American Empire, Chapter 10- National Organization of Women (NOW)

” The passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act encouraged women to press for equality and greater opportunity at work, at a time when their labor force participation was continuing to rise. In 1966, three hundred largely female activists, frustrated with the inaction of the Equal Employment Opportunity Act Commission (EEOC) in countering discrimination on the basis of sex, founded the National Organization of Women (NOW)…” (Freeman, pg. 262)

The Civil Rights Act of 1964 propelled a time for change in America as a whole for not only minorities, but for women as well. The National Organization of Women (NOW) fought for equal rights in the work place, equal marriages and even day care. According to the text Betty Friedan from New York was elected as the first president of the organization, but was mostly organized out of Detroit. By the year 1975, nearly half of the women worked for wages and many jobs were available because of the Vietnam War. There were still problems however, including low pay and still ongoing discrimination by men in the workplace. Not too many women were educated and performing high level jobs, but this would change in modern society. As Freeman later discusses in the chapter, NOW was never satisfied and many other movements spurred as a result for equality. One of which was the Women’s Liberation Movement, which promoted more equality. Freeman makes it important to understand that the 1960s was a time of rapid change throughout the country. All though African American activists and leaders made a huge headline, women were also a part of this dramatic change of the 1960s.

David Shmidt