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Feminist Chronicles - 1967

Events

Massive anti-Vietnam War demonstrations in Washington. (1967)

Blacks rioted in Cleveland, Newark (07), Detroit (07/30). (1967)

The National Organization For Women (NOW) was formally incorporated in Washington D.C. The initial registered office of the corporation was 1629 K Street, NW, Suite 500. (02/10/67)

At the American Medical Association's (AMA) annual meeting, the House of Delegates voted to support therapeutic abortions under three circumstances: when the pregnancy threatened the physical or mental health of the woman; when the infant might be born with a disabling physical deformity or mental deficiency; or if the pregnancy resulting from rape or incest threatened the mental or physical health of the mother. (06/67)

In New York, 22 Protestant ministers and rabbis opened the Clergy Consultation Service on Abortion to refer women to doctors in the U.S., Puerto Rico and later London for safe in-office abortions. (1967)

Presidential Executive Order 11375 amended E. O. 11246 to prohibit sex discrimination in employment by the federal government and by contractors doing business with the government-a NOW victory! (10/13/67)

At its second national conference, NOW adopted passage of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) to the Constitution, the repeal of all abortion laws, and publicly-funded child care as goals of the organization in a "Bill of Rights for Women." NOW was the first national organization to endorse the legalization of abortion. The United Auto Workers (UAW) withdrew its support of NOW over the ERA and its members withdrew from NOW's board. NOW Members 1035; Treasury $826.69. (11/18-19/67)


Lifestyles

Kathy Switzer became the first woman to run the Boston Marathon. She entered as K. Switzer, and her gender was not discovered until after the race had begun. An official tried to tear her number off her back, but was bumped out of the way by a hefty male runner whom she later married and divorced. (04/19/67)

Colorado became the first state to liberalize its abortion law authorizing abortion when pregnancy resulted from rape or incest, endangered a woman's physical or mental health, or was likely to result in the birth of a child with severe mental or physical defects. It required the abortion be performed in a licensed hospital and only after a panel of three doctors had unanimously given approval. (04/25/67)

Similar bills liberalizing abortion laws were passed in North Carolina and California where Governor Ronald Reagan finally signed it into law though he had originally told Republicans to oppose it after consulting with Roman Catholic Cardinal James Francis McIntyre. (06/15/67)

The radical women's group in New York (later called the New York Radical Women) was formed. This was an important "seed bed" group of the more radical branch of the women's movement. It introduced the "consciousness raising" techniques to further the women's movement. (10/31/67)

At its post-national conference press briefing, NOW announced its support for Cindy Judd Hill, a music teacher, in her fight with a Pennsylvania school district. Hill was deprived of sabbatical study pay and later fired after she gave birth to a baby while on sabbatical leave obtaining her master's degree. She had fulfilled all the requirements of her leave and received the degree, but had taken off one week to have the baby. (11/67)


Economic

NOW campaigned for a Presidential Executive Order to ban discrimination in federal employment and by companies doing business with the government. (1967)

At a Civil Rights Act Enforcement Meeting with Acting Attorney General Ramsey Clark and John W. Macy, chairman of the Civil Service Commission, the NOW delegation insisted, "Any administration-supported bill which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, religion or national origin is not true to its full democratic potential-unless it also prohibits discrimination based on sex." The NOW delegation pressed for enforcement of Title VII. (01/09-12/67)

At a press conference in Washington, D.C. led by NOW President Betty Friedan, NOW expanded its demands to include Federally-aided child care centers for working mothers and a full income tax deduction of child care costs. Friedan also said, ". . . we want more than lip service to woman power and token appointments of a few women to special posts outside the mainstream of promotion and decision-making." (01/12)

EEOC hearings were held in Washington, D.C. on protective labor legislation, sex-based discrimination in advertising and pension plans. The hearings were the result of the petition filed in December 1966 by the NOW Legal Committee, urging that the discriminatory guidelines on sex-segregated classified advertising in newspapers be rescinded, and that the EEOC substitute clear and unequivocal guidelines suggested by Congresswoman Martha Griffiths. (05/02-03/67)

New York NOW picketed the New York Times to protest sex-segregation of job advertising. This first picket line for the New York Chapter was organized by Carol Perlys and Dolores Alexander. Dressed in old-fashioned costumes, the NOW demonstrators protested the old-fashioned policies of the Times. Leaflets explaining the protest were distributed. The demonstration was featured on television news shows and even the New York Times felt obliged to report the story with a photograph (on an inside page). (08/30/67)

President Johnson signed public law 90-130 which retained combat limitations but allowed women in the Armed Forces equal promotion and retirement rights, and removed the 2% restriction on the number of women who could serve in the armed forces. (11/08/67)

The National Federation of Business and Professional Women's Clubs (BPW), with membership of 170,000, charged both subtle and overt discrimination against women in many fields; it cited state protective labor laws as the major cause. (10/20/67)

