When Congress established the National Commission on the Observance of International Women's Year, it mandated the commission to, in part, "assess the progress that has been made toward insuring equality for all women (and) to set goals for the elimination of all barriers to the full and equal participation of women in all aspects of American life . . ."
To that end, 1,442 delegates to the National Women's Conference meeting here will vote on a 26-point National Plan of Action and submit the approved recommendations to the President ard the Congress.
The four most controversial proposals, concerning the issues of abortion, day care, pay rights and the Equal Rights Amendment, are titled Reproductive Freedom, Child Care, Sexual Preferences and the Equal Rights Amendment, respectively.
The proposals will be dealt with in alphabetical order as follows:
Arts and Humanities - The President should require equal opportunity in awarding grants, judging competitions, and appointing managers to high-level posts in cultural institutions.
Baftered Women - Federal, state and local governments should undertake to eliminate violence in the home and provide succor, shelter and legal services for victims.
Business - The President should act to include women in all government efforts to assits minority-owned businesses.
Child Abuse - Federal efforts to prevent the abuse of children should be continued and programs should be devised to provide protection for children and help for parents.
Child Care - The federal government should assume a major role in directing and providing comprehensive, voluntary, flexible hours, bias-free, non-sexist quality child care and development programs" open to all, regardless of income. Outside groups have attacked this as unwarranted federal intrusion in the child-rearing process; many women see it as necessary if they are to pursue employment while also being mothers.
Credit - The government should step up enforcement of the federal equal credit laws.
Disabled Women - Federal laws should be enforced and expanded to assure the entry of the handicapped into mainstream American life.
Education - There should be greater enforcement of anti-discrimination laws in educational programs, sports and the granting of scholarships; bilingual programs should be expanded.
Elective and Appointive Office - The nation should commit itself to increasing the number of women in political offices, and on high courts.
Employment - A national war should be waged on discrimination in hiring and promotions, and veterans' preferential treatment in hiring should be curbed.
Equal Rights Amendment - The Equal Rights Amendment to the Constitution, forbidding discrimination based on sex, should be ratified, as the cornerstone of efforts for equality. A minority of the delegates and a number of outside groups oppose the amendment on the grounds it will take necessary legal protection from women and lea to undesirable social situations.
Health - The governemnt should assume a larger role in promoting health and safety.
Homemakers - Displaced homemakers shoul receive help to become self-sufficient; homemakers should be included in Social Security, and divorce laws should be revised.
Insurance - The states should prevent discrimination against women in insurance policies and benefits.
International Affairs - Women should be included more in the formulation and exucution of foreign policy (this list of recommendations is the longest of the 26).
Media - Women should be employed in all job categories, especially policymaking ones, and sex stereotyping should be eliminated.
Minority Women - Efforts should be undertaken for women who suffer double discrimination.
Offenders - Discrimination and abuse against women prisoners should be eradicated and there should be special consideration for mothers.
Older Women - The nation should provide sufficient social and health services to allow elderly women to live with dignity and security.
Rape - The nation should amend its laws to broaden the definition of rape and eliminate legal burdens on rape victims that do not exist for victims of other crimes.
Reproductive Freedom - Abortion is a righthand funds should be provided to the poor for abortion, child birth and family planning. (Some sate delegations, as well as outsiders, oppose abortion as murder.)
Rural Women - Inequality of opportunity for rural women should be eliminated, farm wives shoul have equal ownership rights.
Sexual preference - Discrimination against homosexuals should be eliminated and laws restricting women behavior reformed. Many women see this being not a women's movement issue and hurting this cause; outside the conference, some groups see homosexuality as immoral sickness. Lesbians see it as necessary if they are to adopt children and enjoy civil rights.)
Statistics - Greater efforts should be made to collect data assessing the impact to various programs and practices and women.
Welfare - There should be a minimum guaranteed income for all Americans and a floor on welfare payments.
Women's Department - There should should be a Cabinet-level Women's Department to guarantee equal opportunity for women.