By Sue Kaufman
"An unprecedented display of unity
for the Equal Rights Amendment!" That's
what Piilani C. Desha, president of the
National Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs, Inc. called the
meeting of heads of six powerful organizations representing women in the United
At a news conference held here today she also said, "Here before you are
leaders of six of the most powerful organizations in this country. Our combined
memberships number in the millions."
Present at the gathering were Dr.
Marjorie Chambers, president of the American Association of University Women, and
Ruth Clusen, president of the League of
Women Voters. NOW was represented by
its president, Eleanor Smeal, and the National Women's Political Caucus by Mildred Jeffrey, its president, who is also
an IWY commissioner. John Ryan, president of the National Education Association, spoke for its predominantly female
The session began with a statement
by retired U.S. representative from Michigan Martha Griffiths, the prime mover in
getting ERA out of years of Congressional
snarls. Griffiths is an attorney who retired
from the House in 1975 after 20 years
In a brief appearance at the meeting
on her way to catch a plane, she said that
for 200 years women have supported putting women into the Constitution. "May
I remind you of Abigail Adams, who wrote
in a letter to her husband, 'do not forget
the ladies.' Well, they forgot the ladies."
Griffiths said that when the 14th and
15th amendments were ratified, women expected to be included in them but were
not. "Why did we have a 15th amendment
that said all people could vote and then
you have to have a 19th amendment which
said that women could vote?"
After being on the minds of women
for more than 200 years, Griffiths noted
the time has now come for the Equal
Rights Amendment. "Five years and nine
months of ratification time have passed.
There are just 15 months left for women to
make themselves human."
When she was asked if she minded
changing the rules—referring to the move
to extend the ERA ratification time deadline-Griffiths said that she did not. "Why,
I've been voting a change of rules and I'm
most willing to change rules that treat
women as second-class citizens!"
In answer to a comment that anti-
ERA forces are pro-family, Griffiths rebutted: "They are anti-family! I have sat
on legislative bodies for 25 years and I've
never seen one of these people testifying
on anything for the family."
Clusen, Chambers and Smeal all testified to the fact that "money counts" in
the struggle to pass the ERA. According to
Smeal, Chicago has already lost more than
$15 million in convention business, with
Miami and St. Louis also suffering substantial losses due to convention cancellations.
The panel of presidents urged all
organizations to cancel convention activities in states where the ERA has not
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Saturday, November 19, 10 a.m. - 1 p.m $15.00 per person
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Sunday, November 19, 2 p.m. - 5 p.m $15.00 per person
Monday, November 20, 10 a.m. — 1 p.m $20.00 per person
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2 Houston and Astrodome
3 NASA—LBJ Space Center
4 Galveston Isle
5 Historic San Jacinto
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6 Evening Shopping Tour
7 Evening Escapade—
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PAGE 6 NOVEMBER 19, 1977 DAILY BREAKTHROUGH
'bPECIM- LIMITED EDITION
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