THE BIG PITCH: Should the National Organization for Women befocused on 'sending Bush back to Texas'?

LISA KOVITZ, President, Women Executives in PR

NOW needs to do substantive tangible things to raise awareness about the

issues important to its members. An awards banquet, seminars, lectures

and breakfasts are all concrete and could give the group a focus. The

group was formed during the 1960s when not as many women were in the

workplace so NOW must also reexamine its mission statement and see what

issues are still relevant to women in the 21st century. Creating

programs that its members find accessible, stating clearly what it is

attempting to do so that the public will have a better understanding of

the group's purpose and working to fulfill its mission statements can

all help NOW stay relevant and remain focused on its goal.

CATHY RENNA, News media director, GLAAD

I don't think NOW is going to have a difficult time staying in the

national spotlight. On every issue, whether it's the battle over

reproductive rights, Supreme Court nominees, stem cell research or

healthcare for families, it opposes President Bush. The group has

actually become more invigorated than when Bill Clinton was in office.

That's because whenever a group like NOW feels threatened or passionate

about a subject it becomes energized. To ride the wave of momentum, NOW

could build a more visible grassroots campaign and work on getting its

progressive base mobilized. Members of the group should campaign, write

letters and voice their opinions on all the issues they care about.

JOYCE YAEGER, Senior vice president, M Booth Associates.

The new president of NOW, Kim Gandy, should take a page from those

leaders who came to symbolize everything their organization stood for.

Leaders like Faye Wattleton, former president of Planned Parenthood,

Vartan Gregorian of Brown University and the New York Public Library,

and Lee Iacocca of Chrysler were all willing and prepared to step

forward, speak out and take a strong, visible stand on issues that

mattered and were central to their organizational mission. When you

heard and saw them, you immediately knew what they were representing.

Kim Gandy should use them as role models.

JAMIE MOELLER, Managing Director, global public affairs practice, Ogilvy

PR Worldwide

NOW was a trailblazer in the fight for women's rights - playing a lead

role in establishing the "women's movement." But the landscape has

changed as women have made great strides over the past 30 years. New

leadership and a new political scene give NOW an opportunity to gain

prominence in the media. To take advantage of this moment it needs to

reinforce its role as the champion of policies important to women and

families. Issues such as equal pay, the "glass ceiling," childcare,

family leave, long-term care and gun violence are critical to women and

their families. Focusing on these topics and offering pragmatic

solutions will help put NOW back in the spotlight. It will also help

position NOW as a leader among the progressive movement concerned about

the direction of the Bush Administration.

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