|1977 National Women's Conference
Plan of Action
Declaration of American Women
Arts and Humanities
Elective and Appointive Office
Equal Rights Amendment
Continuing Committee of the Conference
Declaration of American Women
We are here to move history forward.
We are women from every State and Territory in the Nation.
We are women of different ages, beliefs and lifestyles.
We are women of many economic, social, political, racial, ethnic, cultural,
educational and religious backgrounds.
We are married, single, widowed and divorced.
We are mothers and daughters.
We are sisters.
We speak in varied accents and languages but we share the common language and experience of American women who throughout our Nation's life have been denied the opportunities, rights, privileges and responsibilities accorded to men.
For the first time in the more than 200 years of our democracy, we are
gathered in a National Women's Conference, charged under Federal law to
assess the status of women in our country, to measure the progress we have made, to identify the barriers that prevent us from participating fully and equally in all aspects of national life, and to make recommendations to the President and to the Congress for means by which such barriers can be removed.
We recognize the positive changes that have occurred in the lives of women
since the founding of our nation. In more than a century of struggle from
Seneca Falls 1848 to Houston 1977, we have progressed from being non-persons
and slaves whose work and achievements were unrecognized, whose needs were
ignored, and whose rights were suppressed to being citizens with freedoms
and aspirations of which our ancestors could only dream.
We can vote and own property. We work in the home, in our communities and in
every occupation. We are 40 percent of the labor force. We are in the arts,
sciences, professions and politics. We raise children, govern States, head
businesses and institutions, climb mountains, explore the ocean depths
and reach toward the moon.
Our lives no longer end with the childbearing years. Our lifespan has increased to more than 75 years. We have become a majority of the population, 51.3 percent, and by the 21st Century, we shall be an even larger majority.
But despite some gains made in the past 200 years, our dream of equality is
still withheld from us and millions of women still face a daily reality of
discrimination, limited opportunities and economic hardship.
Man-made barriers, laws, social customs and prejudices continue to keep a majority of women in an inferior position without full control of our lives and bodies.
From infancy throughout life, in personal and public relationships, in the family,
in the schools, in every occupation and profession, too often we find our individuality, our capabilities, our earning powers diminished by discriminatory practices and outmoded ideas of what a woman is, what a woman can do, and what a woman must be.
Increasingly, we are victims of crimes of violence in a culture that
degrades us as sex objects and promotes pornography for profit.
We are poorer than men. And those of us who are minority women - Blacks,
Hispanic American, Native American and Asian Americans - must overcome the
double burden of discrimination based on race and sex.
We lack effective political and economic power. We have only minor and
insignificant roles in making, interpreting and enforcing our laws, in running our
political parties, businesses, unions, schools and institutions, in directing the media,
in governing our country, in deciding issues of war or peace.
We do not seek special privileges, but we demand as a human right a full
voice and role for women in determining the destiny of our world, our
nation, our families and our individual lives.
We seek these rights for all women, whether or not they choose as
individuals to use them.
We are part of a worldwide movement of women who believe that only by
bringing women into full partnership with men and respecting our rights as
half the human race can we hope to achieve a world, our nation the whole
human race - men, women and children - can live in peace and security.
Based on the views of women who have met in every State and Territory in the
past year, the National Plan of Action is presented to the President and the
Congress as our recommendations for implementing Public Law 94-167.
We are entitled to and expect serious attention to our proposals.
We demand immediate and continuing action on our National Plan by Federal,
State, public and private institutions so that by 1985, the end of the international
Decade for Women proclaimed by the United Nations, everything possible under the law
will have been done to provide American women with full equality.
The rest will be up to the hearts, minds and moral consciences of men and
women and what they do to make our society truly democratic and open to all.
We pledge ourselves with all the strength of our dedication to this struggle
"to form a more perfect Union.
Arts and Humanities
The President should take steps to require that women:
Are assured equal opportunities for appointment to managerial and upper
level posts in Federally-funded cultural institutions, such as libraries,
museums, universities and public radio and TV.
Are more equitably represented on grant-awarding boards, commissions and panels.
Benefit more fairly from government grants, whether as individual grant
applicants or as members of cultural institutions receiving Federal or State funding.
Judging agencies and review boards should use blind judging for musicians,
including singers, in appraising them for employment, awards, and
fellowships as well as for all articles and papers being considered for
publication or delivery and for all exhibits and grant applications, wherever possible.
The President and Congress should declare the elimination of violence in the
home to be a national goal. To help achieve this, Congress should establish
a national clearinghouse for information and technical and financial
assistance to locally controlled public and private nonprofit organizations
providing emergency shelter and other support services for battered women
and their children. The clearinghouse should also conduct a continuing mass
media campaign to educate the public about the problem of violence and the
available remedies and resources.
Local and State governments, law enforcement agencies and social welfare
agencies should provide training programs on the problem of wife battering,
crisis intervention techniques, and the need for prompt and effective
enforcement of laws that protect the rights of battered women.
State legislatures should enact laws to expand legal protection and provide
funds for shelters for battered women and their children remove interspousal
tort immunity in older to permit assaulted spouses to sue their assailants
for civil damages; and provide full legal services for victims of abuse.
Programs for battered women should be sensitive to the bilingual and
multicultural needs of ethnic and minority women.
The President should issue an Executive Order establishing as national policy:
The full integration of women entrepreneurs in government-wide business-related
and procurement activities, including a directive to all government agencies to assess the impact of these activities on women business owners.
The development of outreach and action programs to bring about the full integration
of women entrepreneurs into business-related government activities and procurement.
The development of evaluation and monitoring programs to assess progress
periodically and to develop new programs.
