on the Observance of
U.S. OEPASTMeNT OF STATE
WASHINGTON. O.C. 2C520
PUBLIC INFORMATION: 632-3973
C0UJM8IA PLAZA OFFICE BLMLOlNG
2401 £ STSEET N.W.
international Women's Year
BACKGROUND ON THE NATIONAL WOMEN'S CONFERENCE
AND THE IWY COMMISSION
The largest convocation of women in this country — and certainly the first such
meeting ever to be funded by the U.S. government'— is scheduled for November 18-21,
1977, in Houston, Texas. "•«
As a prelude to this historic event, 56 diverse and dramatic women's meetings, one
in each State and Territory, were held: American women from Maine to Alaska, Hawaii
to Guam, voted on resolutions and delegates to send to the National WomenTs
Conference in Houston. These meetings also draw up State Plans of Action to improve
the status of women, through action at the State level.
First time conference-goers, women who had never stayed in hotels before, migrant
workers, coal miners' widows, handicapped workers, even prison inmates, women from
a wide sweep of ages, incomes, ethnic, racial and religious backgrounds boarded
buses, snow plows (Vermont's meeting in February drew over 1000 participants),
and car pools to get to their State Meetings.
Each State followed similar guidelines, provided by the National Commission on
the Observance of Internacional Women's Year, but each meeting refleced the special
ethnic and racial flavor of the State. Rhode Island translated their materials
into Portuguese as well as Spanish, and Maine provided French language translation
for their French-Canadian Community.
Alaska's meeting attracted 780 people who elected a 12-member delegation including
Tlingit, Eskimo, Athabascan, Black, Japanese, and Caucasian women. Attendance
topped 4500 in Minnesota; 5000 in California; 11,COO in New York; 13,000 in Utah.
At least 130,000 have participated across the country. •
Resolutions came from a wide range of workshops on the issues that most affect
women: Homemaker Rights, Child Care, Employment, Education, Teenage Pregnancy,
International Interdependence, Media, the Equal Rights Amendment, Credit, Physical
and Mental Health, Female Offenders, Older women, Women in Elective and Appointive
Office, Racial and Ethnic Women, the Arts and Humanities, and Strategies for Change.
Public Law 94-16 7 named the National Commission cn the Observance of International
Women's Year (IWY) as sponsor for the State Meetings and the National Conference.
Each state shares in the $5 million funding provided by Congress for the meeting
Recommendations and a final report cn the Conference will be submitted to the
President and Congress in March, 1978.