NOW Launches National Action Campaign

With women’s rights facing more severe threats than we have seen in decades, NOW is fighting back. We are standing up for the rights and well being of all women, in all our diversity and in all communities. We are showing up for our allies in Muslim communities, in immigrant communities, in LGBTQIA communities. We have a message for Donald Trump and every politician enabling his white male supremacist agenda: We are leading societal change and promoting feminist ideals — and you need to get out of our way.

I am thrilled to let you know that today we are launching NOW’s expanded National Action Program. This program encompasses five action campaigns that not only defend the gains we have made, but also work pro-actively to achieve real equality for women and girls.

  • Our campaign to Mobilize for Reproductive Justice will work to defeat Neil Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court, and we will fight to defeat Trump’s Alternative Health Care Act (Trumpcare), which would defund Planned Parenthood, drastically cut maternity care coverage, and imperil access to birth control. We will also promote pro-active bills like the EACH Woman Act to guarantee full coverage of abortion care in all plans including Medicaid–thus permanently repealing the Hyde Amendment–and the Women’s Health Protection Act to stop states from using deceptive legislation to shutter abortion clinics.
  • Through our campaign to End the Sex Abuse to Prison Pipeline, we will urge the Title IX coordinators in middle and high schools around the country to ensure that students who are survivors of sexual assault receive the wraparound services they need in order to stay in school, recover from their trauma, and thrive. Survivors in far too many public schools, especially girls of color and LGBTQIA students, face penalties, punishment, and school pushout instead of the trauma-informed services they need.
  • Our campaign to Advance Voting Rights recognizes and responds to the impacts on women in communities targeted by right-wing voter suppression schemes. We will work with our allies in the civil and human rights communities to overturn measures like racial gerrymandering, voter ID laws, and voter purges. And we will work with our civic engagement allies to encourage women of color not only to vote, but also to run for public office and for leadership roles in their political parties.
  • Our renewed campaign to Ratify the Equal Rights Amendment includes working for ratification of the 1972 ERA by three more states (to meet the constitutional requirement that three-fourths of the states ratify a proposed amendment), as well as supporting a start-over strategy for a new ERA, and engaging younger women and girls in the struggle for women’s constitutional equality. In this effort, NOW is committed to an inclusive and intersectional ERA interpretation that includes equitable access to all aspects of reproductive health care, and centers marginalized people including LGBTQIA individuals, immigrants, women of color, and women with disabilities.
  • Finally, our campaign to Protect Immigrant Rights will work with our allies in the immigrant rights community to oppose Trump’s unconstitutional Muslim ban and to stop the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s abusive raids, detentions, and deportations that tear families apart. We will in particular work to keep restaurant workers safe from abusive enforcement tactics, knowing that the restaurant industry employs over one million undocumented workers, second only to the construction industry.

NOW’s national action program will propose concrete actions our local chapters, state organizations, members and activists can take, as well as anyone in the general public interested in addressing such issues, along with resources and platforms for engagement. The program will also grow and evolve as we respond in very real-time to the harmful and discriminatory actions of Donald Trump’s administration.

As NOW members and leaders, your role is central to our success. The tools created by the NA Program are intended to be helpful for you as you engage your communities, and your representatives, both locally and nationally. We want to hear from you: your successes, your challenges. How can we better support and equip you to do this important work? This program will strive to increase engagement at all levels of NOW–from the local to the national–and to build unity among our thousands of dedicated grassroots activists across the country.

This is undeniably a challenging time for all of us. But we have been so inspired by the millions of people who have already stood up and committed themselves to resistance just in the last few months. Let’s build on this momentum and make sure this current administration knows we are here, we are watching them, and we are prepared to take the necessary action to defend our rights–and especially the rights of the most marginalized across this country.

Lillian Ciarrochi: Feminist Hero

SUNDAY, APRIL 17, 2016

By Karen Bojar


On April 13 we lost Lillian Ciarrochi, a passionate feminist and founding member of the Philadelphia chapter of the National Organization for Women. I met Lillian when doing research for Feminism in Philadelphia: The Glory Years, 1968-1982, a book which could not have been written without her. I spent many happy, productive hours with Lillian recording her recollections of the early days of Philadelphia NOW.

Lillian, like many NOW members, made enormous personal sacrifices in the epic struggle for the ERA in the final years before the June 30, 1982 deadline for ratification. In August 1981, she left a well-paying corporate job to work full time for the ERA in Florida, working 15-hour work days, seven days a week. Lillian recalled:

I was with Scott Paper Company and I was assistant Controller in the largest division. And the vice-president I reported to [had an] office right next to mine. When I told him, he sat there and cried like a baby and he said, ‘you were on your way to the sixth floor, how can you give up your career?’ I was on the fourth floor, and the sixth floor was when you reached the top.

In an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer conducted immediately after the defeat of the ERA, the reporter asked Lillian why she would “make a decision that even now she remembers as ‘very, very painful?’ Why do something that would cause her to forfeit her pension rights and that would threaten her future financial security?”

