March is Women’s History Month, a time to commemorate the many advances women have made towards true equality in the civic arena – and there have been many. But this year, we seem to be on the verge of losing those very real gains. (Of course, the country is on the verge of losing a lot of things.)
Where does NOW fit into all this? NOW was founded in 1966 specifically to take action to implement the recommendations raised by President Kennedy’s Commission on the Status of Women. The first mission statement says it all: To take action to bring women into the mainstream of American society with equal rights and responsibilities as men.
NOW is a grass roots organization, where policy is made annually at a convention and carried out by the elected Board of Directors and officers. Grass roots protests and demonstrations against injustice are very much at the core of NOW’s mission and we support these efforts.
Local groups work on the issues affecting their local community as well as participate in national campaigns. The SLO chapter has picketed Wal-Mart over its discriminatory employment policies; stood with Planned Parenthood and helped escort their clients through hostile crowds; organized a community panel to counter the violations of Title IX at Cuesta College; and many other actions.
Look for the NOW display for Women’s History Month at the newly remodeled and newly open SLO public library. You’ll see memorabilia and pictures from earlier struggles for women’s rights.
March 8 has historically been designated International Women’s Day and commemorates women’s work. This year NOW, and many other groups, marked the date by participating in A Day Without A Woman. Commemorating women’s work by staying away from that work for a day seems an appropriate protest statement.
Check out the website: https://www.womensmarch.com/womensday/.
As the web page says, “together we will mark the day by recognizing the enormous value that women of all backgrounds add to our socio-economic system – while receiving lower wages and experiencing greater inequities, vulnerability to discrimination, sexual harassment, and job insecurity.”
The past few years have been quiet for the local NOW chapter, but as politics went from “worse to worser” (to paraphrase Pogo), we held a re-vitalization meeting in early February this year. We had a booth at the Women’s March, we participated in the Stand with Planned Parenthood rally, and we are part of the current resistance movement springing up with such force all over.
SLO NOW has a new email address and a Facebook page. Check us out at sanluisobisponow on Facebook, and write us at firstname.lastname@example.org. We meet monthly at the conference room at Rabobank on Broad Street in SLO at 6:30 p.m. on the 4th Wednesday of the month. Come on April 26 and share your stories about our community’s resistance activities.