Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Check out a NOW near you!

Do you know what your local NOW chapter is up to? I do! I am proud to report back from my first CvilleNOW meeting. Yes, it was great, and I am thrilled to associate myself with yet another group of intelligent, community-focused women.

In attendance were 8 women including myself and an equally motivated-for-change friend. Five of the remaining six women were at least 45 years old. I was the only one who brought a child (my 18 month old). The president said she came to her first meeting with her toddler too....about 20 years ago. They were all happy about the election and most seemed to have volunteered at the polls. They all appeared to be pro-choice but I loved how woman said "nobody is pro-abortion...nobody." They were living very full lives but seemed genuinely happy to carve out the one hour and 45 min meeting once a month to get together.

I did a lot of talking to introduce myself to this core group and I was so so relieved to see my audience nodding in understanding. I learned I was not the only one frustrated by what I see to be a misperception of feminism. The feminists I met tonight do not frown down upon women who leave the labor force, nor do they hate men. The word "humanist" came up. The environment was so supportive of informed decision making and we touched upon how the debate about one very important choice seems to prevent women from coming together on so many other very important choices we must make in our lives.

We also discussed:
  • the HPV vaccine lecture CvilleNOW recently sponsored
  • helping local women facing decisions about unplanned pregnancies
  • pro-choice day in Richmond
  • a possible local descrimination lawsuit
  • library displays about women in local history: one targeted to adults, one to children
  • interesting things that came to the PO Box
  • my professor for my Sex Differences class
  • the various women's groups on my radar and my desire to connect them
What could happen if 20- and 30-something women from all over our country start attending NOW meetings? With such a huge platform of issues, it seems you can make your chapter whatever you want it to be. Talk it up to your friends, I was so surprised how many of mine have been in touch with me since I said I was going to the meeting tonight.

If you are a woman looking to get involved in this country, NOW is a great place to start. Here is their official purpose:
NOW is the largest, most comprehensive feminist advocacy group in the United States. Our purpose is to take action to bring women into full participation in society — sharing equal rights, responsibilities and opportunities with men, while living free from discrimination.


Vijay Owens said...

I was really impressed by the attitude toward the huge amount of work that needs to be done. It was kind of like, "Please help, but don't take on more than you can handle" as opposed to just shoving work at people. These women had obviously already had very full days with work and family and were really digging deep to find the energy to keep this cause moving forward. They were very warm and welcoming to us newbies and really listened to what we had to say. I will definitely attend next month.

Constance said...

I am so glad to be part of the conversation you have posted here, Cynthia. I am encouraged and proud that you have found a place at NOW that provides a forum for the issues that are so important to women of all ages. Your three little boys are so very fortunate to have a mother who has such energy and motivation. I have no doubt that you will expose them to concepts that will make them informed and compassionate men.
I look forward to more installments of your blog!

Cynthia said...

From our CNOW President:
Correcting a detail. I went to CNOW meetings before the birth of my children; but they came to many CNOW meetings and events. We had a bunch of children attending for a number of years and had a member with them in the next room and the children came and went as they wanted to be with their parent.

Thanks for the correction!