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Special Collections and Archives: Through the Decades with GSU Women: 1970-1979

This timeline chronicles significant events of women at Georgia State University.


Note: Dates of significance for Georgia Sate University are shown in boldface print.


There are over 6,000 women at GSU, out of 15,500 total students.

Georgia finally officially ratifies the 19th amendment (guaranteeing American women the right to vote) which it had rejected in 1919. Betty Friedan organizes the first Women's Equality Day, August 26, to mark the 50th anniversary of women's right to vote.

North American Indian Women's Association is founded. The Comision Feminil Mexicana Nacion is organized to promote Latina rights.

San Diego State College in California establishes the first official, integrated women's studies program. The first large-scale women's studies course, "Evolution of the Female Personality" is offered at Cornell.

Women's wages fall to 59 cents for every dollar earned by men. Although nonwhite women earn even less, the gap is closing between white women and women of color.

The ERA is reintroduced into Congress. The Women's Equity Action League files suit against several universities for sexual discrimination.


After an almost forty year association with GSU, Dean Nell H. Trotter retires on July 1st and Dr. Jean Thomas (formerly an Assistant Dean of Women) is appointed the new Dean of Women.

The non-partisan National Women's Political Caucus is founded to encourage women to run for public office.


Dean Jean Thomas visits childcare centers in Russia to compare delivery of childcare with that in Atlanta.

The first emergency rape crisis hotline opens in Washington, D.C. By 1976, 400 independent rape crisis centers operate nationwide offering counseling, self-defense classes, and support groups.

Congress extends the Equal Pay Act to include executives, administrative and professional personnel; passes the Equal Employment Opportunity Act, giving the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission power to take legal action to enforce its rulings; passes Title IX of the Education Amendment to counter sex discrimination in federally funded education programs.

Introduced in 1923, the ERA is finally passed by Congress on March 22nd and sent to the states for ratification. Georgia does not ratify it.

Barbara Jordan (D-TX) becomes the first Black woman elected to Congress from a Southern state.

The Women's Studies Newsletter (later Women's Studies Quarterly) begins publication at Queen's College of the City University of New York.


In January Dr. Jean Thomas chosen Atlanta Woman of the Year in Education for 1972. Dean Thomas, perhaps building on Dean Trotter's 1967 idea, directs "Your Next Step: A Decision-Making Workshop," focused on the needs of women returning to the workforce. The program is developed by Gail L. Bell, Kathleen D. Crouch, Roberta P. Golden, and Deborah Stoudemayer of GSU's Counseling Center and it is funded by the School of Urban Life.

The Feminist Action Alliance (FAA) is founded in Atlanta.

Billie Jean King scores a great victory for female athletes when she beats Bobby Riggs in "The Battle of the Sexes," a televised tennis tournament watched by nearly 48,000,000 people.

The National Black Feminist Organization is established, and 9to5: National Association of Working Women is founded.

The Civil Service Commission eliminates height and weight requirements that have discriminated against women applying for police, park service, and firefighting jobs. The Office of Federal Contract Compliance issues guidelines prohibiting sex discrimination in employment by any federal contractor and requiring affirmative action to correct existing imbalances.

U.S. military is integrated when the women-only branches are eliminated.

In a suit brought by NOW, the Supreme Court affirms the EEOC's 1968 ruling against sex-segregated help wanted ads in newspapers.


Dean Jean Thomas receives federal funding under Title One (1965 Higher Education Act) to present seminars based on "Your Next Step" state-wide. Her proposal for it, called "It Should Have Happened Yesterday," is re-funded with more money the following year.

GSU participates in MARCC (Multi-Area Rape Crisis Council), sponsoring its first workshop and agreeing to sponsor six more for police, hospital workers, members of the surrounding and other communities, business owners, and high school students.

Hundreds of colleges are offering women's studies courses; there are over 80 full programs in place and 230 women's centers on college campuses provide support services for women students.

MANA, the Mexican-American Women's National Association, organizes; by 1990, sixteen states have chapters with members in 36.

The Women's Educational Equity Act, providing assistance for ensuring gender equity, funds the development of nonsexist teaching materials and model programs that encourage full educational opportunities for girls and women; the Equal Credit Opportunity Act forbids sex discrimination in all consumer credit practices and is extended to commercial credit in 1988.

Ella Grasso of Connecticut becomes the first woman to win election as governor in her own right.

The number of women in public office begins to rise. Women now hold 8% of state legislative seats and 3% (16 seats) in Congress. By 1986: 14.8% of legislative seats, and 4% (24 seats) in Congress. In 1997: 21% of legislative seats, 12% (62 seats) in Congress.