The President should amend Executive Order 11625 of October 13, 1971 to add
women to its coverage and to programs administered by the Office of Minority
The President should direct the Small Business Administration (SBA) to add
women to the definition of socially or economically disadvantaged groups as
published in the Code of Federal Regulations and take all steps necessary to
include women in all the services and activities of the SBA. These steps
should include community education projects to encourage women to
participate in SBA programs, particularly minority women, including Blacks,
Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans and Native Americans.
The President should direct all contracting agencies to increase the
percentage of the annual dollar amount of procurement contracts awarded to
women-owned businesses and to maintain records by sex and race or ethnicity
for monitoring and evaluation.
The President should direct the General Services Administration to amend, so
as to include women, the Federal Procurement Regulations requiring that all
firms holding government contracts exceeding $5,000 insure that "minority
business enterprises have the maximum practicable opportunity, to
participate in tile performance of Government contracts."
The President should direct the Department of Labor, Office of Federal Contract
Compliance Programs to assure that compliance officers monitor the awards of
subcontracts in order to assure that women-owned businesses are equitably treated.
The President and Congress should provide continued funding and support for
the prevention and treatment of abused children and their parents under the
Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act of 1974.
States should set up child abuse prevention, reporting, counseling and
intervention programs or strengthen such programs as they already have.
Child abuse is defined, for this purpose, as pornographic exploitation of
children, sexual abuse, battering, and neglect.
Provide protective services on a 24-liour basis.
Counsel both victim and abuser.
Create public awareness in schools and in communities by teaching
how to identify and prevent the problems.
Encourage complete reporting and accurate data collection.
Provide for prompt, sensitive attention by police, courts, and social services.
The Federal government should assume a major role in directing and providing
comprehensive, voluntary, flexible hour, bias-free, non-sexist, quality
child care and developmental programs, including child care facilities for
Federal employees, and should request and support adequate legislation and
funding for these programs.
Federally funded child care and developmental programs should have low-cost,
ability-to-pay fee schedules that make these services accessible to all who
need them, regardless of income, and should provide for parent participation
in their operation.
Legislation should make special provision for child care facilities for
rural and migrant worker families.
Labor and management should be encouraged to negotiate child care programs
in their collective bargaining agreements.
Education for parenthood programs should be improved and expanded by local
and State school boards, with technical assistance and experimental programs
provided by the Federal government.
City, county and/or State networks should be established to provide parents
with hotline consumer in formation on child care, referrals, and follow-up
evaluations of all listed care givers.
The Federal Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974 should be vigorously,
efficiently and expeditiously enforced by all the Federal agencies with
The Federal Reserve Board should conduct a nationwide educational campaign
to inform women of their rights under the law.
The President, Congress, and State and local governments should rigorously
enforce all current legislation that affects the lives of disabled women.
The President, Congress, and Administration should expeditiously implement
the recommendations of the White House Conference on Handicapped Individuals
and develop comprehensive programs for that purpose.
Disabled women should have access to education, training and employment based on their needs and interests rather than on the preconceived notions of others.
The Federal government should enact legislation which will provide higher
income levels so that disabled women can afford to live independently and at
a decent standard of living. The disabled woman must have the right to
determine for herself whether she will live in or out of an institutional setting. Funds and services should be available to make independent living a reality.
Congress should appropriate sufficient funds to ensure the development of
service programs controlled by disabled people.
Disabled women should have the right to have and keep their children and
have equal rights to adoption and foster care.
Congress should mandate health training and research programs focused on the
health needs of the disabled.
Information developed by disabled women should be disseminated to medical
professionals and women so that all women can make decisions about children
based on knowledge rather than fear.
National health care legislation must provide for the unique requirements of
disabled women without reference to income.
Congress should enact legislation to remove all work disincentives for all
disabled individuals who wish paid employment.
The President and Congress should work closely with disabled individuals in
the development of the welfare reform act and all other legislation
concerning disabled persons.
Medicaid and Medicare should cover all the medical services and supplies
that are needed by disabled women
The President and Congress should encourage all States to utilize Title XX
funds for the provision of attendant care and other such services for
The President and Congress should enact legislation to include disabled
women under the 1964 Civil Rights Act and afford them judicial remedy.
The President and Congress and International Women's Year must recognize the
additional discrimination disabled women face when they are members of
racial, ethnic and sexual minority groups and appropriate steps must be
taken to protect their rights.
In the passage of the National Plan of Action, the word "woman" should be
defined as including all women with disabilities. The term "bilingual"
should be defined as including sign language and interpreter for the deaf.
The term "barriers" against women and "access" should be defined as
including architectural barriers and communication barriers.
Congress and the President should support U.S. participation in and funding for the
International Year of the Handicapped as proclaimed by the United Nations for 1981.
The President should direct the vigorous and expeditious enforcement of all
laws prohibiting discrimination at all levels of education and oppose any
amendments or revisions that would weaken these laws and regulations.
Enforcement should apply to elementary, primary, secondary, post-secondary,
graduate, vocational and technical schools, including sports and other
programs and granting of scholarships and fellowships.
Federal surveys of elementary and secondary schools should gather data
needed to indicate compliance with Federal anti-discrimination laws, and
these data should be collected by sex as well as race or ethnicity. The
Civil Rights Commission should conduct a study to evaluate the enforcement
of laws prohibition, sex discrimination in physical education and athletics,
and to consider the usefulness and feasibility of per capita expenditure in
physical education and athletics as a measure of equal opportunity.
Leadership programs for working women in postsecondary schools should be
upgraded and expanded, and private foundations are urged to give special
attention to research on women in unions.
Bilingual vocational training, educational and cultural programs should be
extended and significantly expanded, with particular attention to the needs
of Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Asian Americans and other minority women.
State school systems should move against sex and race stereotyping through
appropriate action, including:
Review of books and curriculum.
