By the Numbers: National Women’s Conference

Last week marked the 40th anniversary of a high water mark in women’s rights – the first National Women’s Conference, held in Houston Nov. 18-21, 1977. Keynote speakers included First Ladies Rosalynn Carter and Lady Bird Johnson, activists Coretta Scott King, Bella Abzug, Betty Friedan, Barbara Jordan, Liz Carpenter, Jean Stapleton and Maya Angelou. Here are some numbers from that historic event. Activist Gloria Steinem recently referred to the conference as “the most important event that nobody knows about.”


The number of “planks” or topics passed unanimously at the convention. That was for a call to end discrimination against women in consumer credit practices.


The number of major planks discussed at the conference, including arts and humanities, battered women, business, child abuse, child care, credit for women, disabled women, education reform, elective and appointive office, the Equal Rights Amendment, health care, homemakers, insurance, international affairs, media, minority women, offenders, older women, rape, reproductive freedom, rural women, sexual preference, statistics, women and poverty, and continuing the conference committee. The idea was to draft an action plan to move women’s issues forward in America.


The year of International Women’s Year.


The number of state delegates attending the National Women’s Conference.


The estimated number of conservative women who attended Phyllis Schlafly’s counter conference on the other side of Houston, where traditional family values were espoused.


The estimated number of observers who attended the National Women’s Conference.

$5 million

The amount Congress allocated for state conventions to elect delegates and hold the National Women’s Conference as a way “to promote equality between men and women.”


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