The Women of Now - How Feminists Built an Organisation That Transformed America Book
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RELEASE DATE - 26 SEPTEMBER 2023
The history of NOW―its organisation, trials, and revolutionary mission―told through the work of three members.
In the summer of 1966, crammed into a DC hotel suite and passing paper cups of liquor, twenty-eight women hatched a revolutionary plan. Betty Friedan, the well-known author of The Feminine Mystique, and Pauli Murray, a lawyer at the front lines of the civil rights movement, had quietly pulled away attendees from the State Womens’ Commissions annual conference.
Frustrated with government inertia, they laid out a vision for an organization to unite and advocate for all women. Inspired, challenged, skeptical, they debated the idea late into the night and the next day. By the end of the conference, the National Organization for Women was born.
In The Women of NOW, the historian Katherine Turk chronicles the growth and influence of this foundational group through three relatively unknown core members: Aileen Hernandez, a federal official of Jamaican-American heritage; Mary Jean Collins, a working-class union organizer and Chicago Catholic; and Patricia Hill Burnett, a Michigan Republican and former beauty queen
From its inception in 1966 through the tumultuous training ground of the 1970s, NOW's feminism flooded the nation, shifted American culture and politics, and clashed with conservative forces, presaging our fractured national landscape. These women built an organisation that was radical in its time, and built it to last. This is the first time anyone has told their story.
"The Women of NOW gives an in-depth look at a vital part of feminism in America. The perfect read for those interested in women's history, American history, and politics."
"[A] smart, clear-eyed history . . . a timely addition to the history of 'second wave' feminism that illuminates today's debates about women's rights."
"Turk tells a lively story of the development of the National Organisation for Women . . . A thoroughly researched and well-balanced history."
"Finally, we have a book that centres a diverse array of women leaders who built NOW, a singularly important American organisation formed to end male supremacy. The Women of Now is an excellent work of history and essential reading for those who continue to fight for a society that values the experiences, recognises the rights, and supports the aspirations of all women."
Tomiko Brown-Nagin, author of Civil Rights Queen: Constance Baker Motley and the Struggle for Equality