Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies Timeline

 1960's to 1970's | 1970's to 1980's | 1980's to 1990's | 2000 and Beyond 


Montclair State University

Changing Times, Making History

 (Late 1960s, Early 1970s)


~Campus unionized in the early 1970s


~Campus strike about Cambodia

"It was a different climate and Montclair

was part of that climate." (LK)


~1972~ Connie Waller creates the Women's

Center on campus and starts push to create

an academic program

"I would describe it as a focal point of activities

that, particularly the women on campus regarded

as necessary." (JF)

~Rhoda Unger started teaching

Psychology of Women.

"I said I wanted to teach it and nobody knew what it

was. When they wanted to know who else would

teach the course, everyone raised their hands. It was

in the air." (RU)

~November 1974~ Campus strike allowed women to

talk to each other from other schools on campus,

creating connections.

~Spring 1974~ Dr. Unger holds "Women: Scholar and

Advocate" conference; chance for contact with faculty

interested in the study of women.

~Campus imperative to innovate new avenues of


~Movement of feminism caused many women to

look at their individual fields and notice how women

had been excluded from the canon

~Research was being done on women in personal

studies and brought into the classroom

~Childcare becomes an issue on campus

~Should Women's Center and Women's Studies be one

and the same?

~Women got together and literally made women's

scholarship where there was none before (AS)


Women Making Noise

(mid 1970s, early 1980s)

~Curriculum work on the minor began

~Teaching sessions with future WMST faculty

~Minor began to evolve, it was the moment of Black

Studies, Women's Studies, there was an explosion all

over the country (LL)

~Fought against sexist attitudes and labels from


~Strong affirmative action presence on campus

~Fought to have Women's Studies respected as anacademic discipline

~Decision to split academics from consciousness-raising

~Minor in Women's Studies was made available

in Fall 1976

~Tenured faculty began getting on committees asking,

"Where are the women? The Blacks? The Hispanic

Women?" (AM)

~"On the Rag" feminist student publication appeared

~Struggle persuading Department Chairs for faculty

~Faculty and students participated in national

protests in Washington, D.C.

~Student reception and involvement with the program

was enthusiastic

~Faculty fought hard for promotion despite program

strides, MSC still part of a crony system

~Without its own faculty, the Women's Studies program

had a hard time developing courses in the Math and

Sciences; hard to make WMST a complete program

~Struggle to obtain adequate funding



Making a Difference

(1980s and 1990s)

~Student presence in the program grew, included a

few male minors

~Class material shifted to include more diversity and

reach more students

~Faculty sought out by students for such problems as

sexual harassment on campus

~WMST director: Reading everything and meeting people

~Worked to make program truly interdisciplinary

~Interest grew in developing the major

~Worked to change students' ways of looking at the world

~1985 faculty development seminar in Women's Studies

funded by the VP for academic affairs

~New Courses, New Directions:

  • Sexism in American Education
  • Women and Language
  • Women in American History
  • Sociology of Sex Roles
  • Women in Politics
  • Psychology of Women
  • Women in Contemporary Society
  • Introduction to Women's Studies

~ Women's Studies major approved Spring 1999






Moving Against the Tide of Conservatism

(2000 and beyond)

~Women's Studies Major available Fall 2000

~2000 Spring study group: Refining WMST core courses

~By spring 2001, the program had 15 majors and 26 minors

~5/2/02~ Curriculum Development Workshop


~Julia Landweber, PhD, became the first joint Women's

Studies/History faculty member, 2003


~4/25/04 March for Women's Lives: students

and faculty traveled to Washington, D.C. to

attend historic march


~Healthy relationship between Women's Center and Women's Studies


~"The courses in Women's Studies are inclusive and always

involve critical and analytical thinking; they have to because

they are still teaching against the tide." (AM)


~New courses available such as:

  • Anthropology of Women
  • Women in Art
  • Legal Rights of Women
  • Women Prose Writers
  • History of Feminist Thought
  • Women in Religion

~2005 September curriculum retreat


~"Women's Studies is recognized as a discipline, now

we want lines." (LL)


~More involvement with the College of Math and Science


~Attend to the issues of women who aren't affluent


~Create an even bigger male presence in the major and

minor programs


~Increase the conversation among faculty about their

scholarship to better direct students to Women's Studies



The Women's Studies Program thanks the following women

who were instrumental in establishing the Women's Studies



AF= Alice Freed, PhD

AM= Adele McCullum, PhD

AS= Amy Srebnick, PhD

JF= Joan Ficke, PhD

LK= Laura Kramer, PhD

LL= Linda Levine, PhD

RU= Rhoda Unger, PhD






The National Scene

Changing Times, Making History

(1960s, Mid 1970s)


~1963~ Betty Friedan's The Feminine Mystique

is published

~1965~ Voting Rights Act was passed to prohibit any

election practice that denies the right to vote based on


~1966~ NOW, the National Organization for Women,

was founded

~1/15/68~ Jeanette Rankin Brigade, a women's anti-war

demonstration was held: "Sisterhood is Powerful"

~4/5/68~ Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated

~9/7/68~ Women's Liberation groups protest the Miss

America Pageant in Atlantic City, NJ; the myth of the

"Femininst  Bra-Burners" is born

~3/69~ First accredited Women's Studies course appeared

in the spring semester at Cornell University

~6/28/69~ Stonewall riots and the birth of the Gay

Liberation Movement.