The integration into the curriculum of programs of study that
restore to women their history and their achievements and give
them the knowledge and methods to reinterpret their life experiences.
Pre-service and in-service training of teachers and administrators.
Non-sexist and non-racist counseling at every level of education,
with encouragement of women to increase their range of options
and choices to include both nontraditional and traditional
occupations and to increase understanding of women's rights and
status in various occupations.
Elective and Appointive Office
The President, Governors, political parties, women's organizations and
foundations should join in an effort to increase the number of women in
office, including judgeships and Policy-making Positions, and women should
seek elective and appointive office in larger numbers than at present on the
Federal, State and local level.
The President and, where applicable, Governors should significantly increase
the numbers of women appointed as judges, particularly to appellate courts
and supreme courts.
Governors should set as a goal for 1980 a significant increase and, by 1985,
equal membership of men and women serving on all State boards and
commissions. Concerted efforts should be directed toward appointing women to
the majority of State boards and commissions which have no women members.
Political parties should encourage and recruit women to run for office and
adopt written plans to assure equal representation of women in all party
activities, from the precinct to the national level, with special emphasis
on equal representation on the delegations to all party conventions.
The national parties should create affirmative action offices for women.
Women's caucuses and other women's organizations within the party should
participate in the selection of its personnel and in the design of its
program, which should include greatly improved financial assistance for
female delegates and candidates.
The President and Congress should support a policy of full employment so
that all women who are able and willing to work may do so.
The President should direct the vigorous and expeditious enforcement of all
laws, executive orders and regulations prohibiting discrimination in
employment, including discrimination in apprenticeship and construction.
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission should receive the necessary
funding and staff to process complaints and to carry out its duties speedily
All enforcement agencies should follow the guide-lines of the EEOC, which
should be expanded to cover discrimination in job evaluation systems. These
systems should be examined with the aim of eliminating biases that attach a
low wage rate to "traditional" women's jobs. Federal legislation to provide
equal pay for work of equal value should be enacted.
Congress should repeal the last sentence of Sec. 703(h) of Title VII, Civil
Rights Act (1964) which limits enforcement of that law by incorporating the
more restrictive standards of the Equal Pay Act.
As the largest single employer of women in the nation, the President should
require all Federal agencies to establish goals and timetables which require
equitable representation of women at all management levels, and appropriate
sanctions should be levied against heads of agencies that fail to
demonstrate a "good faith" effort in achieving these goals and timetables.
The Civil Service Commission should require all Federal agencies to
establish developmental and other programs in consonance with upward
mobility and merit promotion principles to facilitate the movement of women
from clerical to technical and professional series, and make all Federal
women employees in Grades (GS) 11 through 15 eligible for managerial
Agencies and organizations responsible for apprenticeship programs should be
required to establish affirmative action goals and timetables for women of
all racial and ethnic origins to enter into "non-traditional training programs.
Federal laws prohibiting discrimination in employment should be extended to
include the legislative branch of the Federal government.
In addition to the Federal government, State and local governments, public
and private institutions, business, industry and unions should be encouraged
to develop training programs for the employment and promotion of women in
policy-level positions and professional, managerial and technical jobs.
Special attention should be given to the employment needs of minority women,
especially Blacks, Hispanics, Asian Americans and Native Americans including
their placement in managerial, professional, technical and white collar
jobs. English-language training and employment programs should be developed
to meet the needs of working women whose primary language is not English.
The Congress should amend the Veteran Preference Act of 1944 (58 Stat. 387,
Chapter 287, Title V, US Code) so that veterans preference is used on a
one-time only basis for initial employment and within a three year period
after discharge from military service, except for disabled veterans. It
should modify the "rule of three" so that equally or better qualified
non-veterans should not be unduly discriminated against in hiring.
Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act should be amended to prohibit
discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions.
The President should take into account in appointments to the National Labor
Relations Board and in seeking amendments to the National Labor Relations
Act of 1936 the obstacles confronting women who seek to organize in
traditionally nonunionized employment sections.
Unions and management should review the impact on women of all their
practices and correct injustices to women.
Enforcement of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Social Security Act as they apply
to household workers and enforcement of the minimum wage should be improved.
Federal and State governments should promote Flexitime jobs, and pro-rated
benefits should be provided for part-time workers.
All statistics collected by the Federal government should be gathered and
analyzed so that information concerning the impact of Federal programs on
women and the participation of women in the administration of Federal
programs can be assessed.
Equal Rights Amendment
The Equal Rights Amendment should be ratified.
Federal legislation should establish a national health security program.
Present Federal employees' health insurance policies and any future national
health security program should cover women as individuals.
Health insurance benefits should include:
Preventive health service.
Comprehensive family planning services.
Reproductive health care.
General medical care.
Home and health support services.
Comprehensive mental health services.
States should license and recognize qualified midwives and nurse
practitioners as independent health specialists and State and Federal laws should
require health insurance providers to directly reimburse these health specialists.
States should enact a patient's bill of rights which includes enforceable provisions for
informed consent and access to and patient ownership of medical records.
Federal legislation should be enacted to expand the authority of the Food
and Drug Administration to:
Require testing of all drugs, devices and cosmetics by
independent sources other than the manufacturers.
Extend test periods beyond the present grossly inadequate one
year or 18 months.
Have immediate recall of hazardous, unsafe or ineffective drugs,
devices and cosmetics.
Require a patient information package insert with every drug and
device marketed. This insert should include warnings about
Require by law the reporting of significant adverse reactions
noted by physicians or by the manufacturers of drugs, devices and
Congress should appropriate funds for increased research on safe,
alternative forms of contraception, particularly male contraception.
Research to identify the risks of present forms of contraception and
estrogen-based drugs should be given higher priority. Outreach programs
should be established by the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare to
identify and provide services for victims of hazardous drug therapy.
