The purpose of the MINNESOTA NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMEN INC aka Minnesota NOW is to take action through intersectional grassroots activism to promote feminist ideals, lead societal change, eliminate discrimination, and achieve and protect the equal rights of all women and girls in all aspects of social, political, and economic life.
Minnesota NOW is a multi-issue, grassroots organization that’s been fighting for equality and justice since 1971.
Minnesota NOW Mission
Minnesota NOW carries out its mission in a number of ways. We develop and monitor legislation related to our core issues; provide information to members and other women’s organizations through our newsletter and legislative Action Alerts; lobby legislators and government officials; testify at public hearings; assist in the organization and support of local chapters of MN NOW; produce educational materials; provide speakers; and endorse and support political candidates who will work to advance Minnesota NOW’s issues. We also serve as an information resource for students, media, government, and international groups.
Minnesota NOW believes that there is strength in numbers and that we can broaden our message by bringing women’s concerns to broader issue coalitions. We are members of the Women Winning, the Minnesota Housing Partnership and the Pay Equity Coalition.
Minnesota NOW has approximately 2,400 members and is primarily supported financially through membership dues and contributions. Membership is open to anyone who believes in the mission of the organization.
Current Leadership of MN NOW
February 19, 2023 the MN NOW Board voted in the following positioning statements. These indicate our focus on intersectional feminism, fighting for the rights of all women, girls and gender expansive people. If you have questions or suggestions, we welcome feedback! Please feel free to contact us via a contact form or you can directly email us at Pres@MNNOW.org.
NOW Positioning Statements for 2023
Other Human Rights
- Provide accessible, affordable and racially equitable health care to all people by adequately funding robust healthcare and mental health initiatives across the state that address the shortage of treatment and support services, especially in rural Minnesota.
- Work to remove barriers to access for all people regardless of ability; including ensuring access to services that help with hearing loss/deafness, vision loss/blindness and other conditions that create barriers.
- Fight to protect our climate by support the move to invest in green technology and defunding oil, coal and gas.
- Support the move to sustainable farming techniques which support carbon sequestration.
- Address the ways that climate change uniquely impacts women and people of color in intersecting ways.
- Support a strong public school system with appropriate funding, including special education; and address systemic issues around discrimination and school culture of exclusivity.
- Ensure our schools teach an honest and complete history of our country.
- Help schools teach civic education and build a culture of civic engagement in all communities.
- Ensure students have the freedom to explore their own identity and identify as they chose.
- Ensure that every student has access to a comprehensive sex education which is inclusive of all genders, sexualities, races, and abilities.
- Uphold protections against suspicion-less searches and seizures.
- Fight for an end to the prison industrial complex, especially those that target immigrant communities, and fight for humane and just prison environments.
- Fight to end policies that send individuals back to jail for technical violations and instead use community-based solutions.
- Raising the lower age of juvenile court jurisdiction and detention to 13, ending visual strip searches and the use of punitive solitary confinement for youth in correctional facilities.
- End the practice of allowing private jail facilities to charge the state for empty beds.
- Support the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW)
- Ensure a healthy democracy through accessible and barrier-free voting for all people.
- Preserve our 1st Amendment rights to gather, protest and boycott companies.
- Work for legislation and policies that recognize that disability is widespread and diverse, address ableism, and recognize that anyone can experience disability and resulting access issues at any point in their life.
- Work to remove barriers to access for all people regardless of ability, and ensure the inclusiveness of individuals with hearing loss, deafness, blindness, and other sensory disabilities.
- Recognize the existence of “invisible” disabilities, including but not limited to epilepsy, chronic fatigue, mental health concerns, substance use disorders and higher executive functioning disorders such as autism.
Freedom from Violence
- End any “punish the victim” or “criminalize trauma” court action by allowing judges to take into consideration domestic abuse experienced by individuals when facing criminal charges.
- Strengthen civil laws that allow individuals who have experienced abuse the opportunity to claim civil damages.
- Continue to strengthen and fund the Victim Services Units and survivor-centered housing and shelters.
- Ensure eviction and rental laws protect individuals disrupted by domestic violence.
- Prevent punitive action from employers against individuals experiencing job interruptions due to violence.
- Strengthen anti-trafficking laws and increase funding and implementation through legislation that end the criminalization of victims and instead criminalizes exploitive behaviors, such as sex trafficking.
