DC CHAPTER OF THE NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN
The DC Chapter of the National Organization for Women was established in 1976 and works to protect the equal rights of all women and girls in all aspects of social, political, and economic life in the District of Columbia. As the grassroots arm of the women’s movement, the National Organization for Women (NOW) is dedicated to its multi-issue and multi-strategy approach to women’s rights, and is the largest organization of feminist grassroots activists in the United States. NOW has hundreds of chapters and hundreds of thousands of members and activists in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Since our founding in 1966, NOW’s purpose is to take action through intersectional grassroots activism to promote feminist ideals, lead societal change, eliminate discrimination, and achieve and protect the equal rights of all women and girls in all aspects of social, political, and economic life.
All are welcome to join these events!
February Chapter Meeting
Thursday, February 9th from 6:30pm-8:00pm
Teaism Penn Quarter (400 8th Street NW), lower level
Join fellow feminists to learn about DC feminist happenings, chat, and be part of the movement. We meet the 2nd Thursday of every month.
We will be discussing our legislative agenda, open officer positions, ideas for the new year, and book club updates.
Movie Screening for "I am a girl"
Wednesday, March 8th from 7:30-9:30PM
Angelika Film Center & Cafe at Mosaic
2911 District Ave, Fairfax, VA, 20707
I AM A GIRL is an inspirational feature length documentary that paints a clear picture of the reality of what it means to be a girl in the 21st century. Feminism may have promised equality and sought a better and fairer world for women but the reality is that girls make up almost a quarter of the world’s population yet still face the greatest discrimination of any group in the world. Technology and science offer unimaginable potential but we still struggle to ensure men and women are afforded equal opportunities. Yet in spite of these obstacles, girls have found extraordinary ways to persevere and in our documentary we hear their stories of strength, hope, courage and a refusal to be second best.
Tickets and more information can be found here.
Moving and shaking policy in DC.
One Fair Wage
Help DC workers get one fair wage for all
For too long, the tipped minimum wage in D.C. has been an abysmal $2.77 an hour — just a few cents more than the federal tipped minimum wage which has been frozen at $2.13 an hour since 1991. As a result, tipped workers in D.C. — the majority of whom are people of color — live in poverty at nearly 1.5 the rate of the general workforce. In fact, the lowest paying jobs in D.C. — and across the country — are tipped jobs, meaning that the people who serve, prepare, and cook food for millions of restaurant goers often struggle to put food on their own tables. Advocates all over DC are organizing to ensure $15 for ALL workers is on the ballot in November.
Include girls of color in the DC initiative
Don't leave girls behind!
DC was awarded funds for their empowering men of color initiative (EMOC). The funds are applied to, exclusively, educational programs for boys. DC NOW applauds the efforts to address racial disparities among school children in DC, but we insist girls of color are included in these initiatives. We cannot leave our girls behind when addressing racial disparities. A boys-only high school is being planned in Ward 7 and a $5M mentorship grant was offered as a part of the EMOC initiative. We should strive to empower all children of color and not ignore the racism compounded with gender inequality that girls of color experience.
Last year, DC NOW, along with NOW, The National Congress of Black Women, and The Feminist Majority Foundation submitted a letter to Chairman Mendelson urging revisions which would include girls of color in their plans. Over 40 women's rights and educational organizations joined to submit oral and written testimony. The changes have not occurred. As the budget comes up for discussion, we need to fight for girls of color in the District.
Pass a real equal pay law in DC!
Equal pay for equal work has been the law of land for over 50 years and yet pay discrimination still persists.
We are working to improve DC's to end the gender and race pay gap in DC once and for all! DC law needs a few changes to make pay equity a reality. We are working with the DC Council and building a coalition to make it a reality.
WE KICK BUTT
Our most recent policy victories in DC.
The Universal Paid Leave Amendment Act Passed!
Now no one has to choose between to care for their families needs and the paycheck they depend on
New parents need time to recover from birth or adoption and bond with
their babies. We all need time to care for aging parents and relatives.
And if, g-d forbid, your partner or your sister gets sick you've earned the time to give your care and get better. When our families need us, we need to be there—without worrying about the bills, or whether we'll have a job later. Now DC residents will have the option to get 8 weeks off for having a baby, 6 weeks to take care of a sick, loved one, and 2 weeks for their own medical leave. Paid family and medical leave insurance ensures that working people and families have the financial stability they need when life happens. Look more about this historic win here.
We won reform of how MPD handles sexual assault cases!
Read the report by Human Rights Watch.
