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General Information about NOW
Who Cares about Women's Rights?
Because of sex discrimination, women are paid less than 75¢ for every dollar men are paid for full time employment, and most employed women are self supporting heads of households or necessary contributors to a family income.
Millions of older women are condemned to lives of poverty because the Social Security system perpetuates this injustice; women over 65 average less than 60% of what men average in annual social security income.
Female-headed families in the U.S. are four times as likely to be poor as male-headed or couple-headed families. According to the National Advisory Council on Economic Opportunity, at the present rate, five years from now the poor will be made up almost entirely of women and children. NOW refers to this phenomenon as "the feminization of poverty."
Feminization of Power
If we are to reverse the feminization of poverty, we must have a Feminization of Power. We must move more feminist women into policy-making positions in government, business, education, religion and all the other powerful institutions of society.
Women are barely tokens in the decision-making bodies of our nation, so the laws that govern us are made by men. In Congress, women make up only 10% of the lawmakers; in state legislatures, the number is less than 25%.
NOW's Political Action Committees support candidates, both women and men, who support feminist goals. NOW encourages women to be politically active, to run for office from any political party, and to participate in the decision-making processes of the nation.
NOW is fighting for equality in jobs, pay, credit, insurance, pensions, fringe benefits, and Social Security -- through legislation, negotiation, labor organizing, education, and litigation. We are helping women break through the "glass ceiling" of the executive suite, and break loose of the "sticky floor" -- the dead-end, low wage jobs that keep so many women in poverty. NOW is actively opposed to punitive welfare reform that harms the most vulnerable women and children in our society.
Equal Rights Amendment
Women are still not in the fundamental law of the land. The ERA is essential to establish equality under the law for women.
Equality in pay, job opportunities, insurance, social security, and education will remain an elusive dream without an ERA in the U.S. Constitution, and we are committed to its passage and ratification. The progress we have made for women's rights, and must continue to make, can be lost at any time without the strength of a Constitutional foundation.
NOW affirms that these are issues of life and death for women, not mere matters of choice. NOW supports access to safe and legal abortion, to effective birth control, to reproductive health and education. We oppose attempts to restrict these rights through legislation, regulation (like the gag rule ) or Constitutional amendment.
NOW supports the right of women to have children, including appropriate pre-natal care and quality child care. We oppose government efforts to limit or discourage childbearing, such as family caps and involuntary sterilization.
NOW is committed to fighting discrimination based on sexual orientation in all areas, including employment, housing, public accommodations, child custody, and military and immigration policy. NOW asserts the right of lesbians and gays to live their lives with dignity and security. Click Here to go to: Equality Florida.
NOW condemns racism and takes action against racism as one of the organization's top priorities. Seeing human rights as indivisible, we are committed to identifying and fighting against those barriers to equality and justice that are imposed by racism.
Early Childhood Development
NOW supports public programs to provide early childhood development as well as quality child care to meet the needs of children of all ages and their parents of all economic backgrounds.
Older Women's Rights
NOW is dedicated to ensuring economic protections for older women, who are all too often condemned to lives of poverty. NOW is working to change the discriminatory Social Security system, pension, retirement programs, and health insurance plans to assure older women dignity and security.
NOW actively supports full rights for homemakers and recognition of the economic value of the vital services they perform for family and society. We also support legislation and programs reflecting the reality of marriage as an equal economic partnership.
Violence Against Women
NOW challenges and acts to change the image of women as victims, which leaves them vulnerable to sexual assault and spouse abuse. We pioneered model rape and spouse assault legislation as well as support programs for battered women, and NOW was instrumental in passing groundbreaking federal legislation, the Violence Against Women Act . In recent years, increasing anti-abortion violence has been used to limit women's access to reproductive health services, and NOW has brought a precedent-setting racketeering case against these terrorists.
NOW pursues the rights of girls and women to education without discrimination or segregation, equal opportunity in recreation and sports, and the inclusion of girls and women in all programs and educational institutions.
These are not the only issues that fall into the wide-ranging category of women's rights. We are concerned, too, about society's insensitivity to the needs of the physically challenged, women's health needs, the attitudes toward and position of women in organized religion, the image of women in the media, the special problems of rural women, and many others. All are part of our organizational purpose to "bring women into full participation in the mainstream of American society NOW. "