The Department of Health, Education, and Welfare should provide additional
funds for alcohol and drug abuse research and treatment centers designed to
meet the special needs of women.
Federal and State governments should encourage fair representation of women
on all Federal, State and private health policy and planning bodies.
Congress should appropriate funds to establish and support a network of
community-based health facilities to offer low cost, reproductive health services.
The President should appoint a special commission to conduct a national
investigation of conditions in nursing homes and mental institutions and
propose standards of care.
Congress should appropriate funds to encourage more women to enter the
health professions and Congress should allocate funds only to those health
professions schools whose curricula are clearly non-sexist.
The Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare should undertake a special
investigation of the increase in surgical procedures such as hysterectomy,
Cesarean section, mastectomy and forced sterilization.
The Federal Government and State legislatures should base their laws
relating to marital property, inheritance, and domestic relations on the
principle that marriage is a partnership in which the contribution of each
spouse is of equal importance and value.
The President and Congress should support a practical plan of covering
homemakers in their own right under social security and facilitate its enactment.
Alimony, child support, and property arrangements at divorce should be such
that minor children's needs are first to be met and spouses share the
economic dislocation of divorce. As a minimum every State should enact the
economic provisions of the Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act proposed by the
Commissioners on Uniform State Laws and endorsed by the American Bar
Association. Loss of pension rights because of divorce should be considered in property divisions. More effective methods for collection of support should be adopted.
The Census Bureau should collect data on the economic arrangements at divorce
and their enforcement, with a large enough sample to analyze the data by State.
The Federal and State Governments should help homemakers displaced by
widowhood, divorce, or desertion to become self-sufficient members of
society through programs providing counseling, training and placement and counseling
on business opportunities; advice on financial management; and legal advice.
State legislatures and State insurance commissioners should adopt the Model
Regulation to Eliminate Unfair Sex Discrimination of the National
Association of Insurance Commissioners. The Regulation should be amended and
adopted to include prohibition of the following practices:
Denial of coverage for pregnancy and pregnancy-related expenses
for all comprehensive medical/hospital care.
Denial of group disability coverage for normal pregnancy and
complications of pregnancy.
Denial of health insurance coverage to newborns from birth.
Requiring dependents who convert from spouses' contracts to their
own to pay increased premiums for the same coverage or be forced
to insure for lower coverage.
Denial of coverage to women with children born out of wedlock and
denying eligibility of benefits to such children.
Using sex-based actuarial mortality tables in rate and benefit computation.
Women and Foreign Policy
The President and the Executive Agencies of the government dealing with
foreign affairs (Departments of State and Defense, USIA, AID and others)
should see to it that many more women, of all racial and ethnic backgrounds,
participate in the formulation and execution of all aspects of United States
foreign policy. Efforts should be intensified to appoint more women as
Ambassadors and to all U.S. Delegations to international conferences and
missions to the United Nations. Women in citizen voluntary organizations
concerned with international affairs should be consulted more in the
formulation of policy and procedures.
The foreign affairs agencies should increase with all possible speed the
number of women at all grade levels within the agencies, and a special
assistant to the Secretary of State should be appointed to coordinate a
program to increase women's participation in foreign policy and to assume
responsibility for U.S. participation in and the funding of the UN Decade
for Women. All concerned agencies of the Executive Branch should strive to
appoint women on an equal basis with men to represent the U.S. on all
executive boards and governing bodies of international organizations and on
the UN functional commissions. A permanent committee composed of government
officials and private members, the majority of them women, should be
appointed to advise the State Department of the selection of women
candidates for positions on U.S. delegations, on governing bodies of
international agencies, and in the UN system.
UN Commission on the Status of Women
The U.S. Government should work actively for the retention and adequate
funding of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, and it should recommend
that the Commission meet annually rather than biennially.
Women in Development
The U.S. Agency for International Development and similar assistance
agencies should give high priority to the implementation of existing U.S.
legislation and policies designed to promote the integration of women into
the development plans for their respective countries. They should also
continue to study the impact on women in the developing world of U.S.
government aid and commercial development programs over which government has
any regulatory powers. These agencies should actively promote the
involvement of these women in determining their own needs and priorities in
programs intended for their benefit.
Human Rights Treaties and International
Conventions on Women
In pressing for respect for human rights, the President and the Congress
should note the special situation of women victims of oppression, political
imprisonment and torture. They should also intensify efforts for
ratification and compliance with international human rights treaties and
conventions to which the United States is signatory, specifically including
those on women's rights.
Peace and Disarmament
The President and the Congress should intensify efforts to:
Build, in cooperation with other nations, an international framework
within which serious disarmament negotiations can occur.
Reduce military spending and foreign military sales, convert
excessive weapons manufacturing capacity to production for
meeting human needs.
Support peace education in schools and advanced study in the
fields of conflict resolution and peace keeping.
To this end the United States should take the lead in urging all nuclear
powers to start phasing out their nuclear arsenals rather than escalating
weapons development and deployment, and should develop initiatives to
advance the cause of world peace.
International Education and Communication
Government agencies, media, schools, and citizen organizations should be
encouraged to promote programs of international education and communication
emphasizing women's present and potential contribution, particularly in
developing countries, to economic and social well-being. Improved methods
should be devised for collection and dissemination of this needed information in order
to make adequate data available to policy makers and the public.
International Women's Decade
The U.S. should give vigorous support to the goals of the UN Decade for
Women, Equality, Development and Peace, in the General Assembly and other
international meetings, should give financial support to Decade activities
and should participate fully in the 1980 mid-Decade World Conference to
review progress toward targets set in the World Plan of Action adopted
unanimously by the World Conference of International Women's Year, 1975.
