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Four Decades After Houston Convention, Where Do Women's Rights Stand?

Jo Freeman jofreeman.com/photos/IWY1977.html
Between 17,000 and 22,000 people took part in the 1977 National Women's Conference in Houston, Texas.

Forty years ago this week, the often overlooked 1977 National Women's Conference started with a torch relay starting at Seneca Falls, New York – where the First Women's Rights Convention was held in 1848 – and ended in Houston.  

The 1977 Houston convention brought together 2,000 delegates from across the country to work on action plans for a multitude of issues affecting women in America: reproductive rights, child care funding, sexual orientation, education reform, as well as the rights of disabled, minority, and aging women.  

At least 15,000 observers also joined the four-day event, including feminist icons Gloria Steinem, Coretta Scott King and Barbara Jordan, as well as First Ladies Rosalynn Carter, Lady Bird Johnson and Betty Ford.

What have been the biggest victories and defeats for women's rights in the U.S. since 1977? Is it time to bring back the drive for the Equal Rights Amendment

Credit Jan Ross Piedad/Texas Public Radio
At TPR studios, Gloria Primera opens an event invitation from the 1977 National Women's Conference in Houston.

Credit Jan Ross Piedad/Texas Public Radio
One of the buttons circulated during the 1977 National Women's Conference in Houston.

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David Martin Davies can be reached at dmdavies@tpr.org and on Twitter at @DavidMartinDavi
Jan Ross Piedad Sakian is TPR’s News Operations Producer. In this role, she develops strategy on collaborative and digital initiatives for the station. Since 2016, Jan Ross has served in a coordinating capacity for TPR’s state and national partners, including The Texas Newsroom.