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U.S. Department of State

White House

The President's Interagency Council on Women

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National Plan of Action
Texas 1977


Declaration of American Women

We are here to move history forward.

We are women from every State and Territory in the Nation.

We are women of different ages, beliefs and lifestyles.

We are women of many economic, social, political, racial, ethnic, cultural, educational and religious backgrounds.

We are married, single, widowed and divorced.

We are mothers and daughters.

We are sisters.

We speak in varied accents and languages but we share the common language and experience of American women who throughout our Nation's life have been denied the opportunities, rights, privileges and responsibilities accorded to men.

For the first time in the more than 200 years of our democracy, we are gathered in a National Women's Conference, charged under Federal law to assess the status of women in our country, to measure the progress we have made, to identify the barriers that prevent us from participating fully and equally in all aspects of national life, and to make recommendations to the President and to the Congress for means by which such barriers can be removed.

We recognize the positive changes that have occurred in the lives of women since the founding of our nation. In more than a century of struggle from Seneca Falls 1848 to Houston 1977, we have progressed from being non-persons and slaves whose work and achievements were unrecognized, whose needs were ignored, and whose rights were suppressed to being citizens with freedoms and aspirations of which our ancestors could only dream.

We can vote and own property. We work in the home, in our communities and in every occupation. We are 40 percent of the labor force. We are in the arts, sciences, professions and politics. We raise children, govern States, head businesses and institutions, climb mountains, explore the ocean depths and reach toward the moon.

Our lives no longer end with the childbearing years. Our lifespan has increased to more than 75 years. We have become a majority of the population, 51.3 percent, and by the 21st Century, we shall be an even larger majority.

But despite some gains made in the past 200 years, our dream of equality is still withheld from us and millions of women still face a daily reality of discrimination, limited opportunities and economic hardship.

Man-made barriers, laws, social customs and prejudices continue to keep a majority of women in an inferior position without full control of our lives and bodies.

From infancy throughout life, in personal and public relationships, in the family, in the schools, in every occupation and profession, too often we find our individuality, our capabilities, our earning powers diminished by discriminatory practices and outmoded ideas of what a woman is, what a woman can do, and what a woman must be.

Increasingly, we are victims of crimes of violence in a culture that degrades us as sex objects and promotes pornography for profit.

We are poorer than men. And those of us who are minority women - Blacks, Hispanic American, Native American and Asian Americans - must overcome the double burden of discrimination based on race and sex.

We lack effective political and economic power. We have only minor and insignificant roles in making, interpreting and enforcing our laws, in running our political parties, businesses, unions, schools and institutions, in directing the media, in governing our country, in deciding issues of war or peace.

We do not seek special privileges, but we demand as a human right a full voice and role for women in determining the destiny of our world, our national, our families and our individual lives.

We seek these rights for all women, whether or not they choose as individuals to use them.

We are part of a worldwide movement of women who believe that only by bringing women into full partnership with men and respecting our rights as half the human race can we hope to achieve a world, our nation the whole human race - men, women and children - can live in peace and security.

Based on the views of women who have met in every State and Territory in the past year, the National Plan of Action is presented to the President and the Congress as our recommendations for implementing Public Law 94-167.

We are entitled to and expect serious attention to our proposals.

We demand immediate and continuing action on our National Plan by Federal, State, public and private institutions so that by 1985, the end of the international Decade for Women proclaimed by the United Nations, everything possible under the law will have been done to provide American women with full equality.

The rest will be up to the hearts, minds and moral consciences of men and women and what they do to make our society truly democratic and open to all.

We pledge ourselves with all the strength of our dedication to this struggle "to form a more perfect Union.

Arts and Humanities

The President should take steps to require that women:

Are assured equal opportunities for appointment to managerial and upper level posts in Federally-funded cultural institutions, such as libraries, museums, universities and public radio and TV.

Are more equitably represented on grant-awarding boards, commissions and panels.

Benefit more fairly from government grants, whether as individual grant applicants or as members of cultural institutions receiving Federal or State funding.

Judging agencies and review boards should use blind judging for musicians, including singers, in appraising them for employment, awards, and fellowships as well as for all articles and papers being considered for publication or delivery and for all exhibits and grant applications, wherever possible.

Battered Women

The President and Congress should declare the elimination of violence in the home to be a national goal. To help achieve this, Congress should establish a national clearinghouse for information and technical and financial assistance to locally controlled public and private nonprofit organizations providing emergency shelter and other support services for battered women and their children. The clearinghouse should also conduct a continuing mass media campaign to educate the public about the problem of violence and the available remedies and resources.

Local and State governments, law enforcement agencies and social welfare agencies should provide training programs on the problem of wife battering, crisis intervention techniques, and the need for prompt and effective enforcement of laws that protect the rights of battered women.

State legislatures should enact laws to expand legal protection and provide funds for shelters for battered women and their children remove interspousal tort immunity in older to permit assaulted spouses to sue their assailants for civil damages; and provide full legal services for victims of abuse.

Programs for battered women should be sensitive to the bilingual and multicultural needs of ethnic and minority women.