The media should employ women in all job categories and especially in
policy-making positions. They should adopt and distribute the IWY media
guidelines throughout their respective industries. They should make
affirmative efforts to expand the portrayal of women to include a variety of
roles and to represent accurately the numbers and lifestyles of women in
society. Training opportunities should be expanded so that more women can move into
all jobs in the communications industries, particularly into technical jobs.
Appropriate Federal and State agencies, including the Federal Communications
Commission, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Department of Health,
Education, and Welfare, Department of Justice, and State civil rights
commissions should vigorously enforce laws which prohibit employment
discrimination against women working in the mass media. These agencies
should continue studying the impact of the mass media on sex discrimination
and sex-role stereotyping in American society.
Special consideration should be given to media which are publicly funded or
established through acts of Congress. Particularly, public broadcasting
should assume a special responsibility to integrate women in employment and
Women's groups and advocacy groups should continue to develop programs to
monitor the mass media and take appropriate action to improve the image and
employment of women in the communications industries. They should join the
campaign to de-emphasize the exploitation of female bodies and the use of
violence against women in the mass media.
Minority women share with all women the experience of sexism as a barrier to
their full rights of citizenship. Every recommendation of this National Plan
of Action shall be understood as applying equally and fully to minority
But institutionalized bias based on race, language, culture and/or ethnic
origin or governance of territories or localities has led to the additional
oppression and exclusion of minority women and to the conditions of poverty
from which they disproportionately suffer.
Therefore, every level of government action should recognize and remedy this
double-discrimination and ensure the right of each individual to
Legislation, the enforcement of existing laws and all levels of government
action should be directed especially toward such problem areas as
involuntary sterilization; monolingual education and services; high infant
and maternal mortality rates; bias toward minority women's children,
confinement to low level jobs; confinement to poor, ghettoized housing;
culturally biased educational, psychological and employment testing (for
instance, civil service); failure to enforce affirmative action and special
admission programs; combined sex and race bias in insurance; and failure to
gather statistical data based on both sex and race so that the needs and
conditions of minority women may be accurately understood.
Minority women also suffer from government failure to recognize and remedy
problems of our racial and cultural groups. For instance:
American Indian and Alaskan Native Women: - American Indian/Alaskan Native
women have a relationship to Earth Mother and the Great Spirit as well as a
heritage based on the sovereignty of Indian peoples. The Federal government
should guarantee tribal rights, tribal sovereignty, honor existing treaties
and Congressional acts, protect hunting, fishing, and whaling rights,
protect trust status, and permanently remove the threat of termination.
Congress should extend the Indian Education Act of 1972, maintain base
funding of education instead of replacing it with supplemental funding,
provide adequate care through the Indian Health Service, forbid the
systematic removal of children from their families and communities, and
assure full participation in all Federally funded programs.
Asian/Pacific American Women:
Asian/Pacific American Women are wrongly thought to be part of a "model
minority" with few problems. This obscures our vulnerability due to language
and culture barriers, sweatshop work conditions with high health hazards,
the particular problems of wives of U.S. servicemen, lack of access to
accreditation and licensing because of immigrant status, and to many
Deportation of mothers of American-born children must be stopped and
legislation enacted for parents to remain with their children; citizenship
provisions should be facilitated.
Legislation should be enacted to provide migrant farm working women with the
Federal minimum wage rate, collective bargaining rights, adequate housing,
and bilingual-bicultural social services delivery.
Classification of existing Hispanic American media as "Foreign Press" must
be stopped to ensure equal access to major national events.
Additionally, the Federal Communications Commission must provide equal
opportunity to Hispanic people for acquisition of media facilities (radio
and television), for training and hiring in order to provide
Spanish-language programming to this major group.
Puerto Rican Women:
Puerto Rican women emphasize that they are citizens of the United States and
wish to be recognized and treated as equals.
The President and Congress should provide for full quality education,
including special admission programs, and for the full implementation and
enforcement at all levels of education.
The President and Congress should immediately address the crisis of
unemployment which impacts the Black community and results in Black teenage
women having the highest rate of unemployment.
The Congress should establish a national program for the placement of
"children in need of parents," preferably in a family environment, where the
status of said children is affected by reason of racial or ethnic origin.
The President and Congress should assure Federally assisted housing to meet
the critical need of Black women, especially of low and moderate income,
should direct the vigorous enforcement of all fair housing laws, and provide
the allocation of resources necessary to accomplish this housing goal.
The President, Congress and all Federal agencies should utilize fully in all
deliberations and planning processes, the Black Women's Plan of Action which
clearly reflects and delineates other major concerns of Black women.
States should review and reform their sentencing laws and their practices to
eliminate discrimination that affects the treatment of women in penal facilities.
Particular attention should be paid to the needs of poor and minority women.
States should reform their practices, where needed, to provide legal
counseling and referral services; improved health services emphasizing
dignity in treatment for women in institutions; and protection of women prisoners
from sexual abuse by male and female inmates and by correctional personnel.
Corrections Boards must provide improved educational and vocational training
in a non-stereotyped range of skills that pay enough for an ex-offender to
support her family.
Law enforcement agencies, courts, and correctional programs must give special attention
to the needs of children with mothers under arrest, on trial, or in prison.
States must increase efforts to divert women offenders to community-based
treatment facilities such as residential and non-residential halfway houses,
work releases, or group homes as close to the offender's family as possible.
Disparities in the treatment of male and female juvenile offenders must be
eliminated; status offenses must be removed from jurisdiction of juvenile
courts; and States are urged to establish more youth bureaus, crisis centers
and diversion agencies to receive female juveniles detained for promiscuous
conduct, for running away, or because of family or school problems.
