THE EQUAL RIGHTS AMENDMENT
SECTION 1: Equality of rights under the law
shall not be denied or abridged by the United
States or by any state on account of sex.
SECTION 2: The Congress shall have the power
to enforce, by appropriate legislation, the
provisions of this article.
SECTION 3: This amendment shall take effect
two years after the date of ratification.
NOW at UH
M. J. Sommerfeld, President
E. G. Feld, Treasurer
R. Daumas, Membership
J. Evansgardner, Public Relations
Volume 1, #6
GOING THROUGH THE "CHANGE OF LIFE" WITH NOW
Attending the national conference has, to quote the conference slogan, changed my life. What was Impressive
and affecting about the meeting was seeing thousands of
feminists together in one place. The oft-heard
responses questioning the validity of the ERA, arguing
women already have equal rights, etc., etc., were not at
issue. The demand for political social and economic
equality between men and women is no longer at issue,
the problem of how to get there is.
Aside from the company of feminists, the conference was
enlightening in illustrating the focus of National NOW.
National has tremendous resources that our chapter will
be able to draw on. Not only do they formulate and
develop national actions that rely on chapter participation to make feminist theory national policy, but they
are a huge reservoir of information. National officers
and staff keep abreast of feminist issues on the
national, state, and to the extent we inform them the
local level. They can give us up-to-date information on
bills in Congress or Presidential orders. One thing our
chapter must learn how to do is to utilize this
resource. If there is someone out there who would be
interested in working on developing a communications
channel between our chapter and National NOW that would
keep our chapter informed of pending legislation and
provide National with information from Houston, PLEASE
VOLUNTEER. We need someone to keep track of the
information-loaded mail we do get from National and to
seek out more when it is needed.
The major focus at the conference was the ERA (what a
surprise). See page 3 where National's Countdown
Campaign for the ERA based upon the Message Brigade is
descibed and actions that local chapters are taking is
detailed. Other tactics for influencing the Countdown
are phonebanking and letter-writing sessions. Don't
believe the media when they tell you the ERA doesn't
have a chance. (See story "Biased News Reporting"
elsewhere in this issue.) The amendment can be ratified
and your help is needed as time js. running out.
If you would like more information on the need for the
ERA or some history about it, we have an action kit that
contains all the statistics and arguments. We will have
a copy on file at our office in the Underground UC.
Most of the resolutions that were passed, passed easily
and without much argument over the substance of the
resolutions. They included raising fifteen million for
the media campaign, and demands for increased actions in
the areas of reproductive rights, lesbian rights, ^hild
care, and outreach to minority women.
The one resolution that was hotly contested was NOW's
position on the draft. The policy of National NOW was
developed between conferences by the national leaders in
Texas State Representative
will speak on
WOMEN IN POLITICS
Nov. 17- 7:30 PM
the development and filing of an amicus brief in the
Supreme Court case, Rostker v. Goldberg, which dealt
wtth women and the draft last term. Because this
position was not explicitly mandated by the del agates
elected by the membership, which is NOW's supreme policy
formulaters, the validity of NOW's position was
questioned. NOW's position before the conference and
the position adopted by the conference is explained more
fully in a position paper elsewhere in this letter.
Basically, NOW is against the draft but if there is one,
women should not be excluded simply because of their
gender. The resolution that was brought to the floor
would have changed that position to one that stated that
NOW is against the draft - period. This resolution was
suggested by New Jersey NOW. Many of the members who
brought this resolution up are also members of the
Socialist Workers Party (SWP), an organization that NOW
has had a long history of conflict over presentation and
emphasis of issues on which they may have somewhat
similar basic policies. The SWP has a pol-'cy of
-intervening in NOW in order to make NOW policy Social
Workers Party policy.
The National Conference did provide me with a broader
view of feminist clout. It has increased my belief that
feminists can make changes in the system and that
individual efforts and contributions are essential. I
hope that I will be able to convey to some of you who
may be weighing the position that feminism has in your
life, that it can be both full filling to you and can
accomplish changes in society. It will change your life
by changing the system. This does not constitute a
change in stance from last month. Changing your life
must not be construed as committing your whole life to
Mary Jeanne Sommerfeld
3 Tues _
& Ch b for
Against Our Will - Rape
Prevention Seminars organized by
Houston Area Rape Crisis, NOW at
UH, UHPD, Student Association
Chapter Business Meeting with
Reproductive Rights Update.
9 - noon
Message Brigade Action -
10 - 2 pm
Information Tables at Satellite UC
10 - 2 pm
Information Tables at Satellite UC
recruit, Message Brigade, teach
feminism - both days
Debra Danburg Speaks - program
Inter-Chapter Council Meeting
> 21 Sat.
9 - 5
Women's Lobby Alliance Workshop on
Women's Issues in Congress.
9 - 5
Chapter Newsletter writing, editing
typing, paste-up, etc.