future and to end sex discrimination and related sex segregation and sex stereotyping; and

WHEREAS, the federal government has been reducing its efforts to end sex discrimination by proposing to eliminate the 1974 Women’s Educational Equity Act and the Research on Gender in Science and Engineering program; and

WHEREAS, despite our requests, the Obama administration has not rescinded the 2006 Bush administration Department of Education Title IX regulation that allows public K-12 non­vocational schools to establish single-sex schools and classes without the adequate protections against sex discrimination included in the 1975 Title IX regulations used by other federal agencies; and

WHEREAS, educators and students are often not aware of Title IX protections against sex discrimination, such as: 1) the Office for Civil Rights guidance on how Title IX can be used to protect students from sexual harassment and bullying related to sexual orientation, gender identity and expression (real and perceived) and 2) the Title IX regulations requiring each recipient organization to designate “at least one employee to coordinate its efforts to comply with and carry out Title IX responsibilities”;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that the National Organization for Women (NOW) reassert its 2002 position for the government “to enhance rather than weaken the Title IX regulations and the enforcement of Title IX’s promise of education equality,” which includes maintaining, expanding, and updating support for federal programs and activities, such as the Women’s Educational Equity Act, the Civil Rights Act Title IV, the National Science Foundation (NSF) Gender Equity programs, and programs to increase gender equality in career and technical education in the Departments of Education and Labor; and

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, that NOW support the establishment of Title IX Action Networks at the national, state and local levels, which use Title IX activists to work with the Title IX coordinators in order to continue the enhancement of Title IX implementation; and

BE IT FINALLY RESOLVED, that NOW demand that the Obama administration rescind the 2006 Department of Education Title IX regulation that weakens prohibitions against discriminatory sex segregation in publicly-supported non-vocational K-12 schools.


WHEREAS, the National Organization for Women (NOW) holds an annual conference where policy for the organization is set; and

WHEREAS, the National NOW Conference provides important opportunities for both members and non-members to learn about the priority issues of NOW; and

WHEREAS, attendance at the conference is difficult or impossible for many members; and

WHEREAS, NOW is committed to reducing barriers to participation in NOW events; and

WHEREAS, the June 16, 2011, PEW Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project report titled Social Networking Sites and Our Lives said, “even when we control for demographic characteristics, we found that internet users and Facebook users in particular were more likely to be politically involved than similar Americans…78 percent more likely to have attempted to influence someone’s vote, and 53 percent more likely to have reported voting… than non-internet users”; and

WHEREAS, politically motivated people are an important demographic for NOW to reach in order to educate and recruit members to NOW; and

WHEREAS, the 2012 conference will be held in Washington, D.C., five months before the general election; and

WHEREAS, the ability to watch plenary sessions from the conference would give more people an opportunity to participate in the conference;

THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that two or more plenary sessions at the 2012 National NOW conference be streamed live.