The President should issue an Executive Order establishing as national policy:

The full integration of women entrepreneurs in government-wide business-related and procurement activities, including a directive to all government agencies to assess the impact of these activities on women business owners.

The development of outreach and action programs to bring about the full integration of women entrepreneurs into business-related government activities and procurement.

The development of evaluation and monitoring programs to assess progress periodically and to develop new programs.

The President should amend Executive Order 11625 of October 13, 1971 to add women to its coverage and to programs administered by the Office of Minority Business Enterprise.

The President should direct the Small Business Administration (SBA) to add women to the definition of socially or economically disadvantaged groups as published in the Code of Federal Regulations and take all steps necessary to include women in all the services and activities of the SBA. These steps should include community education projects to encourage women to participate in SBA programs, particularly minority women, including Blacks, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans and Native Americans.

The President should direct all contracting agencies to increase the percentage of the annual dollar amount of procurement contracts awarded to women-owned businesses and to maintain records by sex and race or ethnicity for monitoring and evaluation.

The President should direct the General Services Administration to amend, so as to include women, the Federal Procurement Regulations requiring that all firms holding government contracts exceeding $5,000 insure that "minority business enterprises have the maximum practicable opportunity, to participate in tile performance of Government contracts."

The President should direct the Department of Labor, Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs to assure that compliance officers monitor the awards of subcontracts in order to assure that women-owned businesses are equitably treated.

Child Abuse

The President and Congress should provide continued funding and support for the prevention and treatment of abused children and their parents under the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act of 1974.

States should set up child abuse prevention, reporting, counseling and intervention programs or strengthen such programs as they already have. Child abuse is defined, for this purpose, as pornographic exploitation of children, sexual abuse, battering, and neglect.

Programs should:

Child Care

The Federal government should assume a major role in directing and providing comprehensive, voluntary, flexible hour, bias-free, non-sexist, quality child care and developmental programs, including child care facilities for Federal employees, and should request and support adequate legislation and funding for these programs.

Federally funded child care and developmental programs should have low-cost, ability-to-pay fee schedules that make these services accessible to all who need them, regardless of income, and should provide for parent participation in their operation.

Legislation should make special provision for child care facilities for rural and migrant worker families.

Labor and management should be encouraged to negotiate child care programs in their collective bargaining agreements.

Education for parenthood programs should be improved and expanded by local and State school boards, with technical assistance and experimental programs provided by the Federal government.

City, county and/or State networks should be established to provide parents with hotline consumer in formation on child care, referrals, and follow-up evaluations of all listed care givers.


The Federal Equal Credit Opportunity Act of 1974 should be vigorously, efficiently and expeditiously enforced by all the Federal agencies with enforcement responsibility.

The Federal Reserve Board should conduct a nationwide educational campaign to inform women of their rights under the law.

Disabled Women

The President, Congress, and State and local governments should rigorously enforce all current legislation that affects the lives of disabled women.

The President, Congress, and Administration should expeditiously implement the recommendations of the White House Conference on Handicapped Individuals and develop comprehensive programs for that purpose.

Disabled women should have access to education, training and employment based on their needs and interests rather than on the preconceived notions of others.

The Federal government should enact legislation which will provide higher income levels so that disabled women can afford to live independently and at a decent standard of living. The disabled woman must have the right to determine for herself whether she will live in or out of an institutional setting. Funds and services should be available to make independent living a reality.

Congress should appropriate sufficient funds to ensure the development of service programs controlled by disabled people.

Disabled women should have the right to have and keep their children and have equal rights to adoption and foster care.

Congress should mandate health training and research programs focused on the health needs of the disabled.

Information developed by disabled women should be disseminated to medical professionals and women so that all women can make decisions about children based on knowledge rather than fear.

National health care legislation must provide for the unique requirements of disabled women without reference to income.

Congress should enact legislation to remove all work disincentives for all disabled individuals who wish paid employment.

The President and Congress should work closely with disabled individuals in the development of the welfare reform act and all other legislation concerning disabled persons.

Medicaid and Medicare should cover all the medical services and supplies that are needed by disabled women

The President and Congress should encourage all States to utilize Title XX funds for the provision of attendant care and other such services for disabled women.

The President and Congress should enact legislation to include disabled women under the 1964 Civil Rights Act and afford them judicial remedy.

The President and Congress and International Women's Year must recognize the additional discrimination disabled women face when they are members of racial, ethnic and sexual minority groups and appropriate steps must be taken to protect their rights.

In the passage of the National Plan of Action, the word "woman" should be defined as including all women with disabilities. The term "bilingual" should be defined as including sign language and interpreter for the deaf. The term "barriers" against women and "access" should be defined as including architectural barriers and communication barriers.

Congress and the President should support U.S. participation in and funding for the International Year of the Handicapped as proclaimed by the United Nations for 1981.


The President should direct the vigorous and expeditious enforcement of all laws prohibiting discrimination at all levels of education and oppose any amendments or revisions that would weaken these laws and regulations.

Enforcement should apply to elementary, primary, secondary, post-secondary, graduate, vocational and technical schools, including sports and other programs and granting of scholarships and fellowships.

