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Author accuses women's groups of racketeering
Kimberly Schuld, author of a guide to women's
organizations, says feminist groups threaten
corporations and schools with legal pressure and public
embarrassment if they don't contribute money and alter
policy to their liking. (10/23/02)
WASHINGTON — A researcher of women's organizations is accusing
bedrock feminist groups of threatening legal pressure and public
embarrassment of corporations and schools if they don't contribute
millions of dollars and alter policy to their liking.
Author Kimberly Schuld, who recently published a Guide to Feminist
Organizations for the Capital Research Center, breaks down the
membership, personnel and funding of nearly 40 established women's
organizations, think tanks and health groups.
"They use each other, they are very closely aligned and they don't
work independently," Schuld told Foxnews.com. "The MO of these
feminist organizations is to threaten with lawsuits and threaten with
embarrassment. They don't care about women, they care about their own
The groups targeted by Schuld's critique, including the National
Organization for Women, the National Council of Women's
Organizations, and the National Women's Law Center, dismiss Schuld's
claims as conservative paranoia, and say all they are doing is
fighting for issues important to women like child care, Social
Security and equality.
"If we did not exist, [conservatives] would have nothing better to
do, that's all they exist for, to tear down what we do," said Martha
Burk, head of NCWO, which is currently engaged in a campaign against
the men-only Augusta Golf Club in Georgia.
Burk said her coalition has never threatened a lawsuit or a boycott
and it does not take corporate dollars.
"[Schuld] doesn't know what she is talking about. Our agenda does
help women, pushing our agenda is what we're all about and our agenda
is for equal access for women in our society," she said.
Schuld contends that it's more about money than principle and says
several major corporations have found through experience that it is
easier to upgrade their policies beyond existing federal and state
law than to tangle with the likes of groups like NOW.
"[Women] have workplace protections up the wazoo, we are probably the
most protected class in the country." Schuld said. "But this is just
a shakedown over public relations. The last thing [corporations] need
is a story in The New York Times saying their corporation is being
For instance, Schuld said, in 1999, NOW-NYC activists pressured more
than 900 women employees to sue Merrill Lynch for gender
discrimination on the job. The stock trading company settled with
individual plaintiffs, and Merrill Lynch donated $25,000 to the NOW
Legal Defense and Education Fund in 2000.
"Sometimes the law doesn't work perfectly, and sometimes we're just
pointing out that rights are being violated. No money is exchanged,"
said Nancy Duff Campbell, co-president of the National Women's Law
Center. "I disagree that the law is perfect and nothing needs to be
NWLC received $158,000 in legal fees in 2000, as well as $3.8 million
in corporate, public and government funding.
Corporate dollars don't always stop the lawsuits, however. Merrill
Lynch gave $10,000 each to NOWLDEF and NWLC in 1998. Donors like May
Department Stores, which operates Lord & Taylor, has given money to
NOW for many years. In recent years they have been sued several
times, including by a male employee who wanted diaper-changing
stations in the men's restrooms.
Officials at NOW did not return calls for comment. Between NOWLDEF,
NOW and the NOW Foundation, the operation raised more than $12
million in revenues in 2000, though membership has been in decline
for a decade, said Schuld.
Another breeding ground for lawsuits is on college campuses, where
schools are required under federal Title IX statutes to give women
equal access to athletic programs in public institutions that receive
Under the threat of legal action, schools have cut longstanding
swimming, football and baseball teams. Brown University is currently
engaged in a lawsuit over female athletic participation rates -- even
though it has more teams for women than for men on campus.
Schuld said the women's groups are in cahoots to "basically throw the
fishnet out for plaintiffs" on campuses across the country,
encouraging girls to seek legal assistance if they feel spurned by
Campbell said she would not describe it that way.
"We are about trying to advance the legal rights for women and that
includes educational programs about what their legal rights are.
Women do have legal rights. They come to us to ask what their rights
are," she said.
Please note: It is organizations such as NOW that do a huge part in
making THIS group needed. The Violence Against Women Act was written
by the NOW legal department. It is "suppose" to be gender neutral
but it does not provide one dime to help men. This is in violation
of the United States Constitution in that it does not provide equal
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JUNE is Domestic Violence Against Men Awareness Month