WASHINGTON – The National Organization for Women (NOW) was saddened to hear of the passing of Karen DeCrow, president of NOW from 1974-77. DeCrow began her career in the feminist movement in 1967, when she realized she, along with her female coworkers, were being paid less than their male counterparts. This brought her to her local chapter of NOW in Syracuse, NY; seven years later, she was elected national president of the organization.
Under DeCrow’s leadership, NOW helped to defeat a proposal by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) to omit school sports from the scope of Title IX, coordinated the first “Take Back the Night” event to protest violence against women, opened the National Action Center in Washington, D.C., and was a tireless advocate for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution (ERA).
In 1976, DeCrow debated ERA opponent Phylis Schalfly, winning the debate 32-20; the two would debate the ERA 80 times in total.
Karen DeCrow’s tireless advocacy for women’s equality earned her a place in the National Women’s Hall of Fame, which called her “one of the most celebrated leaders of the women’s movement” when she was inducted in 2009. She will be deeply missed by all who knew and worked with her. We are proud to carry on her work, and we will not stop until every woman and girl enjoys true equality and justice.