Federal surveys of elementary and secondary schools should gather data needed to indicate compliance with Federal anti-discrimination laws, and these data should be collected by sex as well as race or ethnicity. The Civil Rights Commission should conduct a study to evaluate the enforcement of laws prohibition, sex discrimination in physical education and athletics, and to consider the usefulness and feasibility of per capita expenditure in physical education and athletics as a measure of equal opportunity.

Leadership programs for working women in postsecondary schools should be upgraded and expanded, and private foundations are urged to give special attention to research on women in unions.

Bilingual vocational training, educational and cultural programs should be extended and significantly expanded, with particular attention to the needs of Hispanic Americans, Native Americans, Asian Americans and other minority women.

State school systems should move against sex and race stereotyping through appropriate action, including:

Elective and Appointive Office

The President, Governors, political parties, women's organizations and foundations should join in an effort to increase the number of women in office, including judgeships and Policy-making Positions, and women should seek elective and appointive office in larger numbers than at present on the Federal, State and local level.

The President and, where applicable, Governors should significantly increase the numbers of women appointed as judges, particularly to appellate courts and supreme courts.

Governors should set as a goal for 1980 a significant increase and, by 1985, equal membership of men and women serving on all State boards and commissions. Concerted efforts should be directed toward appointing women to the majority of State boards and commissions which have no women members.

Political parties should encourage and recruit women to run for office and adopt written plans to assure equal representation of women in all party activities, from the precinct to the national level, with special emphasis on equal representation on the delegations to all party conventions.

The national parties should create affirmative action offices for women. Women's caucuses and other women's organizations within the party should participate in the selection of its personnel and in the design of its program, which should include greatly improved financial assistance for female delegates and candidates.


The President and Congress should support a policy of full employment so that all women who are able and willing to work may do so.

The President should direct the vigorous and expeditious enforcement of all laws, executive orders and regulations prohibiting discrimination in employment, including discrimination in apprenticeship and construction.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission should receive the necessary funding and staff to process complaints and to carry out its duties speedily and effectively.

All enforcement agencies should follow the guide-lines of the EEOC, which should be expanded to cover discrimination in job evaluation systems. These systems should be examined with the aim of eliminating biases that attach a low wage rate to "traditional" women's jobs. Federal legislation to provide equal pay for work of equal value should be enacted.

Congress should repeal the last sentence of Sec. 703(h) of Title VII, Civil Rights Act (1964) which limits enforcement of that law by incorporating the more restrictive standards of the Equal Pay Act.

As the largest single employer of women in the nation, the President should require all Federal agencies to establish goals and timetables which require equitable representation of women at all management levels, and appropriate sanctions should be levied against heads of agencies that fail to demonstrate a "good faith" effort in achieving these goals and timetables.

The Civil Service Commission should require all Federal agencies to establish developmental and other programs in consonance with upward mobility and merit promotion principles to facilitate the movement of women from clerical to technical and professional series, and make all Federal women employees in Grades (GS) 11 through 15 eligible for managerial positions.

Agencies and organizations responsible for apprenticeship programs should be required to establish affirmative action goals and timetables for women of all racial and ethnic origins to enter into "non-traditional training programs.

Federal laws prohibiting discrimination in employment should be extended to include the legislative branch of the Federal government.

In addition to the Federal government, State and local governments, public and private institutions, business, industry and unions should be encouraged to develop training programs for the employment and promotion of women in policy-level positions and professional, managerial and technical jobs.

Special attention should be given to the employment needs of minority women, especially Blacks, Hispanics, Asian Americans and Native Americans including their placement in managerial, professional, technical and white collar jobs. English-language training and employment programs should be developed to meet the needs of working women whose primary language is not English.

The Congress should amend the Veteran Preference Act of 1944 (58 Stat. 387, Chapter 287, Title V, US Code) so that veterans preference is used on a one-time only basis for initial employment and within a three year period after discharge from military service, except for disabled veterans. It should modify the "rule of three" so that equally or better qualified non-veterans should not be unduly discriminated against in hiring.

Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act should be amended to prohibit discrimination on the basis of pregnancy, childbirth or related medical conditions.

The President should take into account in appointments to the National Labor Relations Board and in seeking amendments to the National Labor Relations Act of 1936 the obstacles confronting women who seek to organize in traditionally nonunionized employment sections.

Unions and management should review the impact on women of all their practices and correct injustices to women.

Enforcement of the Fair Labor Standards Act and the Social Security Act as they apply to household workers and enforcement of the minimum wage should be improved.

Federal and State governments should promote Flexitime jobs, and pro-rated benefits should be provided for part-time workers.

All statistics collected by the Federal government should be gathered and analyzed so that information concerning the impact of Federal programs on women and the participation of women in the administration of Federal programs can be assessed.

Equal Rights Amendment

The Equal Rights Amendment should be ratified.


Federal legislation should establish a national health security program. Present Federal employees' health insurance policies and any future national health security program should cover women as individuals.

Health insurance benefits should include:

States should license and recognize qualified midwives and nurse practitioners as independent health specialists and State and Federal laws should require health insurance providers to directly reimburse these health specialists.

States should enact a patient's bill of rights which includes enforceable provisions for informed consent and access to and patient ownership of medical records.