Two new assistant professors, Valerie Fennell (Anthropology) and Diane Fowlkes (Political Science) meet regularly to discuss women's studies topics; other faculty join the conversation and the Women's Studies Group is born. Chairs for the next two decades include Valerie Fennell, Paula Dressel, Carolyn Denard, Diane Fowlkes, and Linda Bell.

Dean Jean Thomas becomes president (1975-1977) of the AAUW (American Association of University Women).

Georgia Commission on the Status of Women's Barriers to Female Equality in Employment in Georgia includes comments provided by Dr. Kay Crouch.

The United Nations sponsors First International Conference on Women in Mexico. An International Women's Year address and briefing on the Mexico City conference by the Director of the U.S. Center for IWY is held at GSU, where task forces for implementing plans in Georgia are set up. Dr. Crouch is temporary convener for Georgia's International Women's Year.


Suzanne Donner (DBA, 1978) is president of Feminist Action Alliance and chair of the Georgia Women's Forum which is sponsored by the Governor's Office and twelve women's organizations with additional federal funding. Its series of conferences on women's issues will take place across the state.

The Alliance for Displaced Homemakers is founded to address issues of divorced and widowed homemakers seeking employment.

Working Women: The National Association for Office Workers is formed. In four years it has over 10,000 members.

Organization of Pan Asian American Women is founded to impact public policy.

U.S. military academies open to women students, as mandated by Public Law 94-106 which required admission of women to begin in 1976.

A "Ratify the ERA in '77 Rally and Conference," hosted by the GSU Women's Coalition, is held at GSU.

The United Nations "Decade for Women" begins.

Title IX is in effect (see 1972). It opens the way for women's increased participation in athletics programs and professional schools and enrollments in both leap. Dr. Kay Couch is made Title IX Coordinator for GSU.

The Women's Studies Group forms three task forces to investigate and focus on how women's studies at GSU might look, how it might be developed and what the level of student interest might be.

Patricia Campbell, assistant professor of education and co-author of "Little Girls' Place, Little Boy's World" is chair of ACLU of Georgia's Women's Rights Committee.


Dr. Kay Crouch officially becomes Georgia chair of International Women's Year. Dr. Jean Thomas becomes Dean for Student Development.

The Women's Studies Group, rather than attempt to form a separate department, decides to develop women's studies courses in various departments to bring them into the curriculum.

The SGA Women's Culture and Life Committee and the GSU Women's Coalition host a "Celebrate International Women's Day" March 8th.

The First National Women's Conference is held in Houston, chaired by Bella Abzug. 130,000 women attend preparatory meetings held in every state to draft recommendations for a national Plan of Action and to elect delegates to the conference. The delegates - the most diverse group ever elected in the U.S. - publish a 25-point Plan of Action.

The National Women's Studies Association is formed to promote the field's development. By 1978 there are over 15,000 courses and more than 275 nationwide programs. By 1992 there are 670 programs.

Between 1969 and 1977, the Supreme Court issues full opinions on 21 women's rights cases.


Dr. Kay Crouch is named Vice President for Academic Services and becomes GSU's first female academic vice president. Alice Young is named Assistant Dean for Student Services.

New women's studies courses are developed within established departments at GSU including "Women in Cross-Cultural Perspective" (Anthropology), "Philosophical Perspectives on Woman" (later "women"; Philosophy), and "Politics of Sex" (Political Science).

Proceedings of the Conference: Age and Identity Issues of Adult Women, held April 28th at GSU, is published. Funded by an Urban Life Center Public Service grant, Co-Directors are Susan Katrin and Pauline Clance and Associate Coordinators are Patricia Campbell and Valerie Fennell.

At the request of Dr. Kay Crouch, Dorothy J. Tracy (B.A. 1967) develops and teaches a financial planning course for women. Offered three times per year through the Continuing Education program, Tracy teaches the course into the mid-1980s.

For the first time in history, more women than men enter college. 100,000 march in support of the Equal Rights Amendment in Washington, D.C. The Older Women's League (OWL) is founded to address age-and-gender discrimination issues including health insurance and retirement benefits.


GSU is awarded a three-year grant funded by the Women's Educational Equity Act Program of the U.S. Department of Education for a project called "A Model for Gender-Balancing the General Curriculum in High Education," Coordinators are Diane L. Fowlkes, Political Science, and Charlotte S. McClure, Comparative Literature. The Project will involve faculty of Atlanta University and include a conference, art exhibit, films and discussions.

The Ohoyo Resource Center is founded to advance the status of American Indian/Alaska Native women.

The National Association for Black Women Entrepreneurs is formed by Marilyn French-Hubbard to offer advice, training, and networking for black businesswomen.

Rape crisis centers in 20 states join forces in the National Coalition Against Sexual Assault.

Artist Judy Chicago's "The Dinner Party," honoring notable women in history opens in San Francisco


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