National Women's Law Center

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National Women's Law Center
FounderMarcia Greenberger
FocusAdvancing the progress of women and girls
Key people
Fatima Goss-Graves, President and CEO, Marcia Greenberger and Nancy Duff Campbell, Presidents Emerita

The National Women's Law Center (NWLC) is a United States non-profit organization founded by Marcia Greenberger in 1972 and based in Washington, D.C. The Center advocates for women's rights through litigation and policy initiatives. It began when female administrative staff and law students at the Center for Law and Social Policy demanded that their pay be improved, that the center hire female lawyers, that they no longer be expected to serve coffee, and that the center create a women's program.[1] Marcia Greenberger was hired in 1972 to start the program and Nancy Duff Campbell joined her in 1978.[1] In 1981, the two decided to turn the program into the separate National Women's Law Center.[1][2] Marcia Greenberger and Nancy Duff Campbell stepped down as co-presidents July 1, 2017 and NWLC named Fatima Goss Graves President and CEO to succeed them.[3]


Fatima Goss Graves, President and CEO, speaking about the Time's Up movement at the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival

The history of Nation Women's Law Center originated with secretaries who were employed with the Center of Law and Social Policy (CLASP), wanting higher pay, an increase in women staff employment, the initiation of a women's organization, and to no longer feel responsible for serving the coffee in the morning. After the establishment of the National Women's Law Center (NWLC), the female organization they created entitled, the Women's Rights Project, found fault in a standard company policy. The issue was concerned with pregnant women being deprived access to disability coverage. The acknowledgment of this flawed procedure essentially aided the vote of the Pregnancy Discrimination Act. The center has been developing for over 40 years and continues to make contributions today.


The National Women's Law Center found discrepancies with girls being given inadequate representation within the athletic departments in school districts including Deer Valley Unified School District (AZ), the Wake County (NC) Public Schools, Columbus (OH) City Schools, the Houston Independent School District and the Irvine Unified School District. With the help of the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights, it is mandatory for these districts to give an assessment to all students and provide athletic opportunity accordingly.

The NWLC advocates for fair pay and has helped achieve an increase in minimum wage through a Presidential Executive Order and legislation in Connecticut, Minnesota, Hawaii, Maryland, and West Virginia.

The NWLC has solidified laws enforcing fair treatment and accommodations for pregnant workers in Delaware, New Jersey, West Virginia, Illinois, Minnesota and D.C. Along with this, the NWLC assured the revocation of a Peace Corps policy in which discontinued any pregnant women from volunteering after four months of pregnancy, unless supervisors could anticipate effective service after childbirth.

The NWLC contributed to the increase in women judges by compelling the Senate to approve key nominations, all while raising awareness of the significance of female participation in the Judiciary.

The NWLC aided the security of a $1.5 billion investment focused on early learning in the FY 2014 spending bill, along with helping pass reauthorization of the Child Care and Development Block Grant.

The NWLC secured a new federal rule to improve transparency about the rate of sexual assault and the policies, procedures, and preventative programs to address it, and securing improvements in enforcement of Title IX sexual assault and harassment cases.


The organization focuses on child care and early learning, education and Title IX, health care and reproductive rights, courts and judges, LGBTQ equality, military, poverty and economic security, racial and ethnic justice, tax and budget, and workplace justice.

The National Women's Law Center filed an amicus curiae brief in the 1996 Supreme Court case United States v. Virginia, which concerned the male-only admission policy of the Virginia Military Institute.[4]


  1. ^ a b c Naili, Hajer (2012-01-04). "21 Leaders 2012 - Seven Who Leverage Power". Women's eNews. Retrieved 2015-07-10.
  2. ^ "Marcia D. Greenberger, Co-President | National Women's Law Center". Archived from the original on 2015-07-11. Retrieved 2015-07-10.
  3. ^ "NWLC announces leadership transition".
  4. ^ Epstein, Lee; Walker, Thomas G. (2012). Constitutional Law for a Changing America: Rights, Liberties, and Justice. Sage. p. 18. ISBN 1-4522-8926-3.
  • "History of the National Women's Law Center." National Women's Law Center. N.p.,n.d. Web.21 October 2015.
  • "OCR Resolves Five NWLC Title 1X." National Women's Law Center. N.p.,n.d. Web. 32 October 2015.

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