Equality in pay, job opportunities, political structure, social security and education will remain an elusive dream without a guarantee of equality in the U.S. Constitution. The progress we have made — and must continue to make — towards women’s equality can be lost at any time because those advances depend on legislation that can be (and has been) weakened or repealed by Congress. Although we did not succeed in ratifying the Equal Rights Amendment, winning a constitutional guarantee of equality for women remains one of NOW’s top priorities.
NOW affirms that reproductive rights are issues of life and death for women, not mere matters of choice. NOW fully supports access to safe and legal abortion, to effective birth control and emergency contraception, to reproductive health services and education for all women. We oppose attempts to restrict these rights through legislation, regulation or Constitutional amendment.
NOW condemns the racism that inflicts a double burden of race and sex discrimination on women of color. Seeing human rights as indivisible, we are committed to identifying and fighting against those barriers to equality and justice that are imposed by racism. A leader in the struggle for civil rights since its inception in 1966, NOW is committed to diversifying our movement, and we continue to fight for equal opportunities for women of color in all areas including employment, education and reproductive rights. NOW’s Combatting Racism Committee is working to encourage growth at all levels within NOW of multiracial task forces to combat racism.
NOW is committed to fighting discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in all areas, including employment, housing, public accommodations, health services, child custody and military policies. NOW is committed to educational efforts that combat the adverse effects of homophobia, promote positive images in the media and ultimately ensure civil rights protection for all. NOW asserts the right of LGBTQIA individuals to live their lives with dignity and security, and marriage equality for all.
NOW is unique in its approach to the issue of violence against women, emphasizing that there are many interrelated aspects to the issue — domestic violence; sexual assault; sexual harassment; violence at abortion clinics; hate crimes across lines of gender, sexuality and race; the gender bias in our judicial system that further victimizes survivors of violence; and the violence of poverty emphasized by the radical right’s attacks on poor women and children — all of which result from society’s attitudes toward women and efforts to “keep women in their place.”
NOW advocates for wide range of economic justice issues affecting women, from the glass ceiling to the sticky floor of poverty. These include welfare reform, livable wages, job discrimination, pay equity, housing, social security and pension reform, and much more.