TASK FORCE ON LEGAL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS
*A campaign for women to assume equal rights and responsibilitiesas American citizens, including full participation in politicaldecision- making in the power structure of the political parties,in the selection of candidates and the formation of national policy,in the holding of public office, and in service to the nation,including military service and jury service.
*A campaign for the abolition of ladies’ auxiliaries and any otherseparate-but-not-equal organizations which segregate women, orother forms of “special” representation of women, outsidethe decision-making mainstream in the Republican, Democratic orany other political party.
*A campaign to get women to run for political office and to runfor membership in the regularly constituted party committees onall levels -local, state and national-and to seek assignmentson committees concerned with all aspects of government – space,finance, and urban affairs-refusing to be segregated as “Chairmanof Women’s Division,” or to be restricted to the kind ofhealth and welfare post considered traditionally more suitablefor women. On all other political issues, we may be quite dividedamong ourselves, nor will we campaign to elect any woman justbecause she is a woman-but we will campaign to support a woman,or man who actively fights for our basic interests, and to defeatany man or woman who betrays our interests, or gives mere lipservice.
*We will do our best to awaken in the largest possible numberof American voters an awareness of the basic interest of women’sunfinished equality, and a candidate’s record on it, as burningas we already know it to be in ourselves.
*Support federal civil rights legislation in 1967 which includesprovisions prohibiting any distinction based on sex in selectionof federal and state juries.
*Support and encourage women seeking to invoke their right toequal protection of the law under the United States Constitution,without discrimination based on sex, particularly in fields suchas public employment, public education, laws and official practiceswhich deny equal opportunity to women.
ACTION, FOLLOW THROUGH:
The continuing duty of the task force on legal and Political Rights
1. Review treatment of men and women in regard to their legaland political rights at the municipal, state and federal level.
2. Present the results of the review to the national executivecommittee of NOW for evaluation and plans for appropriate action.
Evidence of progress towards the stated goals of NOW should begiven equal attention and credit should be given to appropriateauthorities.
In 1963, it was noted in the Report of the Committee on Civiland Political Rights to the Presidents’ Commission on the Statusof Women that the bulk of the subject matter of this Task Forceis in the jurisdiction of the State Legislatures. Therefore, membersof the Task Force on the state level should accumulate and channelinformation from as many sources as are available to the nationalexecutive committee of NOW. That committee should plan appropriateaction which can be effected through mobilization of all the membersin the state in question.
The nature of the information to which the task force should addressitself should include state laws and city ordinances which treatwomen differently from men in a manner wholly untenable in thelight of present day multiple activities for which women are entirelyqualified.
It is strongly advised that a realistic attitude be adopted inthe matter of changing state and local laws to meet the goalsof NOW. Our laws are expressions of cultural patterns which areno longer acceptable to us. Changing them, however, may requirea great deal of time during which a process of education proceeds.This serves to change the pattern and, in turn, builds pressurethat finally achieves the goal.
Evidence indicates that a poor percentage of eligible women votersactually do vote. The task force should update the data on thissubject, (obligations and rights should balance). Further, theTask Force should investigate the status and treatment of womenwithin State Political Party organizations. State Party policyis usually reflected at the local level. Determine the degreeto which the political party utilizes women at the policy level.The pattern in both major parties has been male chairmen and femalevice-chairmen. This is a device which serves to structure thedivision and stereotype the activities of women within the partystructure. If possible it would be useful to determine the ratioof financial contributions of male and female who are active ina party organization on a percentage basis.
Greater participation within the party structure will producemore party activists, candidates for office and voters.
Submitted by: Mrs. Janey Hart, Chairman