8 Things Women Have Successfully Fought For Since NOW Was Founded

06/30/2015 02:41 pm ET | Updated Jun 30, 2015

Forty-nine years ago today, something awesome happened.

At the Third National Conference of Commissions on the Status of Women on June 30, 1966, 28 women banded together with a vow to represent women's rights and interests in governmental matters.

Forty-nine years later, NOW campaigns for six core issues: Reproductive rights and justice, ending violence against women, economic justice, LGBT rights, racial justice and constitutional equality amendment.

The women involved in the organization since NOW's founding have pushed for gender equality at every level, marching on Washington and getting women across the country involved in local NOW chapters.

Here are eight things that the organization has successfully helped fight for since it was founded:

  • 1 Legal Abortion
    NOW members campaigned for abortion access. After the Roe v. Wade ruling in 1972, members organized to escort women into picketed abortion clinics.
  • 2 Women's Equality Day
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    In 1971, NOW and Representative Bella Abzug proposed that August 26, the anniversary of the passage of the suffrage amendment, be marked as Women's Equality Day. Congress and President Nixon made this a reality.
  • 3 Women On The Supreme Court
    Allison Shelley via Getty Images
    When Sandra Day O'Connor was in the process of being approved by Congress as the first woman on the Supreme Court in 1981, NOW President Eleanor Smeal testified in favor of her appointment.
  • 4 The Pregnancy Discrimination Act
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    NOW founder Phineas Indritz helped draft the statute passed in 1978, which "prohibits sex discrimination on the basis of pregnancy."
  • 5 The Violence Against Women Act
    NOW lobbied for four years to pass the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which provides funding for "investigation and prosecution of violent crimes against women" and helps survivors access necessary services.
  • 6 The White House Council on Women and Girls
    NOW petitioned the White House for a "a Cabinet-level office to work on women’s issues." On March 11, 2009, NOW President Kim Gandy attended as President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order creating the White House Council on Women and Girls. In his remarks, he said that the purpose of the council is "to ensure that each of the agencies in which they're charged takes into account the needs of women and girls in the policies they draft, the programs they create, the legislation they support."
  • 7 The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act
    NOW called on the Senate to pass the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, signed on January 29, 2009. The act restores the protection against pay discrimination based on sex, race, national origin, age, religion and disability.
  • 8 Gay Marriage
    NOW "came out" in favor of gay marriage rights in 1996, and has been campaigning for marriage equality ever since.

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