Federal legislation should be enacted to expand the authority of the Food and Drug Administration to:

Congress should appropriate funds for increased research on safe, alternative forms of contraception, particularly male contraception. Research to identify the risks of present forms of contraception and estrogen-based drugs should be given higher priority. Outreach programs should be established by the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare to identify and provide services for victims of hazardous drug therapy.

The Department of Health, Education, and Welfare should provide additional funds for alcohol and drug abuse research and treatment centers designed to meet the special needs of women.

Federal and State governments should encourage fair representation of women on all Federal, State and private health policy and planning bodies.

Congress should appropriate funds to establish and support a network of community-based health facilities to offer low cost, reproductive health services.

The President should appoint a special commission to conduct a national investigation of conditions in nursing homes and mental institutions and propose standards of care.

Congress should appropriate funds to encourage more women to enter the health professions and Congress should allocate funds only to those health professions schools whose curricula are clearly non-sexist.

The Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare should undertake a special investigation of the increase in surgical procedures such as hysterectomy, Cesarean section, mastectomy and forced sterilization.


The Federal Government and State legislatures should base their laws relating to marital property, inheritance, and domestic relations on the principle that marriage is a partnership in which the contribution of each spouse is of equal importance and value.

The President and Congress should support a practical plan of covering homemakers in their own right under social security and facilitate its enactment.

Alimony, child support, and property arrangements at divorce should be such that minor children's needs are first to be met and spouses share the economic dislocation of divorce. As a minimum every State should enact the economic provisions of the Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act proposed by the Commissioners on Uniform State Laws and endorsed by the American Bar Association. Loss of pension rights because of divorce should be considered in property divisions. More effective methods for collection of support should be adopted.

The Census Bureau should collect data on the economic arrangements at divorce and their enforcement, with a large enough sample to analyze the data by State.

The Federal and State Governments should help homemakers displaced by widowhood, divorce, or desertion to become self-sufficient members of society through programs providing counseling, training and placement and counseling on business opportunities; advice on financial management; and legal advice.


State legislatures and State insurance commissioners should adopt the Model Regulation to Eliminate Unfair Sex Discrimination of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners. The Regulation should be amended and adopted to include prohibition of the following practices:

International Affairs

Women and Foreign Policy

The President and the Executive Agencies of the government dealing with foreign affairs (Departments of State and Defense, USIA, AID and others) should see to it that many more women, of all racial and ethnic backgrounds, participate in the formulation and execution of all aspects of United States foreign policy. Efforts should be intensified to appoint more women as Ambassadors and to all U.S. Delegations to international conferences and missions to the United Nations. Women in citizen voluntary organizations concerned with international affairs should be consulted more in the formulation of policy and procedures.

The foreign affairs agencies should increase with all possible speed the number of women at all grade levels within the agencies, and a special assistant to the Secretary of State should be appointed to coordinate a program to increase women's participation in foreign policy and to assume responsibility for U.S. participation in and the funding of the UN Decade for Women. All concerned agencies of the Executive Branch should strive to appoint women on an equal basis with men to represent the U.S. on all executive boards and governing bodies of international organizations and on the UN functional commissions. A permanent committee composed of government officials and private members, the majority of them women, should be appointed to advise the State Department of the selection of women candidates for positions on U.S. delegations, on governing bodies of international agencies, and in the UN system.

UN Commission on the Status of Women

The U.S. Government should work actively for the retention and adequate funding of the UN Commission on the Status of Women, and it should recommend that the Commission meet annually rather than biennially.

Women in Development

The U.S. Agency for International Development and similar assistance agencies should give high priority to the implementation of existing U.S. legislation and policies designed to promote the integration of women into the development plans for their respective countries. They should also continue to study the impact on women in the developing world of U.S. government aid and commercial development programs over which government has any regulatory powers. These agencies should actively promote the involvement of these women in determining their own needs and priorities in programs intended for their benefit.

Human Rights Treaties and International
Conventions on Women

In pressing for respect for human rights, the President and the Congress should note the special situation of women victims of oppression, political imprisonment and torture. They should also intensify efforts for ratification and compliance with international human rights treaties and conventions to which the United States is signatory, specifically including those on women's rights.

Peace and Disarmament

The President and the Congress should intensify efforts to:

To this end the United States should take the lead in urging all nuclear powers to start phasing out their nuclear arsenals rather than escalating weapons development and deployment, and should develop initiatives to advance the cause of world peace.

International Education and Communication

Government agencies, media, schools, and citizen organizations should be encouraged to promote programs of international education and communication emphasizing women's present and potential contribution, particularly in developing countries, to economic and social well-being. Improved methods should be devised for collection and dissemination of this needed information in order to make adequate data available to policy makers and the public.

International Women's Decade

The U.S. should give vigorous support to the goals of the UN Decade for Women, Equality, Development and Peace, in the General Assembly and other international meetings, should give financial support to Decade activities and should participate fully in the 1980 mid-Decade World Conference to review progress toward targets set in the World Plan of Action adopted unanimously by the World Conference of International Women's Year, 1975.


