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Janesville man elected NOW chapter president

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ROCHELLE B. BIRKELO
October 7, 2011
— A Janesville man is the new leader of a Madison women's organization.

Dennis Goodenough, 65, was elected president of Wisconsin NOW's Madison chapter on Sept. 25


"It's a little unusual but it's not unheard of," said Karen Godshall, president of the state NOW organization. "We have at least one other chapter in the state (Milwaukee) that has as guy as president."


A self-employed green builder, Goodenough explained why he might have appealed to NOW, a group dedicated to making legal, political, social and economic change in society in an effort to eliminate sexism and oppression.


"Environmental issues and women's issues are closely related to world population," he said. "In my lifetime, world population will probably triple, putting a lot of extra strain on the planet's resources.


"I believe that's why we're having difficulty in the economy right nowóbecause we are stretching limited planetary resources, and world population is the biggest factor in all this. In societies where women have reproductive autonomy, birth rates go down."


Goodenough said he is working on initiatives aimed at getting his 200-plus chapter membership more involved.


"I'm still formulating ideas and am in the steepest part of the learning curve," he said.


Goodenough said he intends to write newspaper editorials to create awareness of NOW issues. He also plans to start discussions to help make women become equal citizens in society with equal pay.


"They do more of the work at home and at the office, and they're not represented equally in government," he said. "Some progress has been made, but we have a long way to go."


Godshall hopes Goodenough's enthusiasm will make him a good leader.


"I think his biggest task is going to be to get a core of really interested, diverse people, especially some younger women who are willing to put in the time," she said.


Goodenough providing a new perspective is another plus.


"I'm always interested to see new faces in the leadership core," Godshall said.



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