The University Record, April 24, 2000

AWC video highlights U-M women’s struggle for equity over the years

By Amy Reyes
News and Information Services

In a newly released 24-minute documentary video on the Academic Women’s Caucus, the University’s foremost female faculty members and top administrators recall the struggle that led to the formation of the activist group, its accomplishments and the challenges that lie ahead.

The documentary, “Striving Toward Equity at the University of Michigan: 25 Years of the Academic Women’s Caucus,” is the first televised historical depiction of the formation of the group whose members lobbied for the hire and promotion of top female administrators, equitable salaries for female faculty and anti-discrimination policies within the University.

Prior to its official formation in the summer of 1975, women faculty and staff who would eventually make up the Caucus fought for equal rights, among such other issues as making the role of women faculty more visible. Since the group’s formation, the number of women on the faculty has increased steadily over the years. But there is room for improvement, says Ruth M. Barnard, associate professor of nursing, who produced the documentary. Only 15 percent of full professors are women, she notes.

Elizabeth M. Douvan, the Catharine Neafie Kellogg Professor Emerita of Psychology and Women’s Studies and research scientist emerita, Survey Research Center, who participated in the movement 25 years ago and is a featured speaker in the documentary, said that progress is a collective effort.

“Progress in the world is not made by individual efforts. It takes a lot of collective action. So hang in there. Remember there should be solidarity with other women. Fight for the right wherever you see it and maybe we can maintain the great things we accomplished,” she said on the video.

The documentary was funded by the Office of the President, Office of the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs, Office of the Vice President and Secretary of the University, Office of the Executive Director of Human Resources & Affirmative Action and the Sarah Goddard Power Memorial Fund.

The documentary will air on the local public access cable channel 17 of the Community Television Network as follows: 1:35 p.m. April 24, 6:30 p.m. April 25, 1 p.m. April 27, 8:30 p.m. April 28, 2:35 p.m. May 1, and 11:05 a.m. May 5.

A copy of the documentary is available at the Shapiro Film & Video Library. Copies may be purchased for $5 each by contacting Barnard, (734) 647-0189 or rbarnard@umich.edu.