~5/18/71~ LA NOW declared lesbianism to be a "legitimate

concern of feminism."

~11/8/71~ Richard Nixon re-elected in a landslide against

democratic candidate George McGovern

~1971~ Reed vs. Reed made it unconstitutional to have

laws that prefer a husband over a wife in estate administration

~1972~ Ms. Magazine's debut issue hit shelves

~6/23/72~ Title IX was passed, prohibiting sex discrimination

in educational institutions

~1/22/73~ Roe vs. Wade was decided, legalizing first trimester

abortions in the United States

~8/15/73~ National Black Feminist Organization formed

~8/8/74~ Richard Nixon resigned

~1/10/75~ Vietnam War ended; 14 years and 56,559 American

Soldiers dead




Women Making Noise

(mid-late 1970s, early 1980s)

~8/26/75~ First Take Back the Night march

~1975~ APA removed homosexuality from the list of mental


~1975~ Taylor vs. Louisiana declared the law that women

have to apply for jury duty to be discriminatory and ruled

that jury pool selection must be random

~8/76~ First Michigan Womyn's Music Festival held

~6/9/77~ Hyde Amendment passed, banning the use of

federal money to obtain an abortion

~10/3/77~ Rosie Jiminez, 27, became the first known

victim of the Hyde Amendment to die from an illegal abortion

~1977~NSWA: National Women's Studies Association

founded; sent out letter to all college presidents arguing the

importance of Women's Studies

~7/9/78~ tens of thousands marched on Washington in

support of ERA

~10/14/79~The National March for Lesbian and Gay Rights

~12/80~ Ronald Reagan elected president; women voted

differently from men for the first time since the

ratification of the 19th Amendment

~9/25/81~ Reagan nominated Sandra Day O'Connor to the

Supreme Court; O'Connor became the first woman to hold the position

~1981~ Kirchberg vs. Feenstra invalidates law that

gave a husband the legal right to control marital

property without spousal consent

~2/25/82~ Wisconsin became the first state to prohibit

discrimination against gays in governent jobs

~6/30/82~ ERA fails to be ratified


Making a Difference

(early 1980s, mid 1990s)

~2/28/83~ Supreme Court ruled on limiting Title IX's reach

~12/1/83~ Wage discrimination case won; "Equal Pay for Equal Work"

~2/20/84~ Geraldine Ferraro became 1st woman

VP on major party ticket

~ 1984~ Reagan administration enforced the

“Global Gag Rule” which prohibited U.S. funding to

any overseas health organization that

even mentioned abortion


~ 1985~ 38 states made it illegal for a husband to rape his wife


~ 9/86~ March for Women’s Lives


~1986~ Meritor Savings vs. Vinson decision that sexual harassment

and hostile work environment are

acts of sex discrimination covered by Title VII


~ 1986~ NJ Project established at William Patterson University


~ 1/8/88~ Bush/Quayle ticket wins Presidential race. U.S.

signs on for another 4 years of anti- woman legislation.


~ 1990~ Senate passed bill that requires the government

to compile statistics on

hate crimes against gays and lesbians


~ 7/1/91~ Bush nominated Clarence Thomas to

the Supreme Court; sexual harassment suit followed


~ 11/3/92~ Clinton signed Family and Medical Leave Act


~ 1995~ Beijing Conference on Women

~ 1999 ~ NOW held 3-day Lesbian Rights Summit



Moving Against the Tide of Conservatism

(2000 and Beyond)


~ 12/22/00~ Supreme Court gave presidency to George W. Bush


~ 1/22/01~ Bush’s 1st act as president was to

reinstate Reagan’s Global Gag Rule


~ 3/29/01~ Administration closed White House Office for

Women’s Initiative and Outreach


~ 8/9/01~ Bush limited funding for Stem Cell research


~ 2002~ TANF (welfare) reform came up for reauthorization and

became a battle ground between

“traditional family” conservatives and

feminists and progressives

who don’t see marriage as the answer

for the problems of poverty


~ 3/13/03~ Senate passed the “Partial-Birth” Abortion Ban

without the clause for the mother’s health;

1st bill to criminalize an abortion procedure since

Roe vs. Wade in 1973


~ 2004~ Administration removed important,

truthful information from government

websites on women’s health.


~ 5/6/04~ Pressure from administration forced the FDA to

reject the sale of over-the-counter

Emergency Contraceptives  

~ Decision still being upheld


~ 3/25/04~ “Unborn Victims of Violence Act” passed; gave

legal status to fetus but failed to

acknowledge violence and the mother


~ 3/18/05~ Administration provided ways for schools to

get around their Title IV obligations by

“proving” girls have less interest in sports than boys


~ 2005~ 10th Anniversary of Beijing~ 

Administration tries to push

anti-choice views onto platform


The Women's Studies Program thanks our research

assistant, Melissa Crecca, for her commitment and

work in creating the timeline. We also thank

Alicia Remolde, Women's Studies Program Assistant,

for overseeing this exciting historical project.

Funding for this project was provided by a

MSU Student Faculty Undergraduate Research grant .