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1977 National Women's Conference: A Question of Choices

followed by a Live Virtual Panel Discussion

Nov 19, 2021, 07:30 PM Eventive Virtual Platform $10.00 Get Tickets

Available virtually globally for 72 hours beginning Nov 19 at 7:30pm. This event will have a live virtual conversation at 3pm CST on Saturday, November 20th on the Eventive Platform.

Part of The Third Coast section.

1977 National Women's Conference is a one-hour wrap-up of the three-day historic gathering on women's rights held in Houston, November 18-21, 1977. Broadcast nationwide on the last day of the conference, only hours after the final session had concluded, the documentary takes a behind-the-scenes look at the various caucus and coalition meetings as well as major events of the conference itself, both official and unofficial, including a counter-convention seven miles away organized by groups who opposed the NWC. The program covers not only the key and controversial issues voted upon by the more than 2,000 delegates -- such as the Equal Rights Amendment, child care, abortion, sexual preference, employment, racial and ethnic minority women's rights, battered wives and rape -- but also the less controversial subjects (homemaker's rights, health, insurance) in order to provide the most accurate portrayal of the conference as a whole. Pre-produced packages such as graphics illustrating statistics and other problems addressed by conference resolutions; mini biographies of some of the key conference leaders; and delegates at work in caucuses prior to the official conference debates were inserted in order to clarify the issues and outcome of the final votes for the television viewers.

The program includes excerpts of addresses of speakers to both the National Women's conference and the opposition rally. The program begins with footage of the crowds at the conference reacting to calls to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. The host details what lead to the conference being held and the issues discussed and voted on. State and international delegates attended the conference. The host goes over statistics of women in government, women working, and the pay gap for women. She introduces some of the key figures at the conference and opposition rally, and excerpts from speakers follow. Speakers to the NWC include Rosalynn Carter, Betty Ford, Bella Abzug, Lady Bird Johnson, Barbara Jordan, Audrey Colom, Claire Randall, Gerridee Wheeler, Cecilia Burciaga, Gloria Steinem, Lenore Hershey and Jean O'Leary. Speakers to the opposition rally include Lottie Beth Hobbs, Nellie Gray, Dr. Mildred Jefferson, Phyllis Schlafly and R.K. Dornan. The program also includes excerpts of speeches and debates from delegates to the National Women's Conference.

Country, Year United States, 1977
DirectorChristi Collier
CastSusan Caudill, Ellie Smeal, Betty Ford, Barbara Jordan, Gloria Steinem, Phyllis Schlafly
ProducerNazaret Cherkezian, Susan Caudill
Runtime60 MINS, SECS
Event TypeFilm
Special Guests

Leandra R. Zarnow

Leandra Zarnow earned a B.A. in American Studies and Government from Smith College and M.A. and Ph.D. in US History with a Doctoral Emphasis in Feminist Studies at University of California, Santa Barbara. Before coming to University of Houston, Zarnow taught at Stanford University as an American Council of Learned Societies New Faculty Fellow in the History Department. She has also held research affiliations with the University of Toronto’s Centre for the Study of the United States at the Munk School of Global Affairs and the Tamiment Library at New York University. Along with colleague Professor Nancy Beck Young, Zarnow leads “Sharing Stories from 1977,” a digital humanities public history project to commemorate the 1977 National Women’s Conference.

Judy Tzu-Chun Wu

Judy Tzu-Chun Wu is a professor of Asian American Studies at the University of California, Irvine and the director of the Humanities Center.  She received her Ph.D. in U.S. History from Stanford University and previously taught at Ohio State University. She authored Dr. Mom Chung of the Fair-Haired Bastards: the Life of a Wartime Celebrity (University of California Press, 2005) and Radicals on the Road: Internationalism, Orientalism, and Feminism during the Vietnam Era (Cornell University Press, 2013). Her forthcoming book, Fierce and Fearless: Patsy Takemoto Mink, First Woman of Color in Congress (New York University Press, 2022), is a collaboration with political scientist Gwendolyn Mink. Wu is currently working on a book that focuses on Asian American and Pacific Islander Women who attended the 1977 National Women’s Conference and co-editing Unequal Sisters, 5th edition with Routledge Press. She co-edited Women’s America: Refocusing the Past, 8th Edition (Oxford 2015), Gendering the Trans-Pacific World (Brill 2017), and Frontiers: A Journal of Women’s Studies (2012-2017). Currently, she is a co-editor of Women and Social Movements in the United States, 1600-2000 (Alexander Street Press) and editor for Amerasia Journal. She also serves as chair of the editorial committee for the University of California Press and as a series editor for the U.S. in the World Series with Cornell University Press. She is the co-president of the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians.


Shelah Leader

Political Scientist. Educator. Policy Maker and Changer. Author. President of Buffalo, NY NOW. Treasurer, Women’s Caucus of American Political Science Association. Founder, Cornell University Women Studies Program and Advisory Board member. Chair of NOW’s Insurance Discrimination Task Force, Montgomery county, MD. Senior Staff Analyst of the IWY Commission.