In order to ensure an effective strategy for the ratification
of the Equal Rights Amendment, the Legislative Office has developed a nationwide fact-finding mission for NOW Chapters.
This project, entitled Political Action Research (P.A.R.) involves in-depth research of all the state legislators in whose districts the NOW chapters and members are located.
Included in this profile of the legislators are residency and
office contact stations, personal histories regarding schools attended and organizations in which they were involved; their
state-house records including voting histories and committee
involvements; campaign information such as contributions,
issue or platform concerns, endorsements received, and size
and percentage of winning vote and finally the specifics of
their districts with respect to population statistics and background of constituents.
The goal of P.A.R. is to provide NOW local chapters with
prime information and a permanent, complete file on their
Congresspersons. This can be invaluable when chapters lobby
for the ERA or any other legislation. P.A.R. has proved to be
so highly regarded and useful that other groups in some states,
such as unions and even one Governor, have tried to purchase
P.A.R.'s for their own use.
The NOW Legislative Office is presently staffed by one full-
time Office Manager, Mary Vogel; two full-time consultants,
Elizabeth Cox and Mary Barber-Van Buskirk;a part-time book-
Mary Vogel, Elizabeth Cox and Ann Scott at the NOW Legislative Office
in Washington, D.C.
keeper, Carolyn Feinglass; and an assortment of hourly workers,
interns and volunteers, with NOW's Legislative Vice President
Ann Scott overseeing the direction, goals and performance of
The Legislative Office exists to help each and every NOW
member to be NOW's lobbyists. "We supply the working tools,
but we depend on you to make NOW's legislative goals a reality."
The NOW Legal Defense & Education Fund
NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund, the tax-deductible
arm of the National Organization for Women, was incorporated
in 1971 for the purpose of initiating and funding precedent-setting legal and educational projects to free women—and men—
from sex-based discrimination. NOW has the unique capability
to identify those major social issues which require attention and
action in a changing society. Together, NOW and NLDEF offer
professional assistance to meet this need for women.
"Womanpower. It's Much Too Good To Waste." was the
theme of the major educational NLDEF effort of 1973. The
nationwide media campaign combatting employment discrimination received over $3 million in free print space and airtime
and appeared on over 500 TV and radio stations. In addition,
the Public Service Ad Campaign has helped substantially to increase NOW membership during the past year.
A proposed 1974 NLDEF media campaign will debunk outdated myths about women such as "Women Control the Wealth
of the Country," "Women Don't Want Responsibility on the
Job," and "Women Only Work For Pin Money."
Under NLDEF auspices, educational pamphlets on women's
legal rights are being prepared on a state-by-state basis. Improving the Image of Women in radio and TV is the goal of another
project. Ten full-length radio programs on such topics as Women
and Aging, Women and Religion, and Women and the Law, are
being produced by still another group with the help of NLDEF.
Both women and men medical interns and residents will benefit from a study of "flexible time training programs," designed
to help young physicians achieve a balance between parental
and work responsibilities.
NOW and NLDEF attorneys have participated in over 50 ma
jor legal cases covering a broad range of issues, including family
law and property rights, civil rights, criminal law, and employment discrimination.
Weeks v. Southern Bell Telephone Co., a landmark case won
by NLDEF President Sylvia Roberts, set the precedent that an
employer must open all jobs to women applicants unless s/he
can prove that substantially all women are unable to do the job.
Bowe v. Colgate Palmolive, a class action suit, struck down
sex-segregated job assignments and seniority lists.
Protection under the Fourteenth Amendment was extended
to women by the United States Supreme Court in Reed v. Reed,
when an Idaho statute which gave preference to men in selecting executors of estates was nullified.
Exclusion of women from public advisory groups which a-
ward millions of dollars in federal grants is being attacked by
NLDEF lawyers in A.W.I.S. v. Richardson.
Discrimination against women in universities has been contested by NLDEF in a lawsuit involving hiring, pay, promotion,
fringe benefits, and tenure in Dr. Sharon Johnson v. U. of Pittsburgh.
Other important NLDEF cases pending involve equal ownership and control of property acquired during marriage, a woman's right to use her maiden name, the right of rape victims to
recover damages, and denial of disability benefits for pregnancy
or pregnancy-related illnesses.
The NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund operates a national office at 641 Lexington Avenue in New York. The new
Administrative Officer of the Fund is Barbara Cox, a NOW
member from Darien, Connecticut. She and Dorothy Barenholtz
share the work of the office in maintaining the litigation docket,
keeping track of the Fund's educational projects and assisting
Vice President Mary Jean Tully in her job of raising money for
This country's human rights frontier is changing visibly in
the mid-70's. The NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund is
determined to continue to work for equal justice for all people.