At a 1966 national conference on women’s status, some participants expressed their frustration that little had been done to enforce the 1964 Civil Rights Act’s ban on sex discrimination in employment.
When the conference leaders refused to demand action on this issue, Betty Friedan and others angrily gathered together and sketched out plans for a new organization for women’s rights, NOW.
The group’s statement of purpose, written primarily by civil rights lawyer Pauli Murray, underlined that “the time has come to confront, with concrete action, the conditions that now prevent women from enjoying the equality of opportunity and freedom . . . which is their right, as individual Americans, and as human beings.”
Friedan served as NOW’s first president.
Betty Friedan, co-founder of the National Organization for Women, holds up buttons at NOW’s 1970 fourth anniversary meeting. NOW had 4,000 members at that point.