Activist and civil rights lawyer Karen DeCrow, who led the National Organization for Women in the 1970s, died Friday at her home near
Longtime friend Rowena Malamud said the cause of death was melanoma.
As president of NOW from 1974 to 1977, DeCrow pressured government agencies and corporations to hire more women and called on the federal
Malamud, the president of NOW's Greater Syracuse chapter, called DeCrow "a hero and a guide."
"Together, with a lot of other people, we helped to change history," Malamud said. "She was in the forefront of that."
Born Karen Lipschultz on Dec. 18, 1937, she grew up in Chicago and earned a degree in journalism from
She joined NOW in 1967, inspired by the pay inequality she saw in her own workplace. As president of the group, DeCrow advocated state ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment, passed by
She continued her advocacy after her presidency, representing women in gender discrimination disputes and writing a newspaper column.
According to the New York Times, her two marriages ended in divorce. She is survived by her sister, Claudia Lipschultz.