Lillian’s response was that “the strongest motivation was my mother’s life.” her mother was an Italian immigrant who came to consummate a prearranged marriage: “She came on sort of a cattle boat with 500 other young women. All were being pulled away from their families…she became instantly pregnant.” Lillian was the eighth of 13 children in all. She remembers her mother as a brilliant woman who always regretted that she never had the opportunity to get an education. When Lillian told her mother she was joining NOW, her mother started to cry, embraced her and said, “I think that’s important, and do whatever you can to make women’s lives better.” Her mother died June 17, 1980. Lillian said her final decision to “change her life” for the ERA was made on the first anniversary of her mother’s death: “I really wanted to do it as a memorial to my mother.”

Throughout the 1970’s Lillian worked tirelessly to advance the feminist movement in Philadelphia and became treasurer of Philadelphia NOW in 1973. She played a key role in many of the struggles for women’s rights in the 1970’s, including the NOW campaign against sexist images in the media and the battle to integrate the Union League and the Police Department. Lillian became President of Philadelphia NOW in 1979 and rebuilt the organization after a difficult period in which it almost dissolved—largely a result of volunteer burnout.

In the early years, Philadelphia NOW had been reluctant to get directly involved in electoral politics. Lillian led the organization into the political arena. She recalled her experience at the 1976 Democratic Convention as the beginning of her political education: “After I came back I started pulling the chapter more into politics… It became so apparent that we had to get women elected, get women into power.” She was a passionate supporter of Hillary Clinton’s, and it is tragic that she did not live long enough to see her dream of a woman president realized.

The feminist movement in general and NOW in particular scored an astonishing number of victories both nationally and locally in the early and middle 1970’s. Sometimes the victories were swift and decisive, like the desegregation of Help Wanted ads, while at other times they were long and protracted, like the struggle to integrate the police department andE

Feminist Majority Endorses Hillary Clinton for President

January 26, 2016 by

JANUARY 26, 2016 – The Feminist Majority is proud to announce today its endorsement of Hillary Rodham Clinton for President of the United States. Hillary has a decades-long record of achievement in advancing both women’s rights and civil rights, and has made fighting for low-income families a priority. She has demonstrated the leadership and vision necessary to move our country forward.

Hillary has worked to close the gender and race pay gap, fought to end race-based segregation in education, and is a champion of reproductive rights. She has supported ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, fought for passage and reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, prioritized women’s rights globally, and successfully used her power in the Senate, along with Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), to push for FDA approval of emergency contraception. Hillary supports paid family and medical leave and played a major role in passing the State Children Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), which provides 8 million low-income children with access to health care.

“Battle after battle, Hillary has proven that she will not only stand with the feminist community, but that our fight is her fight. As a self-identified feminist, Hillary has been proactive – from reproductive rights to closing the gender/race pay gap, to expanding Social Security, including care credits and fighting privatization of it and Medicare, to expanding Medicaid, to increasing access to healthcare and to promoting women’s equality here and globally. Hillary has repeatedly prioritized these issues,” said Feminist Majority President Eleanor Smeal. “Hillary has demonstrated her deep commitment to women’s rights and advancement. Through her actions and words, she has inspired women worldwide to take leadership, and countless nations of the world to prioritize women’s and girls’ advancement in the economy, education, and health care.”

“Women and girls, at long last, deserve a feminist woman in the White House whom we can count on to fight for us every day,” said Katherine Spillar, Feminist Majority Executive Director. “Not only can we count on Hillary to defeat efforts to make abortion illegal and family planning inaccessible, but she will lead efforts to make reproductive health services, including abortion, more accessible for low-income women and women of color. She will lead efforts to stop sexual assault in colleges, high schools, and in the military. She will reshape the efforts to gain paid family medical leave without increasing payroll taxes which disproportionately hit low and middle-income workers.”

“Hillary gets things done because she is a strong, trusted leader who never gives up fighting for people, families, and children. In fighting for comprehensive health care reform, she played a major role in securing SCHIP for the children of low-income families. She is a leader who is inclusive – she brings people together – and she will fight for immigration reform and the DREAMers.  She has the wisdom and experience to take our country forward,” said Dolores Huerta, co-founder of United Farm Workers, and Feminist Majority board member.

“Hillary Clinton’s vision for the future and her 2016 campaign have prioritized feminist issues like no other presidential campaign in history. She has pledged to end the Hyde Amendment, which prevents low-income women receiving Medicaid from accessing abortion care,” commented Gaylynn Burroughs, Feminist Majority Policy Director. “She supports the Equality Act to add to the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protection against discrimination for the LGBT community, as well as ENDA to stop employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. She has committed to strengthening efforts to address climate change, create more affordable childcare, and build a more equitable tax code. She has also vowed to fight voter suppression and make it easier, not harder, for people of color, women, and young people to vote.” continued Burroughs.


CONTACT: Beth Rader