Worldwide Organization for Women (WOW)
In 1977, a response to the United Nations Decade for Woman, 1976-1985, the United States Congress authorized each State of the Union to organize a conference to discuss women’s issues, recognize women’s achievements and contributions, develop a State Plan of Action, and elect 14 delegates to attend the National Women’s Conference, the culminating national event to be held in Houston Texas that November, which elected delegates from each State would attend. Utah’s Conference, “The Voice of Womankind,” was held on June 24-25, 1977 at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City with over 10,000 men and women in attendance. The Utah conference was one of the largest in the nation in attendance. Utah’s elected delegation reflected its citizen’s traditional values, but the National Committee decided it was not diverse enough. They appointed an equal number of women with opposing views–mainly women who supported the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), abortion on demand, and gender equity. This unelected delegation essentially canceled Utah’s vote.
In response to the national committee appointing unelected officials, the Utah Association of Women (UAW) was formally organized and the Articles of Incorporation were filed and accepted by the State of Utah November 4, 1977. Nina Palmer was elected as the first president of The Utah Association of Women. A rally was organized in support of their elected delegation for the Houston Conference. On November 5, 1977 the committee held a press conference in the Governor’s Board Room at the State Capital to announce the formation of the new organization, The Utah Association of Women. Governor Scott M. Matheson sent a letter of congratulations on the establishment of the new organization of women and sent his support for the rally. After the Utah delegates returned from the IWY (International Women’s Year) Conference in Houston, Texas, five of the elected delegates joined the other six board members of the UAW (Utah Association of Women).
Bylaws were written and approved on December 9, 1977. Small groups were assisted in organizing throughout the State of Utah. The Executive Board of the UAW identified the following as their Aims and Objectives: “The Utah Association of Women is dedicated to promote the exchange of ideas; to foster research and study of issues, rights, political activity, education, etc., and to encourage all women to become involved in political and civic events, if only to educate themselves in such matters. We would hope that through this organization, women will more objectively act rather than react.” “In essence, we would like to be a part of the solutions to problems facing women today, and at the same time, preserve our quality of life by supporting traditional family ideals.” 1978See more