- Increase education efforts for the general population to help end exploitative practices and to help identify victims.
- Increase programs for intervention and prevention of sex exploitation and trafficking which are victim-centered and trauma- informed.
- Educate enforcement agencies, medical facilities and others on the effects of commercial sexual exploitation.
- Provide more resources towards eradicating the rape kit backlog.
- Make the process of obtaining a restraining order (and further protective orders) much more efficient.
- Support shelters that are able to care for women’s children and pets.
- Support better knowledge of statistics and more inclusive language surrounding domestic violence to include LGBTQIA+ folks who are also victimized by relationship violence.
- Support and increase community policing practices that includes training for de-escalation.
- Support education that provides accurate historical accounts from multiple perspectives, including perspectives of marginalized communities.
- Support a Bill of Rights for women and girls in detention prisons which seeks to end the practice of detaining refugees and immigrants in detention.
- End the criminalization and jailing of immigrants, ending laws that unnecessarily burden new immigrants and refugees, such as year-to-year extensions of visas, and supporting laws that create equitable pathways to citizenship.
- Support the universal right to legal representation for everyone in the immigration system.
- Support legislation that addresses Minnesota’s extreme racial disparities in employment, wealth, and housing.
- Support immigrant rights to attain a Minnesota driver’s license regardless of status.
- Ensure all violence against the LGBTQIA+ community is treated as a hate crime.
- Ensure the right to form and grow a family for all people regardless of gender, including protection for marriage equality and adoption equity.
- Defend the Minnesota Human Rights act, which makes it illegal to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation and ensure this law continues to support all members of the LGBTQIA+ community.
- Work to end housing discrimination on the bases of LGBTQIA+ identity.
- Work to end programs that attack individual identity and impose an ideology of rejection of the LGBTQIA+ experience, especially work toward defunding or prohibiting programs aimed at youth which have been proven to be harmful to the individual involved.
- Fight for laws that protect LGBTQIA+ youth from harassment and discrimination in the community, in schools and at home.
- Ensure LGBTQIA+ individuals have access to medical treatment that meets their unique needs and that they do not experience discrimination, bias or harm in medical practices.
- Prohibit ‘Source of Income Discrimination’ which restricts the use of certain forms of public assistance with certain groups.
- Address the affordable housing issue through evidence-based practices of providing housing for low income and homeless populations; and good housing law that encourages housing stability and affordable maintenance requirements for housing including low-income apartments buildings.
- Enact stronger family leave laws, that help parents do the important job of parenting their children.
- End the 5-year welfare window that automatically removes participants no matter their life circumstances.
- Enact accessible cradle to college education legislation for all Minnesotans, including lowered or free technical and community college fees.
- Supports legislation designed to eliminate the feminization of poverty . . . by ensuring that all welfare programs encourage the economic independence, privacy, choice, and dignity of the recipients; (and) by ensuring that all welfare programs are based on a standard of need which includes an automatic standard of living increase and child care.
- Oppose mandatory “workfare” or work in exchange for a stipend; and opposes punitive sanctioning of welfare participants.
- Oppose supplanting state money with federal welfare money, resulting in an overall reduction in the amount of money spent on programs to assist people out of poverty.
- Ensure affordable and accessible childcare through subsidy programs or other means.
- Supports abortion options that are safe, legal, affordable, locally available and free from punishment or judgment.
- Supports evidence-based, age-appropriate sex education for students in K-12.
- Supports removing invasive privacy laws that mandate reporting of women’s personal medical information.
- Supports protecting the individual’s right to use safe self-termination and miscarriage methods at home.
- Supports measures that require insurance companies and state/federal programs to provide coverage for critical reproductive healthcare needs, including contraception and abortion.
- Supports measures that protect abortion providers, aids, and anyone traveling from areas where abortion is currently banned.
- Supports equitable access to contraception for all.
- Supports ending oppressive barriers such mandatory counseling, medically unnecessary repeat visits, wait periods, and similar barriers that make it difficult for women to access services.
- Supports the repeal of unnecessary restrictions to abortion access, such as limits on the number of clinics or restricting abortion services to doctors only, etc.
- Add an Equal Rights Amendment to the Minnesota Constitution through a ballot measure passed by popular vote.
- Enact the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment as the 28th Amendment to the United States Constitution.