The Commission for Women (CFW) was established in the spring of 1974 by a group of 12 volunteers seeking to improve the conditions for women on campus. Over the 46 years of its existence, the CFW has helped form the character and diversity of the UM-Dearborn campus.
CFW Through the Decades
The Commission for Women has grown and changed over the years. Have a look at some highlights decade by decade.
In April 2018, the Commission hosted candidate Gretchen Whitmer as the keynote speaker at the 40th Annual Susan B. Anthony Awards. Whitmer would go on to be elected the second female governor of the state the following November.
In March 2009, the Commission for Women hosted the best-attended Susan B. Anthony award dinner with PBS senior correspondent, Gwen Ifill as keynote speaker.
In November 2009, the Commission for Women celebrated its 35th anniversary and received a Special Tribute from Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm and the 95th Michigan Legislature.
The Susan B. Anthony Community Award was established by the Commission For Women to recognize individuals who advance the cause of women’s equality in the state of Michigan. The inaugural award was presented to Gail Bagale.
The Commission For Women began holding professional clothing drives twice a year. Professional attire for women is collected during the week-long drive and given to local social service agencies.
The Commission for Women co-sponsored the first “Women on the Move: College is an Option” workshop. The workshop provided women experiencing socioeconomic challenges with information about returning to or beginning college as a pathway to economic independence.
The popular Commission For Women’s “Brown Bag Lunch Series” was established and flourished, addressing women’s economic issues, sexual harassment, violence against women, women’s health concerns, work/life balance concerns, and other relevant topics of interest.
The CFW established and presented the first “Competitive Professional Development Grants” for women faculty and staff. The grants were funded to encourage the professional development of women on campus in an effort to ensure women had equal opportunities in pursuing their professional and academic goals.
The CFW established a merit scholarship program for women students on campus with an emphasis on providing scholarships for “returning” women students.
The Commission For Women organized and held the first “Women’s Festival” on the UM-Dearborn campus. Generally held in the spring, these day-long events drew attention to women’s issues by creating a space for community organizations, leaders, speakers, faculty, staff, and students to come together to network and share information.
Throughout the 1980’s
The Commission For Women focused on increasing salary equity and eliminating discriminatory policies while increasing leadership and career development opportunities through a wide range of academic and professional initiatives.
The first Susan B. Anthony Award was presented to honor an individual whose life and deeds exemplified the dedicated efforts, fortitude, political agitation and involvement of Susan B. Anthony. The recipient of this inaugural award was Betty Kaufman.
The Commission for Women began publishing “Nexus,” an informational newsletter chronicling organizational goals, activities, events and highlighting women’s political, economic, and social concerns both on campus and in our community.
The Commission for Women (CFW) was established in the spring of 1974, led by a group of 12 volunteers seeking to improve the conditions for women on campus. At the first meeting held on November 11, 1974, Mary Tobin was elected the first CFW chairperson.