Women’s History and Resource Center’s Annual Women’s History Month Event!

March 08, 2018

Please save the date for the Women’s History and Resource Center’s Annual Women’s History Month Event!

The Women’s History Month event will be held on March 8, 2018 from 2:00-4:00PM. The event will include a talk, followed by a question and answer session and a brief reception. Our speaker this year will be Dr. Marjorie Spruill. Dr. Spruill is currently a Professor Emeritus at the University of South Carolina, and specializes in women’s and gender history and the history of the American South. Dr. Spruill will be discussing her most recent book, Divided We Stand: The Battle Over Women’s Rights and Family Values That Polarized American Politics. Divided We Stand focuses on the women’s movements of the 1970s, particularly the federally-sponsored International Women’s Year (IWY) conferences of 1977, in which GFWC participated.

GFWC has continually been a faithful supporter and advocate for women’s rights and equality. Over the decades, this support has played out through varying forms and with a myriad of voices. For women across the country, and within GFWC, the 1970s developed a sharp focus on women’s equality and welcomed increased activism and pressure for the recognition of women’s rights.  International Past President Louise Brown remarked that “whether or not you are an admirer of the Women’s Lib movement, one thing is indisputable: it has served to focus an increased amount of attention on women, their rights and prerogatives, their abilities to measure up in a competitive working society.”

In 1975 some of that focus turned to the United Nation’s International Women’s Year, which launched a series women focused conferences around the globe. President Gerald Ford issued Executive Order 11832 which crated a National Commission on the Observance of International Women’s Year “to promote equality between men and women.” Although GFWC deliberated over our participation, International Past President Margaret Arnold urged that “On page 6 of the IWY’s 380 page report, with 115 recommendations, the GFWC is mentioned as a forerunner of the women’s movement… long before Betty Friedan was heard from. We must not forget our longtime role in the women’s movement, or the achievement it marks”

Dr. Spruill will discuss the significance of the IWY in both the past and present. Spruill argues that the great debates of the 1970s over women’s rights and social roles were transformative in American politics and policies. Reflecting on Divided We Stand, Gloria Steinem has commented that “[W]e will gain courage, knowledge, and tactics from reading about the historic National Women’s Conference and the following decades of meetings, struggles, and campaigns that allowed women to decolonize our minds and begin to express ourselves as unique human beings.”

We hope you will join us for this very special event!


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