THE VFA PIONEER HISTORIES PROJECT
1919 – 1989
On June 30, 1966, Betty Friedan wrote three letters on a paper napkin: N O W. She invited fifteen women to her hotel room. Then Catherine Conroy slid a five-dollar bill onto the table and said, “Put your money down and sign your name.” In that moment, the National Organization for Women became a reality.
Founding member of National Organization for Women. Founding member of the Coalition of Labor Union Women. Founding member of Chicago chapter of NOW. Wisconsin Telephone Guild. Communications Workers of America (CWA).Wisconsin Governor’s Commission on the Status of Women. Founding member of the Wisconsin Women’s Network.
Photo 1. Catherine Conroy in 1967. Photo 2. Catherine (left) named Woman of the Year by the Milwaukee chapter of NOW. With her (left to right) are Kathryn Clarenbach, Mary Jean Collins, and Gene Boyer. [Milwaukee Journal, July 9, 1978]
Brigid O’Farrell honors Catherine Conroy – Labor & the Women’s Movement, VFA, St. Louis, MO, 2014
More About Catherine:
- Mary Jean Collins on the early founders of NOW at Alverno College 2012
- Catherine Conroy papers
- Wisconsin Women Making History
- This Day in History – Obama White House Archives
- National Organization for Women Honors Founders & Pioneers by Sonia Pressman Fuentes
- Like our sisters before us : women of Wisconsin labor / by Jamakaya, 1998
- Mary Jean Collins, Catherine Conroy and Kay Clarenbach reflect on the National Organization for Women, NOW State Conference, 1983. Footage courtesy of David Clarenbach
- Cited in Barbara Love’s book – Feminists Who Changed America – page 93