December 18, 1937
|Died||June 6, 2014 (aged 76)|
|Alma mater||Northwestern University|
Karen DeCrow (née Lipschultz; December 18, 1937 – June 6, 2014) was an American attorney, author, and activist and feminist. She was also a strong supporter of equal rights for men in child custody decisions, arguing for a "rebuttable presumption" of shared custody after divorce. She also asserted that men as well as women should be allowed the decision not to become a parent.
Karen Lipschultz was born in Chicago, Illinois at the end of 1937.
After a brief first marriage, she married her second husband, Roger DeCrow, a computer scientist, in 1967.
She joined the National Organization for Women in 1969, and that same year she ran for mayor of the city of Syracuse, New York, becoming the first female mayoral candidate in the history of New York. Also in 1969, she and Faith Seidenberg entered the all-male establishment McSorley’s Old Ale House and were refused service. They sued for discrimination. The case decision made the front page of The New York Times on June 26, 1970. The suit, Seidenberg v. McSorleys' Old Ale House (1970, United States District Court, S. D. New York) established that, as a public place, the ale house could not violate the Equal Protection Clause of the United States Constitution.
After entering law school, she earned her Juris Doctor from Syracuse University College of Law in 1972—the only woman in the class of 1972. In 1972, she was a part of the Ms. magazine campaign: “We Have Had Abortions” which called for an end to "archaic laws" limiting reproductive freedom, they encouraged women to share their stories and take action.
DeCrow was elected president of the National Organization for Women from 1974 to 1977, during which time she led campaigns to ensure that collegiate sports would be included under the scope of Title IX, pressured NASA to recruit women as astronauts, oversaw the opening of a new NOW Action Center in Washington, D.C. and the establishment of NOW's National Task Force on Battered Women/Household Violence, and participated in a tour of over 80 public debates with antifeminist activist Phyllis Schlafly over the Equal Rights Amendment.
She was the author of several books, including The Young Woman’s Guide to Liberation (1971) and Sexist Justice—How Legal Sexism Affects You (1975). In 2009, she was inducted into the National Women's Hall of Fame. DeCrow described her ultimate goal as "a world in which the gender of a baby will have little to no relevance in future pursuits and pleasures—personal, political, economic, social and professional." Toward that end, DeCrow was a supporter of shared parenting (joint legal and shared physical custody) of children when parents divorce. Her position on joint custody was criticized by some in the National Organization for Women: "I've become a persona non grata because I've always been in favor of joint custody," DeCrow said.
|Non-profit organization positions|
Wilma Scott Heide
| President of the National Organization for Women