The media should employ women in all job categories and especially in policy-making positions. They should adopt and distribute the IWY media guidelines throughout their respective industries. They should make affirmative efforts to expand the portrayal of women to include a variety of roles and to represent accurately the numbers and lifestyles of women in society. Training opportunities should be expanded so that more women can move into all jobs in the communications industries, particularly into technical jobs.

Appropriate Federal and State agencies, including the Federal Communications Commission, U.S. Commission on Civil Rights, Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, Department of Justice, and State civil rights commissions should vigorously enforce laws which prohibit employment discrimination against women working in the mass media. These agencies should continue studying the impact of the mass media on sex discrimination and sex-role stereotyping in American society.

Special consideration should be given to media which are publicly funded or established through acts of Congress. Particularly, public broadcasting should assume a special responsibility to integrate women in employment and programming.

Women's groups and advocacy groups should continue to develop programs to monitor the mass media and take appropriate action to improve the image and employment of women in the communications industries. They should join the campaign to de-emphasize the exploitation of female bodies and the use of violence against women in the mass media.

Minority Women

Minority women share with all women the experience of sexism as a barrier to their full rights of citizenship. Every recommendation of this National Plan of Action shall be understood as applying equally and fully to minority women.

But institutionalized bias based on race, language, culture and/or ethnic origin or governance of territories or localities has led to the additional oppression and exclusion of minority women and to the conditions of poverty from which they disproportionately suffer.

Therefore, every level of government action should recognize and remedy this double-discrimination and ensure the right of each individual to self-determination.

Legislation, the enforcement of existing laws and all levels of government action should be directed especially toward such problem areas as involuntary sterilization; monolingual education and services; high infant and maternal mortality rates; bias toward minority women's children, confinement to low level jobs; confinement to poor, ghettoized housing; culturally biased educational, psychological and employment testing (for instance, civil service); failure to enforce affirmative action and special admission programs; combined sex and race bias in insurance; and failure to gather statistical data based on both sex and race so that the needs and conditions of minority women may be accurately understood.

Minority women also suffer from government failure to recognize and remedy problems of our racial and cultural groups. For instance:

American Indian and Alaskan Native Women: - American Indian/Alaskan Native women have a relationship to Earth Mother and the Great Spirit as well as a heritage based on the sovereignty of Indian peoples. The Federal government should guarantee tribal rights, tribal sovereignty, honor existing treaties and Congressional acts, protect hunting, fishing, and whaling rights, protect trust status, and permanently remove the threat of termination.

Congress should extend the Indian Education Act of 1972, maintain base funding of education instead of replacing it with supplemental funding, provide adequate care through the Indian Health Service, forbid the systematic removal of children from their families and communities, and assure full participation in all Federally funded programs.

Asian/Pacific American Women:

- Asian/Pacific American Women are wrongly thought to be part of a "model minority" with few problems. This obscures our vulnerability due to language and culture barriers, sweatshop work conditions with high health hazards, the particular problems of wives of U.S. servicemen, lack of access to accreditation and licensing because of immigrant status, and to many Federally-funded services.

Hispanic Women:

Deportation of mothers of American-born children must be stopped and legislation enacted for parents to remain with their children; citizenship provisions should be facilitated.

Legislation should be enacted to provide migrant farm working women with the Federal minimum wage rate, collective bargaining rights, adequate housing, and bilingual-bicultural social services delivery.

Classification of existing Hispanic American media as "Foreign Press" must be stopped to ensure equal access to major national events.

Additionally, the Federal Communications Commission must provide equal opportunity to Hispanic people for acquisition of media facilities (radio and television), for training and hiring in order to provide Spanish-language programming to this major group.

Puerto Rican Women:

Puerto Rican women emphasize that they are citizens of the United States and wish to be recognized and treated as equals.

Black Women:

The President and Congress should provide for full quality education, including special admission programs, and for the full implementation and enforcement at all levels of education.

The President and Congress should immediately address the crisis of unemployment which impacts the Black community and results in Black teenage women having the highest rate of unemployment.

The Congress should establish a national program for the placement of "children in need of parents," preferably in a family environment, where the status of said children is affected by reason of racial or ethnic origin.

The President and Congress should assure Federally assisted housing to meet the critical need of Black women, especially of low and moderate income, should direct the vigorous enforcement of all fair housing laws, and provide the allocation of resources necessary to accomplish this housing goal.

The President, Congress and all Federal agencies should utilize fully in all deliberations and planning processes, the Black Women's Plan of Action which clearly reflects and delineates other major concerns of Black women.


States should review and reform their sentencing laws and their practices to eliminate discrimination that affects the treatment of women in penal facilities. Particular attention should be paid to the needs of poor and minority women.

States should reform their practices, where needed, to provide legal counseling and referral services; improved health services emphasizing dignity in treatment for women in institutions; and protection of women prisoners from sexual abuse by male and female inmates and by correctional personnel.

Corrections Boards must provide improved educational and vocational training in a non-stereotyped range of skills that pay enough for an ex-offender to support her family.

Law enforcement agencies, courts, and correctional programs must give special attention to the needs of children with mothers under arrest, on trial, or in prison.

States must increase efforts to divert women offenders to community-based treatment facilities such as residential and non-residential halfway houses, work releases, or group homes as close to the offender's family as possible.

