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Association for Faculty Women History


Establishment of the Association for Faculty Women (AFW)

Timeline of early events that promoted concerns of women and lead to the formation AFW:

1969: AFW had its origins in the Pullman Committee for Women, which was set up in 1969 to plan action programs on behalf of women. It functioned through subcommittees, which included one on academic women. Issues of concern included:

  • elimination of the nepotism rule at WSU,
  • establishment of women’s studies courses,
  • review of salary and promotion equity, and
  • establishment of a WSU Commission on the Status of Women.

1970: The first women’s studies course at WSU, which was developed by the Associated Women Students and the subcommittee on faculty women, was offered during the spring.

1971: A proposal for the creation of a WSU Commission on the Status of Women was submitted to President Glenn Terrell in the spring. It stated:

“Commissions on the status of women constitute official recognition of the particular treatment accorded women, the frequent injustices resulting from this treatment, and the potentialities for eliminating those injustices. It is for these purposes, as well as to facilitate the gathering of data necessary to make appropriate policy recommendations that we propose the appointment of a Commission on the Status of Women at WSU.”

In May 1971, President Terrell established the WSU Commission on the Status of Women with members representing faculty, staff, students, and administration.

The WSU nepotism rule was dropped in 1971.

1972: The WSU Commission on the Status of Women issued its first report, The Status of Faculty Women at WSU.

By 1972, Pullman had a local chapter of the National Organization for Women, which provided an effective means for addressing community, state, and national concerns.

1973: The first ever WSU salary equity review, which The Pullman Committee for Women had pushed for, was completed  and resulted in salary adjustments for some women ranging up to $6,000.

1975: By this time, many of the objectives of the Committee for Women were being met by other organizations. A member of the subcommittee on academic women had served on the Affirmative Action Council, a predecessor of the Affirmative Action Office. However, one of the most important functions of the subcommittee on academic women was to provide support and communication. The subcommittee on academic women had organized a Women’s Caucus which met weekly. The subcommittee continued to meet and finalized plans for the first formal meeting of the Faculty Women’s Committee (the group that later became AFW) in fall 1975.

The major purposes were:

1) to provide a means for faculty woken to become acquainted with each other

2) to share mutual interests, activities, and concerns, particularly as they relate to academic responsibilities of teaching and research at WSU

3) to provide a structure by which faculty women as an academic group can consider issues, give input and make recommendations to bodies such as the Commission on the Status of Women, the University Senate, and other committees and to the administration

4) to further professional growth of faculty women through special programs, state and national speakers and consultants.

The initial membership list had 35 names representing 14 WSU departments. Steering committee members were Carole Johnson, Julie Lutz, Betty P. Roberts, and Inga Kromann-Kelly, Chair.

During the first year, luncheons were held with gubernatorial candidate Dixie Lee Ray and with the Board of Regents. Other activities during AFW’s early years were to have its representatives routinely meet with candidates for administrative positions and with women interviewing for faculty positions.