The purpose of NOW is to take action to bring women into full participation in the mainstream of American society now, exercising all privileges and responsibilities thereof in truly equal partnership with men.The National Organization for Women’s 1966 Statement of Purpose
National Organization for Women (NOW) was formed in 1966 as an organization focused directly on advancing women’s rights. It was and remains the most visible second-wave feminist organization, and it represents the first independent American women’s movement since the women’s suffrage movement at the beginning of the 20th century.
Twenty-eight women co-founded NOW, including well-known feminists like Shirley Chisholm, Betty Friedan, and Pauli Murray. Their original statement of purpose, written by Friedan and Murray, declared that “the time has come to confront, with concrete action, the conditions that now prevent women from enjoying the equality of opportunity and freedom of choice which is their right, as individual Americans, and as human beings.” Today, their platform also addresses voting rights. They argue that women are disproportionately affected by voter suppression and work to get feminist candidates elected to office.
At the heart of the Special Collections & University Archives exhibit Get Out the Vote: Suffrage and Disenfranchisement in America are advocates and grassroots organizations who have fought for expanding the right to vote. Their individual and collective voices have driven major changes to American voting rights, moving the nation closer to the ideal of “one person, one vote.”
Visit the Maryland Room Exhibit Gallery in Hornbake Library to view the exhibit Get Out the Vote: Suffrage and Disenfranchisement in America or explore the exhibit online.