National Organization for Women - Essay Example

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Name: Instructor: Course: Date: National Organization for Women National Organization for Women (NOW) is the largest organization in the United States that is run by feminist activists. The organization has five hundred thousand members who contribute towards its financial kitty and five hundred and fifty chapters in all the fifty states, as well as the District of Columbia…
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National Organization for Women
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Download file to see previous pages The amendment known as Equal Rights Amendment had been introduced by Alice Paul, and it sought to make men and women have equal rights all over the United States, as well as any other place under its jurisdiction (Wood 85). The amendment received opposition, and it is unfortunate that up to this moment, it has not been ratified. Some people believe that collective action problems played a significant role in the Equal Rights Amendment’s ratification failure. This implies that the pro-ERA lobby groups did not co-ordinate their actions well while fighting for the common cause. Women were not united in their struggle for their rights. This was demonstrated by some women leaders such as Phyllis Schlafly, the right-wing leader of Eagle Forum, a lobby group that was created to stop ERA. Women who were in this group argued that ERA was going to deny women the right to obtain support from their husbands, women were going to be sent to battles, women’s privacy rights were going to be reversed, and that homosexual marriages and abortion rights was going to be upheld. Schlafly presented a consistent and coherent message, and this defeated the dispersed efforts from pro-ERA forces (Critchlow 215). The National Organization of Women (NOW) decided not to pursue a centrally managed and hierarchically organized support program for ERA. This is because it was faced with dilemmas regarding the organizational style to use while pushing for the amendment. This dilemma was brought about by the manner in which Schlafly’s opposition was well organized. If NOW had chosen to adhere to its decentralized and participatory style of management to agitate for ratification of ERA against the properly orchestrated campaign, there was no way it was going to be successful. Its only option to counter Schlafly’s campaign was to adopt the same campaign style, and this would mean that it compromises its ideals. Therefore, NOW chose to stick to its accustomed methods, and this led to ERA’s defeat. The ratification process was also made difficult by some external factors. For instance, the Supreme Court’s decision on the abortion case, Roe v. Wade on 22 Jan 1973, as well as the countrywide appreciation for Senator Sam Ervin as the chairman of the Senate Watergate hearings that commenced in May, made it difficult for the proponents of ERA. Social conservatives and fundamentalists were angered by the decriminalization of abortion, and to make it worse, ERA was linked with upholding of the abortion rights (Wood 86). Therefore, they campaigned against ERA as a way of retaliating the Supreme Court’s ruling. On the other hand, Senator Ervin had exemplary performed his duty as the chairman of the Senate Watergate hearings; thus, he was viewed as a savior to the United States Constitution. His portfolio, as the Senate opposing leader to ERA, played a significant role in influencing the southern states to refuse to ratify ERA. It is worth noting that Schlafly also made use of Senator Ervin’s influence to propel her campaigns. She included Senator Ervin’s wife in her campaigns in order to make her campaigns have a national appeal bearing in mind that Senator Ervin was highly regarded (Critchlow 220). NOW and pro-ERA lobby groups had difficulties handling the pressures that was being exerted by the opposition groups. This is attributed to the fact that several opposition groups kept springing, and their number ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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