Boston N.O.W.

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The National Organization for Women was organized in 1966 to work toward the realization of legal, economic, and social equality for women. The Boston chapter was founded in 1969. Until 1974 it was known as the Eastern Massachusetts Chapter and included five units: North Shore, South Shore, Concord, Framingham, and Marlboro.

From the description of Records, 1967-1990 (inclusive). (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 122614548

The National Organization for Women (NOW) is the largest organization of feminist activists in the United States, and works to bring about equality for all women. Boston NOW is one of hundreds of chapters throughout the U.S. Although during its earliest period of formation in late 1969 the chapter was called "Boston NOW," it soon became the Eastern Massachusetts Chapter; it held its first full membership meeting on March 16, 1970. It was incorporated in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in December 1970, holding its first board of directors meeting on December 28. The Eastern Massachusetts Chapter at first included five other units--Concord, Framingham, Marlboro, North Shore, and South Shore--which split off in 1974, with only Boston NOW remaining. From 1974 to 1993, the Chapter was known as "Boston NOW," but in 1993 it began to use the name "Greater Boston NOW" to more accurately reflect their membership and activities in the wider metropolitan area. Although members use the two names interchangeably, the official name remains "Boston NOW."

The members of Boston NOW have played a key role in shaping public discourse and policy in Massachusetts through political and legislative activities. They work to educate the public through rallies, forums, workshops, and demonstrations. Boston NOW brings a feminist voice and vision to a wide variety of issues addressing the economic, political, social, and personal dynamics that affect women's everyday lives.

Previous Boston NOW presidents include: Roberta Benjamin (1969-1971), Patricia Caplan (1972), Julia Wan (1972), Marilyn Freifeld (1973), Carol Cote (1974), Glenda Cecil (1975), Robin Taylor (1976), Elaine Giddis (1977), Maryann Murphy (1979), Beth Broderson (1980), Cynthia Medeiros (1981-1982), Janet Ferone (1983-1984), Jennifer Jackman (1985-1986), Ellen Convisser (1987-1989), Ellen Zucker (1990-1994), Toni Troop (1995-1999), and Andrea Lee (1999-2002).

From the description of Additional records of Boston N.O.W. 1970-2002. (Harvard University). WorldCat record id: 653475977

The National Organization for Women (NOW) is the largest organization of feminist activists in the United States, and works to bring about equality for all women. Boston NOW is one of hundreds of chapters throughout the U.S. Although during its earliest period of formation in late 1969 the chapter was called "Boston NOW," it soon became the Eastern Massachusetts Chapter; it held its first full membership meeting on March 16, 1970. It was incorporated in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in December 1970, holding its first board of directors meeting on December 28. The Eastern Massachusetts Chapter at first included five other units--Concord, Framingham, Marlboro, North Shore, and South Shore--which split off in 1974, with only Boston NOW remaining. From 1974 to 1993, the Chapter was known as "Boston NOW," but in 1993 it began to use the name "Greater Boston NOW" to more accurately reflect their membership and activities in the wider metropolitan area. Although members use the two names interchangeably, the official name remains "Boston NOW."

During the period (1967-1990) covered by these records, in addition to a board and officers (president, treasurer, vice-presidents, secretary), there were standing and ad-hoc committees that organized fundraising; published the newsletter (from 1970); ran the Speakers' Bureau; produced a weekly radio show, "Now We're Talking" (1974-1982); held feminist consciousness-raising sessions; and offered telephone counseling and legal referral services. Task forces, created when specific needs arose, organized programs of social action. Six task forces were formed in December 1969: Abortion, Academic, Day Care, Image, Legal, and Religion. (See folder #254, Series IV, for a more complete list.)

