The National Organization for Women (NOW), the iconic activist organization that promotes equal rights for women, will be celebrating its anniversary at the 50th Anniversary Gala and NOW Conference, June 24-26, 2016.
NOW’s celebrations will recognize not only its history of cutting-edge activism on behalf of women, which include some of the most significant victories of the 20th century, but also the important work ahead as the organization pushes forward with its cutting-edge, intersectional and multi-agenda advocacy for the 21st century. As the largest feminist grassroots organization in the nation, with hundreds of thousands of members and activists and hundreds of chapters around the country, NOW conducts national awareness, grassroots organizing, and legal campaigns and lobbying to lead societal change for equality.
NOW was founded by feminist pioneers, including Betty Friedan and Pauli Murray, who saw the need for a civil rights organization specifically focused on women’s rights. NOW led the charge in some of the first battles against sex discrimination in the courts and through attention-grabbing demonstrations and boycotts. It played key roles in the passage of the Family and Medical Leave Act, the nomination of the first female Supreme Court justice, and the House passage and long fight for the Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution. It made front-page news with historic marches and mass demonstrations including a record-breaking 750,000 person March for Women’s Lives in 1992.
NOW made history with its controversial inclusion of a lesbian rights plank in its platform in 1971, and continued to declare early support for a broad range of social justice causes. Today its priorities include economic and racial justice, global feminism, the rights of low-wage workers and continuing LGBTQIA advocacy.
NOW was present at the creation of the grassroots struggle for women’s rights in the U.S, and it has been instrumental in numerous victories and accomplishments over the past 50 years. Looking forward, NOW is helping write the history of 21st century feminism with new energy and new generations of supporters.