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National Organization for Women. Johnson County-Iowa City Chapter


The Johnson County-Iowa City National Organizationfor Women chapter organized in Iowa City on May 3, 1978. It became an addition to several already existing Iowa state NOW chapters. There were chapters in Davenport, Des Moines, and Waterloo and by 1980, there were over 1,100 members state-wide.

NOW's raison d'etre was to ensure that women in Johnson County could fully participate in society without fear, without capricious encumbrances, and without malicious retributions. NOW sought equal educational, financial, and social opportunities for women. Therefore, women deserved the right, NOW argued, to work in any field that their education qualified them, to be financially independent, and to be spouses, partners, based on their preference not society's.

In its rather short tenure, the Johnson County-IowaCity NOW became involved with a couple of events of major nationalsignificance. The first was its 1980 work to obtain voter approval of the Iowa state equal rightsamendment and the national ratification of ERA. The Johnson County-Iowa CityNOW held runs in 1978, 1979, and 1980 to raise monies and public awareness forthe national NOW's ERA efforts. Another important matter was the Linda Eatonsexual discrimination case. In February 1979, Ms. Eaton, then a firefighter forIowa City, wassuspended twice without pay because of alleged insubordination. Her offense wasthat she refused to discontinue breastfeeding her son during her work breaks.In response, Ms. Eaton filed a sex discrimination complaint against Iowa City before the IowaCivil Rights Commission. On March 20, 1980, the Commission ruled unanimously inMs. Eaton's favor, awarding her compensatory damages, back pay, and attorney'sfees. And although she lost her subsequent civil suit against several city administrators, Ms. Eaton's case became a cause celebre.

Found in 2 Collections and/or Records:

National Organization for Women, Ames Chapter records

Identifier: IWA0658
Abstract Includes ERA campaign material.
Dates: 1973-1986

National Organization for Women, Johnson County-Iowa City Chapter records

Identifier: IWA0017
Abstract Feminist activist organization records.
Dates: 1977-1997