A major focus of Boston NOW has been education. One of the chapter's first acts was to file a sex discrimination complaint with the U.S. Department of Health, Education and Welfare against Harvard University for failure to comply with Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. This was the first of many actions against local universities for non-compliance. Another project was to implement Mass Chapter 622 (1971), prohibiting sex discrimination in public schools, and Title XI (1972), prohibiting sex discrimination in elementary and secondary schools. The chapter compiled lists of non-sexist reading material, text books, and films, and developed courses on feminism in an effort to eliminate sex stereotyping in public schools. It advocated day care as a universal benefit, sponsored a model day care center in Brookline, and raised consciousness about the need for professional child care.

In the area of legal and political rights, the chapter published Women and the Law in Massachusetts (1970), and drafted and lobbied for state and federal bills to improve women's legal status. With many other organizations, it worked for the passage of the federal Equal Rights Amendment (1972), for its ratification in Massachusetts (1973), and for passage of the state ERA (1977) and its implementing legislation. The failure to ratify the federal ERA despite lobbying, fundraising, extension, and boycott campaigns (to all of which Boston NOW contributed), was a major setback. Other legal gains were achieved in Massachusetts, however: the maternity leave bill (1973), credit reform, expansion of jury duty (1973), revision of the public accommodation laws, and many more.

The Boston chapter published Contraception and Abortion in Massachusetts (1971) and, after Roe v. Wade (1973) established the right to abortion during the first 24 weeks of pregnancy, worked with many other groups to keep abortion safe and legal. In the 1980s a new goal was to defeat the Human Life Amendment by lobbying at the state and federal level and by educating the public.

The chapter sponsored conferences on employment, published Sex Discrimination in Employment (1972), and initiated complaints for discriminatory employment practices against New England businesses, colleges, and universities. It gave counsel and support to individual complainants and pressured the Boston Globe to change its sexist help-wanted ads. In 1972 it filed a complaint with the EEOC against the Massachusetts Commission against Discrimination for sexism within the agency.

A similar combination of education and action characterized the chapter's efforts to improve the image of women in the media. It monitored TV commercials, promoted programming and news of interest to women, pressured the media to employ more women, and challenged sexist images and ideas.

Eliminating discrimination against lesbians was always an aim of the chapter, but in the late 1970s and 1980s this focus was reemphasized. A Lesbian Consciousness Raising Kit (1977, revised 1979) aimed to raise public consciousness about lesbianism and to secure a woman's right to define her own sexuality. Lesbian rights and reproductive rights remained the leading areas of concern for Boston NOW through 1990 (the period covered by these records). From time to time Boston NOW sponsored conferences and other programs and topics: women in the priesthood, new feminist theology, the rights of older women, and violence against women. Although active nationally in its work around issues such as HLA and ERA, and regionally in interactions with other chapters in New England, Boston NOW is most important for its work in raising feminist consciousness and promoting the civil rights of women in Massachusetts.

From the guide to the Records, 1967-1990, (Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute)

The National Organization for Women (NOW) is the largest organization of feminist activists in the United States, and works to bring about equality for all women. Boston NOW is one of hundreds of chapters throughout the U.S. Although during its earliest period of formation in late 1969 the chapter was called "Boston NOW," it soon became the Eastern Massachusetts Chapter; it held its first full membership meeting on March 16, 1970. It was incorporated in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in December 1970, holding its first board of directors meeting on December 28. The Eastern Massachusetts Chapter at first included five other units--Concord, Framingham, Marlboro, North Shore, and South Shore--which split off in 1974, with only Boston NOW remaining. From 1974 to 1993, the Chapter was known as "Boston NOW," but in 1993 it began to use the name "Greater Boston NOW" to more accurately reflect their membership and activities in the wider metropolitan area. Although members use the two names interchangeably, the official name remains "Boston NOW."

Boston NOW has worked "to ensure equality for women in all areas of life." Early task forces addressed issues of women as portrayed in media, women in education, employment equality, legislative concerns, day care, and organized religion. By the mid-1990s, the organization focused mainly on reproductive rights, LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) civil rights, economic rights, ending violence against women, and racial justice.

