Judy Goldsmith

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Judy Goldsmith is an American feminist, academic, and activist. She served as president of the National Organization for Women (NOW) from 1982 to 1985, which at the time was the largest feminist organization in the United States; prior to this she was an English professor.[1]Goldsmith also served as an honorary board member of the Veteran Feminists of America, whose headquarters are based in Phoenix, Arizona.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Goldsmith was born in Wisconsin. After her parents divorced her mother worked in factories for twenty-five years to support her five children. After completing high school Goldsmith received a scholarship and went on to graduate from college. [3]


She began her career as a college professor, and fifteen years later she became a leader in the NOW and moved to Washington, D.C.[3]

In 1982 while Goldsmith was head of the NOW, the organization succeeded in increasing the number of women serving in state legislatures. Goldsmith advocated a more partisan direction for the formerly more inclusive NOW and adopted liberal positions on issues such as Reaganomics. During the same year, NOW controversially endorsed Frank Lautenberg, the male Democratic Senate opponent of New Jersey's Republican feminist Congresswoman, Millicent Fenwick, due to Fenwick's support of Reagan's economic agenda despite her pro-women's rights stances. Lautenberg defeated Fenwick by a narrow margin. Goldsmith believed that much discrimination had roots in economics and survival issues.[4] During her tenure she also worked with Coretta Scott-King on the 1983 march commemorating the 20th anniversary of the historic "March on Washington" by Martin Luther King, Jr.[3]

After her tenure as President of NOW she served in various leadership positions, including Dean of the University of Wisconsin–Fond du Lac, retiring in 2002, though she remains active. Today, the University awards the "Judy Goldsmith Young Woman Leadership Award" in her honor.[3]


External links[edit]

Preceded by
Eleanor Smeal
President of the National Organization for Women
1982 - 1985
Succeeded by
Eleanor Smeal