Should You Believe The National Organization For Women (NOW)? NOW Chapters

Equality between men and women will follow equality between:
white women and women of color,
upper class women, middle class women, and lower class women,
feminist women and non-feminist women,
feminist leaders and feminist followers.

Update: Since I wrote this blog post, NOW has removed chapter information from its website and done some rewriting. You no longer have the ability to see which chapters are active or how active they are. NOW leaders prefer keeping secrets. Just look at the “NOW Leaders” page for proof. Reread the above statement about equality. NOW is nowhere near creating equality between women and men. (NOW has removed the NOW Leaders page. This only means they are no longer announcing that NOW leaders keep secrets. NOW leaders still keep secrets. They keep their “activist” training secret from the women who pay for the training.)


In 2008, I started paying attention to the website for the National Organization for Women (NOW). For all of those years, NOW has made this sort of claim on the About page of its website.

NOW has hundreds of chapters and hundreds of thousands of
members and activists in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

After a few years, I started checking those claims. Never once did I find chapters in all 50 states. I always found “Sorry, no chapters found” for several states. Other states listed the name of a chapter, but the chapters had no website or social media.

Also, when I first started paying attention, NOW claimed to have more than 500,000 members. After I started writing blog posts about feminist leaders, that number changed. You’ll note that NOW currently claims, “hundreds of thousands of members and activists”. Note that being a member apparently does not make one an activist.

At the end of February 2017, I did detailed research into NOW chapters for every single state. This is my research on NOW Chapters. As of my detailed research, NOW still did not have chapters in all 50 states. Of the “hundreds of chapters”, only 132 were active. Since the total number of chapters was 228, fewer than 60 percent of all chapters were active.

When I posted the PDF files to each active NOW chapter, several of them reported me to Facebook for spam. Facebook banned me from making comments anywhere. I contacted Facebook and explained that I was informing an activist organization about effective strategies for change. Facebook lifted the ban within hours. Heaven forbid that NOW chapters be as effective as Srdja Popovic, a leader of the student movement that helped topple Serbian president Slobodan Milošević.

I can give you my perspective on why NOW chapters are inactive. I spent one year as a member of a no longer existing chapter. Booooorrrrring. Lots of sitting around listening to the local president read information from the national organization. I remember being one of three people at many meetings. That was decades ago, but if more than 40% of NOW chapters are currently inactive, being a NOW member is still not an exhilarating experience.

As I publish this post, NOW still has states with “Sorry, no chapters found”.

Should you believe what NOW claims about its chapters? You decide.


Paula M. Kramer
Copyright 2015
All rights reserved.

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As an American, I have freedom of speech.

As a woman, I have the right to express my opinion about anything the National Organization for Women claims to do for women.

In 2016, I started adding the section below to all of my new Feminist Leader blog posts. I also added it to all posts published before 2016.

The National Organization For Women
Silences Women

National NOW has blocked me on its Facebook page. I wrote comments based on my blog posts. All of my blog posts are based on a wide variety of evidence. Much of the evidence comes from National NOW’s website, emails and posts from NOW presidents, and emails from NOW staff members. I use no hostile language, no slurs, no profanity. I do use the phrase “glory addicts” in reference to NOW leaders. I also use “glory addiction”, “glory fixes”, and “a dedicated network of glory addicts”. Dr. Marsha Vanderford (Doyle) identified the glory needs of pro-choice leaders in her 1982 dissertation.

Feminist leaders have been silencing women for decades. bell hooks, Gloria Steinem, Urvashi Vaid, and Naomi Wolf got together for a conversation that was published in Ms. Magazine in 1993. The discussion included why women choose not ta call themselves feminists. Did these four feminist leaders working for women’s equality ask women who choose not to call themselves feminist to speak for themselves? Of course not! The four feminist leaders silenced millions of women by speaking for them without first requesting permission to speak for them.

Imagine a group of women who choose not to call themselves feminists getting together for a conversation to be published in a magazine about why some women call themselves feminists. Would hooks, Steinem, Vaid, Wolf, or Ms. Magazine agree with nonfeminist women denying them the opportunity to speak for themselves? Of course not! Would hooks, Steinem, Vaid, Wolf, or Ms. Magazine agree that nonfeminist women had the right to speak for feminist women without their permission? Of course not!

My feminist leader blog posts provide evidence that feminist leaders still create glory for themselves while relegating supporters to “secondary importance”. Dr. Vanderford used the words “relegated” and “secondary importance” in her dissertation. Eoin Harnett of University College Cork in Ireland used the same “secondary importance” phrase:

“Throughout the ages, women were frequently characterised
and treated as inferior and of secondary importance to men.”

NOW leaders even relegated two of their supporters to secondary importance. The supporters responded to my last two comments on National NOW’s Facebook page with comments supporting NOW. NOW leaders silenced those supporters by removing their comments along with my comments. Instead of creating equality, NOW leaders treat other women the same way patriarchal men treat women:

NOW leaders silenced at least three women on Facebook while posting claims to be creating equality for women. Secondary importance is the opposite of equality, as women throughout the ages could testify.

In-House Rhetoric of Pro-Life and Pro-Choice Special Interest Groups in Minnesota: Motivation and Alienation
Dissertation, University of Minnesota, 1982
Marsha Vanderford Doyle, Ph.D.
(Now Marsha Vanderford)
Quoted words on page 350.

“Let’s Get Real about Feminism: The Backlash, the Myths, the Movement.”
hooks, bell, Gloria Steinem, Urvashi Vaid, and Naomi Wolf.
Ms. Magazine.
Vol 4(2) September/October 1993: pages 34-43.

“Multitext Project in Irish History: Movements for Political & Social Reform, 1870-1914”
Eoin Hartnett
University College Cork, Ireland
No date
This project is no longer available online.

Updated April 30, 2017.