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National NOW Conference: 2009

General Information

Conference Facilities

The 2009 National NOW Conference is being held at the Sheraton Indianapolis Hotel & Suites in Indianapolis, Indiana. All official Conference events and sessions will take place at the Sheraton on the Lobby Level and Second Floor.

Plenaries and general events will be held in Plaza Ballroom. Registration and credentialing are at the Plaza Lobby Pillars. All workshops, issue hearings and caucuses will be held in Suites 1- 15. Entertainment will be in the Clearwater Ballroom. Should you have any questions, visit the information table next to registration. A map of the hotel is available in the program book.

Exhibit Hall

Exhibitors are located in the Plaza Ballroom Foyer and Suties 8,9,10 across from the Plaza Ballroom. We encourage all registrants to support feminist merchants and allied organizations and shop at the NOW store. A list of exhibitors are in the program book.


On-site childcare is provided during this Conference free of charge if requested in advance. In order to adequately prepare for childcare, we must receive pre-notification of childcare needs. The childcare room number is available only to parents or guardians at the information booth and at registration.

Childcare offered during all scheduled Conference events, excluding entertainment-see the Agenda for exact times. NOW has a practice of providing cost-free childcare at our annual conferences, special summits and board meetings with advance request.

Meals and snacks are not provided; parents or guardians must pick up their children for lunch and dinner, which allows caregivers to take meal breaks as well. If you have any further questions regarding childcare, please check at the information booth.


NOW is committed to making this Conference as accessible as possible. ASL interpreters are available for plenary sessions, and participants who need sign interpretation can be seated in the front rows of the plenary. ASL interpreters will be available at workshops if requested in advance. Please check with the Conference Office if you or someone you know is in need of a large print program book.

Please note that in consideration of those with allergies and respiratory problems, the 2009 National NOW Conference is a scent-free environment. Participants are asked to use unscented products in lieu of scented toiletries and detergents, and to refrain from wearing perfumes and colognes.

Political Institute

The NOW PACs will present the Political Institute. Workshops in the Political Institute are designed to enhance our ability to elect more feminists to office at every level. The Institute will build skills to prepare activists to run for office and to provide trained organizers to work in elections.

Conference Guidelines

The following guidelines are intended to create an atmosphere most conductive to achieving the goals of the Conference:

  1. Every person participating in the Conference is of equal worth and value.
  2. All opinions are valued and needed.
  3. Each person is to speak in "I" terms, e.g. "I think...," "I feel...," "I believe..."
  4. Listen to one another with respect. It is important to understand that people are talking about what is true for them. Points may arise upon which we may not all agree, but we should disagree respectfully.
  5. NO ZAPS! Zaps are personal and personalized digs.
  6. If there are things which you do not understand or know, please ask questions and seek clarification.
  7. Stay focused and on track!
  8. In small group work, individuals are to report back only once until all others have had an opportunity to do so.
  9. HAVE FUN!

Note: A glossary is provided in the program book explaining all the different kinds of sessions at this year's conference.

Session Glossary

Plenary Sessions

Plenary Sessions are meetings of all participants for Conference programs and to attend to the business of the organization. In Plenary Sessions we hold the opening and closing ceremonies, present awards and hear the Conference's featured speakers and performers.

We devote the final plenaries on Sunday to setting policy for the organization. Delegates will vote on resolutions passed in Issue Hearings or submitted by petition. The work of the Conference culminates in the closing ceremonies at the end of Sunday's sessions.


Workshops are interactive sessions focusing on organizing for women's rights. Presenters and participants will share information, exchange ideas and discuss action plans. The presenter's role unlike that in a traditional workshop, is to make brief opening comments and then to inspire dialogue and creative problem-solving. The goal of these sessions is to send participants home with new inspiration and tactics to organize in their own communities and mobilize local chapter activists.

Special Constituency Caucuses

Special Constituency Caucuses provide a time for feminists who share a common interest to get together. This offers an excellent opportunity to meet others from around the country who share specific concerns. These Caucuses also provide a forum for discussion of resolutions before they are introduced on Sunday.

Pre-assigned caucuses are those requested in advance, and additional space is available for impromptu caucuses. We also encourage small groups to caucus at breakfast and during dinner breaks.

Issue Hearings

NOW's Annual Conference is the supreme governing body of NOW, and the resolutions passed by the Conference form the basis of organizational policy.

The sole purpose of an Issue Hearing is to develop and produce resolutions for consideration by the body on Sunday. NOW members can bring ideas to the Issue Hearings, even if the ideas are not in resolution form. However, due to time constraints, it is preferable to have proposed language prepared in advance. The ideas will be incorporated into the resolution(s) coming out of that session, if accepted by the majority of the participants. The hearing format allows for combining similar ideas/ resolutions, and editing and general refining before the resolutions come before the Conference body on Sunday. Only two resolutions may be voted out of each Issue Hearing.

Regional Caucuses

Regional Caucuses provide an opportunity for regional activists to get together. Since this is an election conference, the candidates for national officer teams will circulate (by office sought) through the regional caucuses to make statements and answer questions from members of the region. Regional issues, actions and organizing plans may also be discussed, as well as resolutions and other conference business.

NOW has nine regions: Northeast, Mid-Atlantic, Southeast, Mid-South, South Central, Great Lakes, Prairie States, Northwest and Southwest.

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