The National Organization for Women (NOW) was established in 1966 in Washington DC by women attending the Third National Conference of the Commission on the Status of Women. Among NOW's 28 founders was its first president, Betty Friedan, author of The Feminine Mystique (1963). The purpose of NOW, as stated at its organizing conference October 29, 1966, was “to take action to bring women into full participation in the mainstream of American society now, exercising all the privileges and responsibilities thereof in truly equal partnership with men.” NOW has over 500,000 contributing members in all 50 states.
Efforts to establish a NOW chapter in North Dakota began in the early 1970s. Chapters in Grand Forks and Fargo were created by 1973, while Bismarck-Mandan was added in 1975. Other locations in North Dakota that have hosted chapters include Bottineau, Dickinson, Devils Lake, Jamestown, and Minot.
The North Dakota Chapter has been active with various issues including poverty, reproductive rights, affirmative action and Title IX, battered women, rape, and human rights. The North Dakota Chapter was also heavily involved with the successful passage of the Equal Rights Amendment in North Dakota in 1975.
The North Dakota Chapter of the National Organization for Women Records consist of correspondence, membership lists, bylaws, newspaper clippings, conference proceedings, financial information, and issues statements. The collection is divided into four series:
Series 1: North Dakota NOW Council
Series 2: Local NOW Chapters
Series 3: NOW Regional Conferences
Series 4: National level - National Organization for Women