Over the course of four-day gathering, participants debated the 26 resolutions. Among the speakers who attended were Betty Ford, Lady Bird Johnson, Maya Angelou, and Coretta Scott King. The conference was chaired by Bella Abzug.
There was also a counter-conference of conservative women led by Phyllis Schlafly. It was held at a different location and attracted around 15,000 participants. Its purpose was to promote traditional, pro-family values and as such was anti-feminist. Participants opposed lesbian rights, legal abortion, and the Equal Rights Amendment.
As stated above, the conference produced the National Plan of Action which was delivered to Congress in March 1978. President Carter soon established the National Advisory Committee for Women and the Senate passed a three-year extension for ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment (35 states ratified it up to that point, three short of the required 38). This extension was considered a significant achievement (the amendment ultimately failed in 1982). Thus, despite the counter-conference and the heated debates that ensued, the conference was an important milestone in the women's movement.