Disparities in the treatment of male and female juvenile offenders must be eliminated; status offenses must be removed from jurisdiction of juvenile courts; and States are urged to establish more youth bureaus, crisis centers and diversion agencies to receive female juveniles detained for promiscuous conduct, for running away, or because of family or school problems.

Older Women

The Federal and State governments, public and private women's organizations and social welfare groups should support efforts to provide social and health services that will enable the older woman to live with dignity and security. These services should include but not be limited to:


Federal, State and local governments should revise their criminal codes and case law dealing with rape and related offenses to:

Local task forces to review and reform rape law and practices of police, prosecutors, and medical personnel should be established where they do not now exist. Such task forces should also mobilize public support for change. Rape crisis centers should be established (with Federal and State funding) for the support of victims and the confidentiality of their records should be assured. Bilingual and bicultural information resources should be made available where necessary.

Federal and State funds should be appropriated for educational programs in the public school system and the community, including rape prevention and self-defense programs.

The National Center for the Prevention and Control of Rape within the National Institute of Mental Health should be given permanent funding for operational costs, for staff positions, research and demonstration programs and for a clearinghouse on sexual assault information and educational material with regard to prevention, treatment of victims and rehabilitation of offenders. In addition, rape centers should be consulted by NIMH in the setting of priorities and allocation of funds. The National Center should be continued in order to insure community involvement and the composition of the committee should be reviewed to assure minority representation and a majority of women.

State legislatures should expand existing victim compensation for the cost of medical, surgical, and hospital expenses; evidentiary examinations; counseling; emergency funds for housing, etc., and compensation for pregnancy and pain and suffering.

*Some states require judges to instruct the jury as prescribed by a 17th Century jurist, Lord Chief Justice Matthew Hale: "Rape is an accusation easily to be made and hard to be proved, and harder to be defended by the party accused, tho never so innocent."

Reproductive Freedom

We support the U.S. Supreme Court decisions which guarantee reproductive freedom to women.

We urge all branches of Federal, State and local governments to give the highest priority to complying with these Supreme Court decisions and to making available all methods of family planning to women unable to take advantage of private facilities.

We oppose the exclusion of abortion or childbirth and pregnancy-related care from Federal, State or local funding of medical services or from privately financed medical services.

We urge organizations concerned with improving the status of women to monitor how government complies with these principles.

We oppose involuntary sterilization and urge strict compliance by all doctors, medical and family planning facilities with the Dept. of Health, Education & Welfare's minimum April 1974 regulations requiring that consent to sterilization be truly voluntary, informed and competent. Spousal consent should not be a requirement upon which sterilization procedures are contingent. If the patient does not speak English, appropriate staff must be found to explain the procedures and HEW regulations in the primary language of the patient.

Particular attention should be paid at all levels of government to providing confidential family-planning services for teen-agers, education in responsible sexuality, and reform of laws discriminating against unwed parents and their children.

Programs in sex education should be provided in all schools, including elementary schools.

Federal, State and local governing bodies should take whatever steps are necessary to remove existing barriers to family planning services for all teen-agers who request them.

Each school system should assist teen-age parents with programs including child care arrangements that will encourage them to remain in school, provide educational and vocational training leading to economic independence, and teach prenatal health and parenting skills.

Rural Women

The President and Congress should establish a Federal rural education policy designed to meet the special problems of isolation, poverty and underemployment that characterize much of rural America. Such a policy must be consciously planned to overcome the inequality of opportunities available to rural women and girls.

The Office of Management and Budget should set and enforce a policy that data collected on beneficiaries of all Federal programs shall be reported by sex, by minority status, and by urban/rural or metropolitan/ non-metropolitan areas, based on a standard definition.

Data on employment of women and public programs on behalf of working women should include in their definitions farm wives and widows who perform the many tasks essential to the farm operation.

A farm wife should have the same ownership rights as her spouse under State inheritance and Federal estate laws. Tax law should recognize that the labor of a farm wife gives her an equitable interest in the property.

The President should appoint a joint committee from the Departments of Labor, Agriculture, and Justice to investigate the Louisiana sugar plantations system's violations of human rights, especially of women. This commission should also investigate conditions of other seasonal and migratory workers in all States and Territories of the United States.

All programs developed on behalf of rural women should be certain to include migrant, Black, Native American, Alaskan, Asian, and Hispanic women and all isolated minorities, and affirmative action programs should be extended to include all disenfranchised groups.

Sexual Preference

Congress, State, and local legislatures should enact legislation to eliminate discrimination on the basis of sexual and affectional preference in areas including, but not limited to, employment, housing, public accommodations, credit, public facilities, government funding, and the military.

State legislatures should reform their penal codes or repeal State laws that restrict private sexual behavior between consenting adults.

State legislatures should enact legislation that would prohibit consideration of sexual or affectional orientation as a factor in any judicial determination of child custody or visitation rights. Rather, child custody cases should be evaluated solely on the merits of which party is the better parent, without regard to that person's sexual and affectional orientation.


The Office of Management and Budget should require all departments and agencies to collect, tabulate, and analyze data relating to persons on the basis of sex in order to assess the impact of their programs all women.

