May 7, 2001
PCSW celebrates 25 years
By Stephanie Sonnenfeld firstname.lastname@example.org
Past, present and perhaps future generations of the Presidents Commission on the Status of Women (PCSW) gathered Thursday, April 26, to celebrate the groups 25th anniversary.
Founding members of the Womens Caucus (PCSWs predecessor)
mingled with daughters of current PCSW members at the two-part celebration,
which included a luncheon and evening reception, both held at the Carlos
The centerpiece of the celebrations was a Herstory timeline
documenting the evolution of womens rights at Emory and nationally.
Major figures in the Universitys womens community were featured
in the display, as well as past Emory Womens Handbooks and the initial
memo calling for the creation of the PCSW. Names of women who had worked
at Emory for 25 years or more were used as the background for the display
When Vice President for Human Resources Alice Miller welcomed the luncheon
crowd, she said Emory currently has 367 female employees who have worked
at Emory for 25 years or moreadding up to roughly 11,500 years of
service. All of these women were invited to the PCSW events as guests
of HR, which sponsored both receptions.
President Bill Chace then presented the annual PCSW writing awards. The
undergraduate winner was Rebecca Grunfeld for Title IX: The Sports
Equity Act of 2000 and the professional winner was School of Medicine
student Noha Sadek for Mental Health Issues in Older Women: Life
after Menopause. Both students received a $250 prize and a plaque.
PCSW Chair-elect Kathy Reed introduced a panel of women representing
students, staff, faculty and alumna, moderated by Jan Gleason, assistant
vice president for University Communications and former PCSW chair. Joining
Gleason were College senior Brandie Knazze; Ali Crown, director of the
Emory Womens Center; Patricia Hudgins, a School of Medicine professor;
and Susan Henry-Crowe, dean of the Chapel and Religious Life. In front
of a group of 75, the panelists discussed the role of women at Emory and
what they hope to see in the future.
The memories varied, including comical stories such as Henry-Crowes
tale of women literally hiking the floors of the theology school to go
to the buildings lone womens bathroom, located on the top
floor. Then there was Knazzes confession of diligently reading the
sports section of the morning paper just to keep up with an economics
professors daily discussion of sports with the male-dominated class.
And there were the somber memories. Hudgins said Emory was the only hospital
she contacted that would hire women physicians when she came to Atlanta
in the mid-1980s. Crown told the group that when she arrived in 1980,
Emory would not grant degrees to part-time students. Thanks to work from
groups such as PCSW, this policy was changed, she said.
The women all had similar hopes for the future of women at the university:
more flexible schedules for working mothers, the recruitment of more female
faculty and administrators, more mentoring programs and that the Emory
community keep a watchful eye on the progress of women on campus and off.
I think this is a great time to be complacent, but I dont
want to see all of this [hard work] unravel, Hudgins said. Its
tempting to sit back and say Weve made it.
Women must continue to work for diversity and equal rights, she said.
It was a sentiment that carried over into the PCSWs evening reception,
where Martine Watson Brownley, Goodrich White Professor of English, addressed
a group of about 50. A past PCSW member, Brownley was director of the
Institute for Womens Studies from 199296.
When I arrived at Emory [in 1975], there were so few women in the
instructional ranks that we all knew each other. There was no child care,
no maternity leave policy, no womens studies, no Womens Center.
I could give a long list of nos, she said.
While the PCSW and Emory have helped to make incredible strides for women,
that doesnt mean that the fight for equal rights has to stop, she
Tonight we celebrate 25 years of PCSW work, but were also
remembering. Such remembering is crucial to the history of women; what
women have done in the past has too frequently been forgotten, Brownley
said. As Santayana long ago pointed out, Those who do not
remember the past are condemned to repeat it. Women have repeated
their pasts over and over and over. We have got to remember.
Following her address, current PCSW chair Deb Floyd and Reed presented
former chairs with necklaces featuring a silver goddess emblem.
At both events, Reed announced the PCSW would be donating 25 trees to
be planted at the new child care center at University Apartments. Varieties
of trees to be planted include sourwoods, Virginia pines, sawtooth oaks
and magnolias, and a bench will commemorate the plantings.
The PCSW was established on Feb. 7, 1976 as an advisory body to the President on issues related to women of Emory. Today, it has 32 members representing students, faculty and staff. More information about PCSW can be found at www.emory.edu/PCSW.