The Federal and State governments, public and private women's organizations
and social welfare groups should support efforts to provide social and
health services that will enable the older woman to live with dignity and
security. These services should include but not be limited to:
Innovative housing which creates as nearly as possible an
environment that affords security and comfort.
Home health and social services, including visiting nurse
services, homemaker services, meals-on-wheels and other protective
services that will offer older women alternatives to institutional care,
keeping them in familiar surroundings as long as possible.
Preventive as well as remedial health care services
Public transportation in both urban and rural areas for otherwise
Continuing education in order to insure that the older woman will
be an informed and intelligent user of the power which will be
hers by virtue of the increase of her numbers.
Immediate inclusion of geriatric education in the curriculum and
training of all medical personnel in order that the elderly will receive
optimum medical attention. This applies particularly to nursing home staff.
Bilingual and bicultural programs, including health services, recreation
and other programs to support elderly women of limited English-speaking ability.
Elimination of present inequities in social security benefits.
Recognition of the economic value of homemaking in social security benefits.
Passage of the Displaced Homemakers bill.
Expansion of coverage for medical and health care costs.
Older women should be included as active participants in all
kinds of policy-making positions at every level of government.
The image of the older woman is changing and there should be wide
publicity focused on this. The effective use of the media is
essential to furnishing information to the older woman so as to
insure her informed participation in the decision-making process
which continuously affects the quality of her life and the life of her community.
Mandatory retirement shall be phased out.
Federal, State and local governments should revise their criminal codes and
case law dealing with rape and related offenses to:
Provide for graduated degrees of the crime with graduated
penalties depending on the amount of force or coercion occurring
with the activity.
Apply to assault by or upon both sexes, including spouses as victims.
Include all types of sexual assault against adults, including
oral and anal contact and use of objects.
Enlarge beyond traditional common law concepts the circumstances
under which the act will be considered to have occurred without
the victim's consent.
Specify that the past sexual conduct of the victim cannot be
introduced into evidence.
Require no more corroborative evidence than is required in the
prosecution of any other type of violent assault.
Prohibit the Hale instruction* where it has been required by law
or is customary.
Local task forces to review and reform rape law and practices of police,
prosecutors, and medical personnel should be established where they do not
now exist. Such task forces should also mobilize public support for change.
Rape crisis centers should be established (with Federal and State funding)
for the support of victims and the confidentiality of their records should
be assured. Bilingual and bicultural information resources should be made
available where necessary.
Federal and State funds should be appropriated for educational programs in
the public school system and the community, including rape prevention and
The National Center for the Prevention and Control of Rape within the
National Institute of Mental Health should be given permanent funding for
operational costs, for staff positions, research and demonstration programs
and for a clearinghouse on sexual assault information and educational
material with regard to prevention, treatment of victims and rehabilitation
of offenders. In addition, rape centers should be consulted by NIMH in the
setting of priorities and allocation of funds. The National Center should be
continued in order to insure community involvement and the composition of
the committee should be reviewed to assure minority representation and a
majority of women.
State legislatures should expand existing victim compensation for the cost
of medical, surgical, and hospital expenses; evidentiary examinations;
counseling; emergency funds for housing, etc., and compensation for
pregnancy and pain and suffering.
*Some states require judges to instruct the jury as prescribed by a 17th
Century jurist, Lord Chief Justice Matthew Hale: "Rape is an accusation
easily to be made and hard to be proved, and harder to be defended by the
party accused, tho never so innocent."
We support the U.S. Supreme Court decisions which guarantee reproductive
freedom to women.
We urge all branches of Federal, State and local governments to give the
highest priority to complying with these Supreme Court decisions and to
making available all methods of family planning to women unable to take
advantage of private facilities.
We oppose the exclusion of abortion or childbirth and pregnancy-related care
from Federal, State or local funding of medical services or from privately
financed medical services.
We urge organizations concerned with improving the status of women to
monitor how government complies with these principles.
We oppose involuntary sterilization and urge strict compliance by all
doctors, medical and family planning facilities with the Dept. of Health,
Education & Welfare's minimum April 1974 regulations requiring that consent
to sterilization be truly voluntary, informed and competent. Spousal consent
should not be a requirement upon which sterilization procedures are contingent.
If the patient does not speak English, appropriate staff must be found to
explain the procedures and HEW regulations in the primary language of the patient.
Particular attention should be paid at all levels of government to providing
confidential family-planning services for teen-agers, education in
responsible sexuality, and reform of laws discriminating against unwed
parents and their children.
Programs in sex education should be provided in all schools, including
Federal, State and local governing bodies should take whatever steps are
necessary to remove existing barriers to family planning services for all
teen-agers who request them.
Each school system should assist teen-age parents with programs including
child care arrangements that will encourage them to remain in school,
provide educational and vocational training leading to economic
independence, and teach prenatal health and parenting skills.
The President and Congress should establish a Federal rural education policy
designed to meet the special problems of isolation, poverty and
underemployment that characterize much of rural America. Such a policy must
be consciously planned to overcome the inequality of opportunities available
to rural women and girls.
The Office of Management and Budget should set and enforce a policy that
data collected on beneficiaries of all Federal programs shall be reported by
sex, by minority status, and by urban/rural or metropolitan/
non-metropolitan areas, based on a standard definition.
Data on employment of women and public programs on behalf of working women
should include in their definitions farm wives and widows who perform the
many tasks essential to the farm operation.
A farm wife should have the same ownership rights as her spouse under State
inheritance and Federal estate laws. Tax law should recognize that the labor
of a farm wife gives her an equitable interest in the property.
The President should appoint a joint committee from the Departments of
Labor, Agriculture, and Justice to investigate the Louisiana sugar
plantations system's violations of human rights, especially of women. This
commission should also investigate conditions of other seasonal and
migratory workers in all States and Territories of the United States.
