Carole De Saram (born February 27, 1939) is an American feminist and women's rights activist. She is the former president of the New York chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW). She was an advocate for women's equality through intersectionality with economics.
Early life and education
De Saram was born on February 27, 1939. She grew up and was educated in New York before moving to the Tribeca area while working on Wall Street.
In 1964, De Saram sent a full-page letter to Procter & Gamble stating disapproval of an advertisement for Tide and that she would try another brand. In response, she received a full-page letter reply and the company pulled the ad.
After earning her Bachelor of Arts in Political Science and Economics from Columbia University, she earned a job at Chemical Bank as a computer analyst. De Saram was also appointed by Chemical Bank to Assistant Vice President.
While working on Wall Street, a coworker informed De Saram of a National Organization for Women (NOW) meeting in New York. The meeting took place in the basement of a church as no other place would rent to the women. As a result, she participated in a march down Fifth Avenue in 1970 for women's rights. As she got more involved, De Saram focused on ending credit discrimination against females on the basis of their marital status. As part of her campaign, she led a protest that shut down the American Stock Exchange to fight against unequal pay for women. She also caused the closure of a Citibank branch by encouraging women to close accounts with them. Upon seeing this, the bank president shut the doors and made all women line up in order to close accounts. De Saram and female protestors held banners outside the bank which was caught on film and used in a movie. As a result of NOW's pressure, Citibank changed their terminology around women and actively campaigned directly to women.
In 1974, De Saram was elected president of the New York chapter of NOW and called a hearing for the New York State Human Rights Commission regarding the practice of firing pregnant women and denying them benefits.
De Saram eventually left the bank in 1981 to serve in Mayor Ed Koch's administration as New York City's Commissioner of the Treasury.
In 2009, De Saram resigned as chairperson of Community Board 1's Tribeca Committee but remained on the board.