The National Organization for Women wrapped up its 45th National Conference in Tampa, Fla. on Sunday, June 26, setting NOW’s policy and agenda for the coming year and looking toward the 2012 elections and beyond. Topping NOW’s policy agenda are improved Social Security benefits for women and a “Medicare for All” single-payer health care system as the solution to our health and fiscal crisis, including supporting Sen. Bernie Sanders’ American Health Security Act of 2011 (S 915).
“Women need jobs, not cuts,” said NOW President Terry O’Neill. “We oppose any cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and any health benefits derived from the Social Security Act. And candidates who want women’s support need to stand with us in support of single-payer healthcare legislation on the state and federal levels.”
Celebrations erupted throughout the conference when the New York state senate passed the marriage equality bill by a 33-29 vote. “This was a historic moment,” said O’Neill, “New York is the largest state to recognize same-sex marriage and we want other states to follow suit quickly. I’m proud of NOW’s long support for LGBT rights and even prouder that the conference passed a resolution calling for stepped-up activism for marriage equality.”
Other resolutions passed on the final day of the conference included pressing for reproductive civil rights legislation, using Title IX action networks to help end sex discrimination in education, ensuring inclusion of women and girls with disabilities in the U.S. Department of State programming and more.
The conference presenters, speakers and honorees, who included influential women in politics, groundbreaking activists and leaders in the medical field, were inspiring and motivating to the hundreds of NOW leaders gathered in Tampa.
O’Neill concluded: “The energy of the women that filled the rooms made this year’s NOW conference one to remember. I’m thrilled by the success of our gathering, and re-energized to win women’s long struggle for equality.”