All programs developed on behalf of rural women should be certain to include
migrant, Black, Native American, Alaskan, Asian, and Hispanic women and all
isolated minorities, and affirmative action programs should be extended to
include all disenfranchised groups.
Congress, State, and local legislatures should enact legislation to
eliminate discrimination on the basis of sexual and affectional preference
in areas including, but not limited to, employment, housing, public accommodations,
credit, public facilities, government funding, and the military.
State legislatures should reform their penal codes or repeal State laws that
restrict private sexual behavior between consenting adults.
State legislatures should enact legislation that would prohibit
consideration of sexual or affectional orientation as a factor in any
judicial determination of child custody or visitation rights. Rather, child custody
cases should be evaluated solely on the merits of which party is the better parent,
without regard to that person's sexual and affectional orientation.
The Office of Management and Budget should require all departments and
agencies to collect, tabulate, and analyze data relating to persons on the
basis of sex in order to assess the impact of their programs all women.
The U.S. Census Bureau should aggressively pursue its efforts to reduce the
undercounts of minority Americans, including Blacks, Hispanic Americans,
Asian Americans, and American Indians. The Department of Health, Education,
and Welfare should continue its efforts to implement the usage of special
group identifiers in all vital statistics record-keeping. These statistics
should be recorded and reported by sex and subgroup.
Women, Welfare and Poverty
The Federal and State governments should assume a role in focusing on
welfare and poverty as major women's issues. All welfare reform proposals
should be examined specifically for their impact on women. Inequality of
opportunity for women must be recognized as a primary factor contributing to
the growth of welfare rolls.
Women in poverty, whether young or old, want to be part of the mainstream of
Poverty is a major barrier to equality for women. Millions of women who
depend on income transfer programs or low paying jobs for their basic life
support may be subject to the multiple oppression of sexism, racism, poverty
and they are often old or disabled.
Many other women, because of discriminatory employment practices, social
security laws, differential education of men and women, and lack of adequate
child care are just one step away from poverty. Consequently, the
elimination of poverty must be a priority of all those working for equal
rights for women.
Along with major improvements in the welfare system, elimination of poverty
for women must include improvements in social security and retirement
systems, universal minimum wage, non-traditional job opportunities, quality
child care, comprehensive health insurance, and comprehensive legal
services. A concerted effort must be made to educate the public about the
realities of welfare, the plight of the blind, the aged, the disabled,
single-parent families and other low income women.
We support increased Federal funding for income transfer programs (e.g.
Social Security, SSI, AFDC) Congress should approve a Federal floor under
payments to provide an adequate standard of living based on each State's
cost of living for all those in need. And, just as with other workers,
homemakers receiving income transfer payments should be afforded the dignity
of having that payment called a wage, not welfare.
We oppose the Carter Administration proposal for welfare reform (HR 9030),
which among other things eliminates food stamps, threatens to eliminate CETA
training and CETA jobs paying more than minimum wage, and does not guarantee
adequate day care, and we oppose proposals for "workfare" where welfare
mothers would be forced to "work off " their grants which is work without
wage, without fringe benefits or bargaining rights, and without dignity. HR
9030 further requires those individuals and families without income to wait
weeks or even months before even the inadequate grant is available.
We strongly support a welfare reform program developed from on-going
consultation with persons who will be impacted.
This program should 1) be consistent with the National Academy of Science
recommendation that no individual or family living standard should be lower
than half the median family income level for substantial periods (after
taxes) and this income should not fall below the government defined poverty
level of family income even for shorter periods; 2) help sustain the family
unit; and 3) insure that women on welfare and other low income women who
choose to work not be forced into jobs paying less than the prevailing wage.
In order to improve the status of women, the following actions should be taken:
a. To insure that welfare and other poor are not discriminated
against as an economic class, affirmative action guidelines should
be drawn up to provide that all employers who are recipients of
Federal and/or State contract monies be required to show that they
are hiring recipients.
b. There should be targeting of funds by local CETA advisory
boards for the placement and training of women in non-traditional
higher paying jobs, consistent with the original mandate
c. The Department of Labor should make a study, of jobs and wages
based on a standard of comparable worth, and speedily move the
implementation of that study in all government positions.
d. Unions should devote additional energy to the organization of
women to upgrade pay and working conditions for women in
Quality child care should be a mandated Title XX service, available to all
families on an ability to pa basis throughout training, education, job
search or employment.
Congress should encourage education of women by insuring that Federal and
other education grants do not reduce an individual's or family's eligibility
for public assistance in AFDC or any other program.
Comprehensive support services and social service must be provided and
Continuing Committee of the Conference
Whereas, Public Law 94-167 requires the establishment of a Committee of the
Conference which will take steps to provide for the convening of a Second
National Women's Conference to assess the progress made toward achieving the
recommendations of this 1977 conference; and
Whereas, such Committee would constitute an important mechanism to consider
steps to achieve the recommendations of this Conference.
It is hereby resolved that:
1. A Committee of the Conference be selected by the National Commission on
the Observance of International Women's Year after receiving recommendations
of individuals to serve on the Committee in writing on or before December
30, 1977*, from the delegates of this body following the Conference.
The Committee shall be composed of persons of diverse ages and racial,
ethnic, religious, economic, social, and geographic backgrounds.
2. This conference calls upon the President to issue an Executive Order
creating a Commission to carry out our recommendations.
3. The Committee of the Conference shall serve until such time as the
President appoints such a Commission.
4. This Conference calls upon the President and the Congress to authorize
and appropriate sufficient funds to enable these bodies to carry out this
*The Commission extended this date to January 15,1978.
Note: Delegates from Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam,
American Samoa, the Trust Territories and the District of Columbia
as well as delegates from 50 States participated in the National
Women's Conference and formulation of the National Plan of Action.