The U.S. Census Bureau should aggressively pursue its efforts to reduce the undercounts of minority Americans, including Blacks, Hispanic Americans, Asian Americans, and American Indians. The Department of Health, Education, and Welfare should continue its efforts to implement the usage of special group identifiers in all vital statistics record-keeping. These statistics should be recorded and reported by sex and subgroup.

Women, Welfare and Poverty

The Federal and State governments should assume a role in focusing on welfare and poverty as major women's issues. All welfare reform proposals should be examined specifically for their impact on women. Inequality of opportunity for women must be recognized as a primary factor contributing to the growth of welfare rolls.

Women in poverty, whether young or old, want to be part of the mainstream of American life.

Poverty is a major barrier to equality for women. Millions of women who depend on income transfer programs or low paying jobs for their basic life support may be subject to the multiple oppression of sexism, racism, poverty and they are often old or disabled.

Many other women, because of discriminatory employment practices, social security laws, differential education of men and women, and lack of adequate child care are just one step away from poverty. Consequently, the elimination of poverty must be a priority of all those working for equal rights for women.

Along with major improvements in the welfare system, elimination of poverty for women must include improvements in social security and retirement systems, universal minimum wage, non-traditional job opportunities, quality child care, comprehensive health insurance, and comprehensive legal services. A concerted effort must be made to educate the public about the realities of welfare, the plight of the blind, the aged, the disabled, single-parent families and other low income women.

We support increased Federal funding for income transfer programs (e.g. Social Security, SSI, AFDC) Congress should approve a Federal floor under payments to provide an adequate standard of living based on each State's cost of living for all those in need. And, just as with other workers, homemakers receiving income transfer payments should be afforded the dignity of having that payment called a wage, not welfare.

We oppose the Carter Administration proposal for welfare reform (HR 9030), which among other things eliminates food stamps, threatens to eliminate CETA training and CETA jobs paying more than minimum wage, and does not guarantee adequate day care, and we oppose proposals for "workfare" where welfare mothers would be forced to "work off " their grants which is work without wage, without fringe benefits or bargaining rights, and without dignity. HR 9030 further requires those individuals and families without income to wait weeks or even months before even the inadequate grant is available.

We strongly support a welfare reform program developed from on-going consultation with persons who will be impacted.

This program should 1) be consistent with the National Academy of Science recommendation that no individual or family living standard should be lower than half the median family income level for substantial periods (after taxes) and this income should not fall below the government defined poverty level of family income even for shorter periods; 2) help sustain the family unit; and 3) insure that women on welfare and other low income women who choose to work not be forced into jobs paying less than the prevailing wage.

In order to improve the status of women, the following actions should be taken:

a. To insure that welfare and other poor are not discriminated against as an economic class, affirmative action guidelines should be drawn up to provide that all employers who are recipients of Federal and/or State contract monies be required to show that they are hiring recipients.
b. There should be targeting of funds by local CETA advisory boards for the placement and training of women in non-traditional higher paying jobs, consistent with the original mandate
c. The Department of Labor should make a study, of jobs and wages based on a standard of comparable worth, and speedily move the implementation of that study in all government positions.
d. Unions should devote additional energy to the organization of women to upgrade pay and working conditions for women in traditional employment.

Quality child care should be a mandated Title XX service, available to all families on an ability to pa basis throughout training, education, job search or employment.

Congress should encourage education of women by insuring that Federal and other education grants do not reduce an individual's or family's eligibility for public assistance in AFDC or any other program.

Comprehensive support services and social service must be provided and adequately funded.

Continuing Committee of the Conference

Whereas, Public Law 94-167 requires the establishment of a Committee of the Conference which will take steps to provide for the convening of a Second National Women's Conference to assess the progress made toward achieving the recommendations of this 1977 conference; and

Whereas, such Committee would constitute an important mechanism to consider steps to achieve the recommendations of this Conference.

It is hereby resolved that:

1. A Committee of the Conference be selected by the National Commission on the Observance of International Women's Year after receiving recommendations of individuals to serve on the Committee in writing on or before December 30, 1977*, from the delegates of this body following the Conference.

The Committee shall be composed of persons of diverse ages and racial, ethnic, religious, economic, social, and geographic backgrounds.

2. This conference calls upon the President to issue an Executive Order creating a Commission to carry out our recommendations.

3. The Committee of the Conference shall serve until such time as the President appoints such a Commission.

4. This Conference calls upon the President and the Congress to authorize and appropriate sufficient funds to enable these bodies to carry out this mandate.

Note: Delegates from Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa, the Trust Territories and the District of Columbia as well as delegates from 50 States participated in the National Women's Conference and formulation of the National Plan of Action. All Recommendations adopted by the National Women's Conference and the National Commission on the Observance of IWY apply to Territories as well as to States, wherever they are relevant.

IWY Publications

A total of 76 publications were issued by the International Women's Year (IWY) Commission. They are listed below and on the next page. They may be ordered from the Superintendent of Documents; US Government Punting Office, Washington, D.C 20402. Please include the Stock Number (S/N) and title for each publication ordered and make your check or money order payable to the Superintendent of Documents (Do not send cash or postage stamps.)