Human Rights Watch revealed in a report what advocates in DC suspected: that MPD was not handling all cases of sexual assault properly. The report reveals that 170 reported cases were not documented by police and many victims were treated insensitively. DC NOW worked with CM Tommy Wells, who chairs the Council's Committee on the Judiciary that oversees MPD, to ensure that these problems are remedied. In April, the DC Council passed the Sexual Assault Victims Rights Amendment Act of 2013. It requires real reform of how MPD handles sexual assault cases and survivors.
We got a law passed to end workplace pregnancy discrimination in DC!
We got the DC Council to pass the Protecting Pregnant Workers Fairness Act of 2014!
The Washington City Paper reported that a Chipotle worker in DC was pushed out of her job because she was pregnant and therefore needed a few extra bathroom breaks and the opportunity to drink extra water. DC NOW sprang into action calling on the DC Council to require employers to make reasonable accommodations for pregnant or breastfeeding employees. This law passed the DC Council in September 2014!
The Access to Contraceptives Amendment Act Passed!
Providing women with a 12-month supply of contraception at a time reduces the unintended pregnancy rate by 46%.
Thank you to the council for passing the Access to Contraceptives Amendment Act by a vote of 13-0. DC Council Chair Phil Mendelson and Councilmembers David Grosso, Brianne Nadeau, Kenyan McDuffie, Elissa Silverman, Jack Evans, Charles Allen, Mary Cheh, and Yvette Alexander introduced this legislation at DC NOW's urging on January 6, 2015. This bill reduces unintended pregnancy by providing better access to contraceptives, requiring that health insurance plans and Medicaid provide a 12-month supply at one time rather than only 1- or 3-month supplies. A study showed that when women are provided a 12-month supply of contraception, the unintended pregnancy rate goes down by 30%. We deserve the right to better access to contraceptives.
DC COUNCIL ELECTIONS
Our endorsements are based on the candidates answers to our candidate questionnaire and their record of service inside or outside of government.
Candidate - Ward 7
DC NOW is proud to endorse Vincent Gray for the Ward 7 Council seat. Gray has served as the Ward 7 Councilmember, Chair of the Council, and Mayor. Gray knows how to get things done in the District. His candidate questionnaire indicated support for all of our issues, including Councilmember Mary Cheh's Equal Pay Amendment Act and the Universal Paid Leave Act. In an interview with Gray, he promised to champion including girls of color in the Empowering Males of Color program on an equal basis. Ward 7 needs a strong champion and we believe Councilmember Gray will be that champion.
Candidate - At-Large
DC NOW is proud to have been one of the first organizations to endorse Councilmember David Grosso when he first challenged Michael Brown for his At-Large Council seat. We are endorsing him again this year because Councilmember Grosso believes strongly in equality and in transforming DC to improve the opportunities for all residents to fulfill their potential. As Chair of the Committee on Education, he has worked to solve the underlying problems that lead to poor educational outcomes in our city. DC NOW is committed to work with Councilmember Grosso on the one issue on which we do not see eye to eye, which is the degree to which girls of color should be included in the $20 million Empowering Males of Color program at our public schools. DC NOW believes that programs at our public schools should be equally available to girls of color and boys of color. Councilmember Grosso is committed to ensuring that girls of color are invested in at our public schools as well and we are hopeful that true equality will be achieved in the end.
Candidate - Ward 2
DC NOW is proud to endorse Councilmember Jack Evans for the Ward 2 Council seat, who indicated support for our core issues in our candidate questionnaire. He pledged his support for the Councilmember Mary Cheh's Equal Pay Amendment Act to strengthen DC law as it relates to pay discrimination, the Universal Paid Leave Act which guarantees paid family and medical leave to District workers, and investing equally in boys and girls of color in our schools. This is our first endorsement of Councilmember Evans and we look forward to working with him on the Council.
In previous elections, we endorsed the following candidates:
LaRuby May for DC Council Ward 8
Brandon Todd for DC Council Ward 4
Muriel Bowser for Mayor
Phil Mendelson for DC Council Chair
Lateefah Williams for Attorney General
Elissa Silverman for DC Council At Large
Anita Bonds for DC Council At Large
David Grosso for DC Council At Large
Brianne Nadeau for DC Council Ward 1
Mary Cheh for DC Council Ward 3
Kenyan McDuffie for DC Council Ward 5
Charles Allen for DC Council Ward 6
Yes on Initiative 71 to decriminalize marijuana
What can you do?
6 Things Men Can Do to STOP Street Harassment
1. KNOW WHAT IT IS
Street harassment is unwanted and unwelcome public attention, most often directed at women, girls, and LGBTQ people. It is not a compliment to comment on a stranger's appearance, or to otherwise give people unwanted attention.
