© 2019 by Will Count NOW Legal and Education Fund

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Founded in 1966 by a small but determined group of women’s rights activists, NOW has more than 500,000 contributing members and hundreds of chapters across the US. Our agenda focuses on the notion that “Human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights.” - Hillary Clinton

 

As a grassroots organization, Now chapters work within our communities to determine what local issues are most pressing. In Will County, many chapter members are either parents of college-age students or part of the education community. Working within NOW’s six focus agendas, our chapter is concerned that information on college safety is provided in a scattered, incongruous, and often inadequate form. In addition, rarely are parents included in the conversation, leaving them ill-prepared to assist their students should an assault occur. We have gathered a dynamic group of top experts in the fields of on-campus safety, consent, legal rights, and LGBTQ rights.

 

NOW’s equality agenda

  • eliminate discrimination and harassment in the workplace, schools, the justice system and other sectors of society

  • secure reproductive justice, abortion rights and access to birth control for all women

  • ensure full civil and human rights for lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people

  • end all forms of violence against women;

  • eradicate racism, sexism, and homophobia; and,

  • promote equality and justice in society.

 

 

Over the years, the focus of NOW has evolved with societal norms and challenges.

  • NOW began by working to change employment practices that discriminate against equal pay, equal opportunities, and equal protections for women.

  • NOW has been a staunch supporter of the Equal Rights Amendment and was critical in getting Illinois to be the 37th of 38 states needed to ratify the Amendment into the US Constitution in April of 2018.

  • NOW has worked tirelessly to ensure protections for rape survivors on college campuses through Title IX.

  • NOW President, Toni Van Pelt, has spoken with Department of Education officials regarding the dangers of pulling back these protections noting that the changes would tip the scales in favor of alleged perpetrators and lead to higher rates of sexual harassment and violence. We know that sexual violence affects one in five girls ages 14-18, one in five college women, one in ten college men and one in four transgender and gender non-conforming students. The proposed changes, if adopted, will expand the epidemic even further.

  • NOW advocates strongly against the issue of arming teachers

  • January 2019 WHEREAS, the current Supreme Court and Federal Courts are eroding protections of individual rights; BE IT RESOLVED, that NOW recommends and will help coordinate statewide efforts to enact protections similar to those of the Equality Act, that reads, “this bill amends the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity among the prohibited categories of discrimination or segregation in the areas of employment, housing, places of public accommodation, public education, federal funding, credit, and the jury system.”