Judy Goldsmith

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Judy Goldsmith is an American feminist academic and activist. She was President of the National Organization for Women (NOW), largest feminist organization in the United States, from 1982 to 1985, and prior to this was an English professor.[1] She is also an Honorary Board member of the Veteran Feminists of America, based in Phoenix.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

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


She began her career as a college professor. Fifteen years later she became a leader in the National Organization for Women and moved to Washington, D.C.[3]

Elected to lead NOW in 1982, it was under her leadership that NOW succeeded in increasing the number of women serving in state legislatures. She also advocated a more partisan direction for the formerly more inclusive NOW and took liberal positions on issues such as Reaganomics. In 1982 Goldsmith and NOW controversially endorsed Frank Lautenberg, the male, Democratic Senate opponent of New Jersey 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, ultimately retiring in 2002, though she remains active even there after, and resides in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. 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