2. BE A MALE ALLY
Don't walk on by when you see street harassment happen. You can help play an important role in addressing and stopping street harassment.
3. LEAD BY EXAMPLE
Question your own language, attitudes, and behaviors and how they may disrespect women, girls, and the LGBTQ community.
4. BE A ROLE MODEL
Talk to your family, friends, and coworkers and the young people around you about treating women, girls, and the LGBTQ community with respect.
5. CHALLENGE LANGUAGE & BEHAVIOR
Demeaning and offensive jokes, comments, and behavior can be challenged. Don't participate or laugh along. Hold other men accountable.
6. ACT ACCORDINGLY
Assess the risk, and challenges the behavior in a way that will defuse the situation safely. If you need to, ask for help. Check with the victim and offer support. Tell her you don't support what happened. Ask her if she is okay. Tell her that men don't have the right to treat women that way.
FIGHTING PRICE DISCRIMINATION
Price discrimination means charging different prices for the same essential products or services to different people, based on sex, race, sexual orientation or other irrelevant reasons. Price discrimination is illegal in DC, but many businesses ignore this and thus women are charged more for hair cuts, gym memberships, drug store products, dry cleaning, car services, and much more. Help DC NOW identify instances of price discrimination and we'll work with the DC Office of Human Rights to put it to a stop!
DC NOW BOOK CLUB
All are welcome to join our book club, suggest books, and take turns hosting!
DC NOW Book Club. Join us!
One meeting each month, 6 books a year, great conversation.
February time and location TBD | Jessica Bennett's Feminist Fight Club: An Office Survival Manual for a Sexist Workplace
To join the DC NOW book club, sign up here. Meetings are typically the first Sunday or first Thursday of the month.
In previous years, we have read The Unfinished Revoution by Kathleen Gerson, The Left Hand of Darkness by Ursula Le Guin, Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert, Bringing Up Bebe by Pamela Druckerman, Half the Sky by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, Vagina by Naomi Wolf, Colonize This by Daisy Hernandez, Revolution From Within by Gloria Steinem, To the Lighthouse by Virginia Woolf, Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein, The Women's Room by Marilyn French, This Common Secret by Susan Wicklund, and The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath, How to be a Woman by Caitlan Moran.
BECOME A MEMBER
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WHO WE ARE
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DC NOW is successful because of our members! Our members decide our agenda and how we move our policy agenda forward. Not a member? Click the JOIN tab above.
Monica Weeks has previously advocated for organizations that work on domestic and sexual violence issues, immigration reform, and has directed and participated in several productions of The Vagina Monologues. Monica is the Business Owner of MSW Photography & Design, LLC where she serves as the principal photographer and design consultant. Before deciding to pursue her passion of photography and interior design, she was the Grants and Finance Coordinator for the Global Energy Program and Global Business Center at the World Resources Institute. She attended Florida International University where she completed her Masters degree in Latin American and Caribbean Studies and Women's Studies. She received the Tinker Field Research Grant to travel to Nicaragua for her thesis on the effectiveness of NGOs and their impact on the status of women in Nicaragua. Monica was appointed to the SheDC task force for the Mayor's Office on Women's Policy and Initiatives (MOWPI) and is a proud member of the Women's Information Network (WIN). She has been featured on Voice of America's Noticias and International Edition, ImpactoNY, the New York Times, and Marie Claire. She was previously the Membership Director of DC NOW and hopes to continue to mobilize more women of color to join DC NOW.
Amanda earned a BA in English with a minor in psychology from the College of William and Mary in Virginia. After teaching English in France for three years, she moved to DC in 2014 where she has since worked in program management and medical guideline development at a women's healthcare organization. She is currently pursuing a Masters degree in public health at George Washington University.
Erin has been a DC NOW member since 2008 and has served previously as treasurer and Chapter Coordinator. She moved to DC in 2004 after completing her MA in International Studies and Diplomacy from the School of Oriental and African Studies of the University of London. She works in the Middle East and North Africa department of an international labor rights organization and is a proud member of the Office and Professional Employees International Union (OPEIU) local 2 and the Industrial Workers of the World.
Elizabeth has been a member of DC NOW since she moved to DC in 2015. She earned a BA in History and Anthropology from Syracuse University in 2012 and a MA in Museum Studies from University College of London in 2013. She is a passionate advocate for women's education and reproductive rights. She currently works for the Smithsonian in education and visitor services.
We can only do our work - promoting the equality of women and girls in DC - with donations from people like you.