American Women, Today and Tomorrow. This publication analyzes a 1975 national survey of women, assessing their attitudes and opinions, recording their current activities, looking at the pattern of their lives and discussing their views of the future. 1977. 72 p. ii. S/N 052-003-00249-3 $1.25

The Creative Woman. A study on the status of women employees in various fields of the arts and humanities. Includes proposals for correcting what the Commission felt were inequities in discrimination 1976. 54 p. S/N 040-000-00368-1 $0.90

National Plan of Action. Contains the plan adopted at the National Women's Conference held in Houston, Texas, November 18-21, 1977. 32 p. S/N 052-003-00611-1 $1.25

Spanish edition of above. 1977. 36 pages. S/N 052-003-00614-6 $1.25

Spirit of Houston. Contains the final report of the National Women's Conference to the President, the Congress, and the People of the United States. 1978. 308 p. il. S/N 052-003-00505-1 $5.25

To Form a More Perfect Union, Justice for American Women. Contains the 1975 Report to the President by the National Commission on the Observance of International Women's Year. The book discusses present realities in the status of women, and cites obstacles they face in having positions of power. 1976. 382 p. S/N 040-000-00350-9 $5.20

Workshop Guides

The following 19 publications were designed to assist in setting up work shops on a variety of topics covering women's rights. Typically, each Guide contains a set of goals and some program suggestions that discuss what others have done, a list of audiovisual aid, and a roster of either resource persons or speakers.

Child Care. 1977. 89 p. S/N 052-003-00476-3 $1.25

Credit. 1977. 27 p. S/N 052-003-00485-2 $1.25

Education. 1977. 91 p. S/N 052-003-00477-1 $1.25

Employment. 1977. 60 p. il. S/N 052-003-00429-5 $1.25

Equal Rights Amendments. 1977. 21 p. S,N 052-003-00484-4 $1.25

Female Offenders. 1977. 123 p. S/N 052-003-00487-9 $1.25

Health. 1977. 85 p. S/N 052-003-00488-7 $1.25

Improving the Status of Women in the Arts and Humanities. 1977. 139 p. il. S/N 052-003-00480-1 $1.2

Insurance. 1977. 41 p. S/N 052-003-00483-6 $1.25

International Interdependence. 1977. 56 p. S/N 052-003-00479-8 $1.25

Legal Status of Homemakers. 1977. 21 p. S/N 052-003-00492-5 $1.25

Media. 1977. 55 p. S/N 052-003-00491-7 $1.25

Older Women. 1977. 39 p. S/N 052-003-00490-9 $1.25

Rape. 1977. 64 p. S/N 052-003-00478-0 $1.25

Sexual Preference. 1977. 61 p. S/N 052-003-00493-3 $1.25

Strategies for Change. 1977. 19 p. S/N 052-003-00494-1 $1.25

Teenage Pregnancy. 1977. 55 p. ii. S/N 052-003-00482-8 $1.25

Wife Abuse. 1977. 23 p. S/N 052-003-00486-1 $1.25

Women in Elective and Appointive Office. 1977. 41 p. S/N 052-003-00481-0 $1.25

(Appointed by President Carter)

Bella S. Abzug
New York, NY
Ruth 1. Abram, New York, NY
Maya Angelou, Sonoma, CA
Elizabeth Athanasakos, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Betty Blanton, Nashville, TN
Cecilia Preciado Burciaga, Palo Alto, CA
Liz Carpenter, Austin, TX
John Mack Carter, New York, NY
Sey Chassler, New York, NY
Ruth Clusen, Green Bay, Wl
Audrey Rowe Colom, Washington, DC
lane Culbreth, Leeds, AL
Harry T. Edwards, Ann Arbor, MI
Rita Elway, Seattle, WA
Beverly Everett, New Sharon, IA
Betty Ford, Palm Springs, CA
Bernice Frieder, Lakewood, OH
Martha Griffiths, Romeo, Mi
Dorothy Haener, Detroit, MI
Rhea Moiica Hammer, Chicago, IL
LaDonna Harris, Albuquerque, NM
Lenore Hershey, New York, NY
Koryne Horbal, Minneapolis, MN
Mildred Jeffrey, Detroit, MI
Jeffalyn Johnson, Arlington, VA
Coretta Scott King, Atlanta, GA
Mary Anne Krupsak, Albany, NY
Margaret J. Mealey, Washington, DC
Jean O'Leary, New York, NY
Mildred E. Persinger, Iobbs Ferry, NY
Connie Plunkett, Carrollton, GA
Ersa Poston, Washington, DC
Claire Randall, New York, NY
Alice S. Rossi, Amherst, MA
Gloria Scott, Houston, TX
Eleanor Smeal, Pittsburgh, PA
Jean Stapleton, Los Angeles, CA
Gloria Steinem, New York, NY
Ethel Taylor, Bala-Cynwyd, PA
Carmen Delgado Votaw, Bethesda, MD
Gerridee Wheeler, Bismarck, ND
Addie Wyatt, Chicago, IL


Senator Birch Bayh, IN
Senator Charles Percy, IL
Congresswoman Margaret Heckler, MA
Congresswoman Elizabeth Holtzman, NY


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