Years after Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, women were still experiencing blatant discrimination and the Chicago chapter of the National Organization for Women took it as its mission to help change that.
The group targeted many local companies like Sears, which would pass women over for high-level positions, United Airlines for running “Executive Flights” that barred female passengers, and the Chicago Tribune for running segregated help-wanted ads for male and female job hunters.
Founded 50 years ago, the Chicago chapter of NOW focused much of its energy on employment-related issues because its founders had roots in the workers’ rights movement in Chicago, says David Greenstein, visiting lecturer for special collections and university archives at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
To celebrate the Chicago chapter’s anniversary, Greenstein is curating Don’t Iron While the Strike is Hot: Chicago-NOW’s Fight for Equality, an exhibit in UIC’s Richard J. Daley Library that uses documents, photographs, and other memorabilia from its collection to document the local group’s fight for gender equality. The collection had been previously donated to UIC and consists of “hundreds and hundreds” of boxes of items, he said.
Don’t Iron While the Strike is Hot: Chicago-NOW’s Fight for Equality is free and open to the public through December 22, 2017.
University of Illinois at Chicago
Richard J. Daley Library
801 S. Morgan St., 2nd Floor
Chicago, IL 60607
For more information, call Special Collections and University Archives at (312) 996-2742.