The members of Boston NOW have played a key role in shaping public discourse and policy in Massachusetts through political and legislative activities. They work to educate the public through rallies, forums, workshops, and demonstrations. Boston NOW brings a feminist voice and vision to a wide variety of issues addressing the economic, political, social, and personal dynamics that affect women's everyday lives.

Previous Boston NOW presidents include: Roberta Benjamin (1969-1971), Patricia Caplan (1972), Julia Wan (1972), Marilyn Freifeld (1973), Carol Cote (1974), Glenda Cecil (1975), Robin Taylor (1976), Elaine Giddis (1977), Maryann Murphy (1979), Beth Broderson (1980), Cynthia Medeiros (1981-1982), Janet Ferone (1983-1984), Jennifer Jackman (1985-1986), Ellen Convisser (1987-1989), Ellen Zucker (1990-1994), Toni Troop (1995-1999), Andrea Lee (1999-2002), and co-presidents Patricia Schroeder and Marni Schultz (2003- ).

From the guide to the Additional records of Boston N.O.W., 1970-2005, (Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Boston N.O.W. Records, 1967-1990 (inclusive). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Maren Lockwood Carden papers, 1969-1979 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Carden, Maren Lockwood. Papers, 1969-1979 (inclusive). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
creatorOf Records, 1967-1990 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Papers, 1959-1989 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
referencedIn Collard, Andrée, 1926-1986. Papers, 1959-1989 (inclusive). Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
creatorOf Additional records of Boston N.O.W., 1970-2005 Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
creatorOf Boston N.O.W. Additional records of Boston N.O.W. 1970-2002. Arthur and Elizabeth Schlesinger Library on the History of Women in America‏
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
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associatedWith Benjamin, Roberta. person
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associatedWith Boyer, Gene. person
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associatedWith Burgess, Barbara. person
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associatedWith Kennedy, Edward M. 1932-2009. person
associatedWith Kennedy, Edward Moore, 1932- person
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associatedWith Pines, Lois. person
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associatedWith Pollock, Mordeca Jane. person
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associatedWith Rossi, Alice S., 1922- person
associatedWith Rossi, Alice S., 1922-2009. person
associatedWith Ross, Judy person
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associatedWith Vaillant, Nancy. person
associatedWith Valerie Edwards. person
associatedWith Weitzenkorn, Helene. person
associatedWith Wendy Sanford. person
associatedWith Yard, Molly. person
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Place Name Admin Code Country
Massachusetts--Boston
Massachusetts
Massachusetts--Boston
Massachusetts
United States
United States
Boston (Mass.)
Subject
Women--Education (Higher)
Feminism--United States
Sex discrimination in education--United States
Feminism
Women--Education (Higher)--United States
Sex discrimination in employment
Women--Massachusetts--Boston--Social conditions
Abortion--Law and legislation
Women--Legal status, laws, etc
Women--Employment--United States
Pro-choice movement
Boycotts--United States
Body image
Day care centers--Massachusetts
Radio programs--Massachusetts
Women--Social conditions
Affirmative action programs--Massachusetts--Cambridge
Group relations training
Lesbians
Equal rights amendments
Women's rights--United States
Body image--Massachusetts
Boycotts
Sex discrimination in education
Harvard University--Trials, litigation, etc
Audio tape
Radio programs
Sex discrimination in employment--United States
Affirmative action programs
Demonstrations
Women's rights
Women political activists
Lesbians--United States
Now We're Talking (Radio program)
Sex discrimination against women
Women--Employment
Feminists
Reproductive rights
Women college teachers
Day care centers
Group relations training--Massachusetts
Sex discrimination against women--United States
Women--Societies and clubs
Women scientists
Pro-choice movement--Massachusetts
Abortion--Law and legislation--Massachusetts
Occupation
Function

Corporate Body

Active 1967

Active 1990

Information

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