National Organization for Women

The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.

National Organization for Women

National Organization for Women (NOW), group founded (1966) to support "full equality for women in America in a truly equal partnership with men." Its founder and first president was feminist leader Betty Friedan, author of The Feminine Mystique (1963). Through a program of legislative lobbying, court litigation, and public demonstrations, NOW seeks to end sexual discrimination in employment. The largest women's rights group in the United States, it also supports the establishment of child-care centers for working mothers, legalized abortion, and paid maternity leave, as well as adoption of the equal rights amendment to the U.S. Constitution. NOW works to elect women to office, and seeks the abolition of alimony laws. It consists of approximately 250,000 members, including men, in 800 local chapters affiliated with the main office, located in Washington, D.C.

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