All Recommendations adopted by the National Women's Conference and
the National Commission on the Observance of IWY apply to
Territories as well as to States, wherever they are relevant.
A total of 76 publications were issued by the International Women's Year
(IWY) Commission. They are listed below and on the next page. They may be
ordered from the Superintendent of Documents; US Government Punting Office,
Washington, D.C 20402. Please include the Stock Number (S/N) and title for
each publication ordered and make your check or money order payable to the
Superintendent of Documents (Do not send cash or postage stamps.)
American Women, Today and Tomorrow. This publication analyzes a 1975
national survey of women, assessing their attitudes and opinions, recording
their current activities, looking at the pattern of their lives and
discussing their views of the future. 1977. 72 p. ii. S/N 052-003-00249-3
The Creative Woman. A study on the status of women employees in various
fields of the arts and humanities. Includes proposals for correcting what
the Commission felt were inequities in discrimination 1976. 54 p. S/N
National Plan of Action. Contains the plan adopted at the National Women's
Conference held in Houston, Texas, November 18-21, 1977. 32 p. S/N
Spanish edition of above. 1977. 36 pages. S/N 052-003-00614-6 $1.25
Spirit of Houston. Contains the final report of the National Women's
Conference to the President, the Congress, and the People of the United
States. 1978. 308 p. il. S/N 052-003-00505-1 $5.25
To Form a More Perfect Union, Justice for American Women. Contains the 1975
Report to the President by the National Commission on the Observance of
International Women's Year. The book discusses present realities in the
status of women, and cites obstacles they face in having positions of power.
1976. 382 p. S/N 040-000-00350-9 $5.20
The following 19 publications were designed to assist in setting up work
shops on a variety of topics covering women's rights. Typically, each Guide
contains a set of goals and some program suggestions that discuss what
others have done, a list of audiovisual aid, and a roster of either resource
persons or speakers.
Child Care. 1977. 89 p. S/N 052-003-00476-3 $1.25
Credit. 1977. 27 p. S/N 052-003-00485-2 $1.25
Education. 1977. 91 p. S/N 052-003-00477-1 $1.25
Employment. 1977. 60 p. il. S/N 052-003-00429-5 $1.25
Equal Rights Amendments. 1977. 21 p. S,N 052-003-00484-4 $1.25
Female Offenders. 1977. 123 p. S/N 052-003-00487-9 $1.25
Health. 1977. 85 p. S/N 052-003-00488-7 $1.25
Improving the Status of Women in the Arts and Humanities. 1977. 139 p. il.
S/N 052-003-00480-1 $1.2
Insurance. 1977. 41 p. S/N 052-003-00483-6 $1.25
International Interdependence. 1977. 56 p. S/N 052-003-00479-8 $1.25
Legal Status of Homemakers. 1977. 21 p. S/N 052-003-00492-5 $1.25
Media. 1977. 55 p. S/N 052-003-00491-7 $1.25
Older Women. 1977. 39 p. S/N 052-003-00490-9 $1.25
Rape. 1977. 64 p. S/N 052-003-00478-0 $1.25
Sexual Preference. 1977. 61 p. S/N 052-003-00493-3 $1.25
Strategies for Change. 1977. 19 p. S/N 052-003-00494-1 $1.25
Teenage Pregnancy. 1977. 55 p. ii. S/N 052-003-00482-8 $1.25
Wife Abuse. 1977. 23 p. S/N 052-003-00486-1 $1.25
Women in Elective and Appointive Office. 1977. 41 p. S/N 052-003-00481-0 $1.25
U.S. GOVERNMENT PRINTING OFFICE : 1978 0-278-526
NATIONAL COMMISSION ON THE
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S YEAR
(Appointed by President Carter)
Bella S. Abzug
New York, NY
Ruth 1. Abram, New York, NY
Maya Angelou, Sonoma, CA
Elizabeth Athanasakos, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Betty Blanton, Nashville, TN
Cecilia Preciado Burciaga, Palo Alto, CA
Liz Carpenter, Austin, TX
John Mack Carter, New York, NY
Sey Chassler, New York, NY
Ruth Clusen, Green Bay, Wl
Audrey Rowe Colom, Washington, DC
lane Culbreth, Leeds, AL
Harry T. Edwards, Ann Arbor, MI
Rita Elway, Seattle, WA
Beverly Everett, New Sharon, IA
Betty Ford, Palm Springs, CA
Bernice Frieder, Lakewood, OH
Martha Griffiths, Romeo, Mi
Dorothy Haener, Detroit, MI
Rhea Moiica Hammer, Chicago, IL
Lenore Hershey, New York, NY
Koryne Horbal, Minneapolis, MN
Mildred Jeffrey, Detroit, MI
Jeffalyn Johnson, Arlington, VA
Coretta Scott King, Atlanta, GA
Mary Anne Krupsak, Albany, NY
Margaret J. Mealey, Washington, DC
Jean O'Leary, New York, NY
Mildred E. Persinger, Iobbs Ferry, NY
Connie Plunkett, Carrollton, GA
Ersa Poston, Washington, DC
Claire Randall, New York, NY
Alice S. Rossi, Amherst, MA
Gloria Scott, Houston, TX
Eleanor Smeal, Pittsburgh, PA
Jean Stapleton, Los Angeles, CA
Gloria Steinem, New York, NY
Ethel Taylor, Bala-Cynwyd, PA
Carmen Delgado Votaw, Bethesda, MD
Gerridee Wheeler, Bismarck, ND
Addie Wyatt, Chicago, IL
Senator Birch Bayh, IN
Senator Charles Percy, IL
Congresswoman Margaret Heckler, MA
Congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman, NY