2000 Annual Report

Thirty years ago a group of women made the remarkable decision to create a legal arm for the women’s movement. Their goals were wonderfully immodest, and intensely important. This new organiza- tion, NOW Legal Defense and Education Fund, armed with neither staff nor funding, would first and foremost “provide legal services to bring women into full participation in all activities of American life by securing for them their full legal rights under the Constitution.” They would also determine the facts about discrimination in facili- ties, services, privileges, rights and opportunities, of all kinds, which are denied, restricted or otherwise conditioned to anyone on the basis of race, color, sex, religion or national origin, and “combat any such discrimination by legal action.” Finally, they would provide legal counsel to “persons and groups whose civil rights and liberties are threatened or infringed or violated.” The founders’ dreams were nothing if not comprehensive!