NOW held simultaneous demonstrations at EEOC field offices across the country. The demonstration sites included New York, Washington, D.C., San Francisco, Chicago, and Atlanta, and emphasized the EEOC's failure to end sex-segregated job advertising. Demonstrators in San Francisco (in above photo) included national NOW Treasurer Inka O'Hanrahan, Vice President Aileen Hernandez, Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon. (12/14/67)

Muriel Siebert became the first woman to have a seat on the New York Stock Exchange. The seat cost $445,000 plus a $7515 initiation fee. (1967)


Media

This Week magazine published a major article by Thomas J. Fleming, "Sex and Civil Rights" which described the thrust of NOW's program as well as the dismal status of American women including the fact that "a doleful 89% of all working women earn less than $5,000 a year. Only 1.4% have an annual income of more than $10,000." (03/19/67)

An article in the Los Angeles Times was entitled, "Working Wives Crying-all the way to the bank." (05/14/67)

An article entitled, "Buyer's Market" in Time magazine discussed the unemployment rate of 3.7% and pointed out that opportunities for women now included such male-stereotyped jobs as plumbers and cab drivers. (05/19/67)


Legal

The U.S. Supreme Court upheld a Florida statute which provided that no female would be called for jury duty unless she had registered to be placed on the jury list (Haupt v. Florida). (1967)

NOW was officially incorporated in Washington, DC. (02/10/67)

New York Chapter of NOW filed notarized complaint with New York Human Rights Commission on the discriminatory effect of sex-segregated job advertising in the city newspapers. ( 05/02/67)

An adverse court decision was handed down in the Thelma Bowe et al v. Colgate Palmolive Co. by the U.S. District Court Southern District Indiana. The court upheld the company policy regulations under which women factory workers were confined to lower paid "finishing" jobs on the ground that it is proper to "protect" women from jobs requiring the lifting of more than 35 pounds. (06/30/67)

NOW filed the appeal in the case of Bowe v. Colgate Palmolive in which a group of women at the Colgate plant in Indiana were laid off when the company refused to permit them to exercise their seniority to claim jobs involving lifting beyond the state maximum of 35 pounds. A Federal District Court had found in favor of the company practice. (07/30/67)

The NOW Board of Directors, meeting in Madison, WI, voted unanimously to approve the formation of the Legal Defense and Education Fund and authorized NOW officers to set it up. (09/17/67)


Political

At the NOW National Board Meeting in Chicago, IL, by-laws were adopted by the Board incorporating the revisions specified by the October 1966 National Conference. These by-laws provided for the establishment of chapters. The Task Forces established by the Board at this meeting were: Equal Opportunity of Employment; Legal and Political Rights; Education; Women in Poverty; The Family; Women and Religion. Task Force position papers were approved on Employment, Legal & Political Rights, Women in Poverty, and Image of Women. The appointments of Standing Committees and Task Force Chairmen (sic) were announced as follows: Legal Committee, Marguerite Rawalt; Finance Committee, Ti-Grace Atkinson; Membership, Inka O'Hanrahan; Public Relations, Muriel Fox; Special Committee for Constitutional Protection (to evaluate need for ERA), acting chair, Betty Friedan; Employment, Dorothy Haener; Legal and Political Rights, Jane E. Hart; Family, Alice Rossi; Education, Helen Schleman; Women & Religion, Elizabeth Farians; Image of Women, Patricia H. Trainor; Poverty, Dr. Anna Arnold Hedgeman. (02/22-23/67)

Senator Eugene McCarthy introduced the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) in the Senate. He had 37 co-sponsors for S. 3567. (03/13/67)

NOW and other women's organizations spurred the EEOC to hold hearings on protective labor legislation that kept them out of higher paying jobs. (1967)

The National Conference for a New Politics (NCNP) held its nationwide meeting of new left groups in Chicago. A strong women's rights plank was ignored by the conference and as a result, the Chicago women's group began to meet regularly. (08/31-09/04/67)


The Backlash

Phyllis Schlafly established the Eagle Trust Fund & the Eagles Are Flying organization after she was defeated in a run for the presidency of the National Federation of Republican Women, as liberals tried to recapture their party from the Right Wing. She also began publication of The Phyllis Schlafly Report. (1967)

McCall's magazine carried the Clare Booth Luce column "Without Portfolio" on "Is It NOW or Never for Women?" a rather snide commentary in which Luce remarked, "It is difficult. . . to share NOW's indignation about the so-called overall 'inferior' status of women in economic and social life." The column concluded: "Husbands, praise your wives! And marvel at how quickly they stop complaining about discrimination." (04/67)

A San Jose, CA, police officer became the first to challenge California's Therapeutic Abortion Law when he asked the State Supreme Court to block the abortion of his estranged wife. He argued that the law was unconstitutional because "it breaches the right to have children." He contended that he was suffering "great mental distress because of the threat of being deprived of the care, comfort, society and companionship" of the fetus. (12/06)

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