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North Carolina International Women's Year Coordinating Committee, General Records


The United Nations designated 1975 as International Women's Year (IWY). The North Carolina International Women's Year (NC-IWY) Coordinating Committee was charged with the planning of the state conference in Winston-Salem, June 16-18, 1977. Chairman of this committee was Dr. Elizabeth Koontz, assistant state superintendent of education for teacher education and member of the National Council of Negro Women. Program chairman was Grace Rohrer, former Secretary of the NC Department of Cultural Resources; and executive director of the NC-IWY Coordinating Committee was Jean LeFrancois. During the three-day session in Winston-Salem, participants attended a series of 24 workshops ranging from health ... (more below)

Title

North Carolina International Women's Year Coordinating Committee, General Records

Collection Number

Org.109

Date(s)

1975 - 1978

Language

English

Physical Description
Boxes
15
Abstract

The United Nations designated 1975 as International Women's Year (IWY). The North Carolina International Women's Year (NC-IWY) Coordinating Committee was charged with the planning of the state conference in Winston-Salem, June 16-18, 1977. Chairman of this committee was Dr. Elizabeth Koontz, assistant state superintendent of education for teacher education and member of the National Council of Negro Women. Program chairman was Grace Rohrer, former Secretary of the NC Department of Cultural Resources; and executive director of the NC-IWY Coordinating Committee was Jean LeFrancois. During the three-day session in Winston-Salem, participants attended a series of 24 workshops ranging from health and child care to financial backing and employment.

The collection includes committee minutes, lists, correspondence, forms, applications, brochures, pamphlets, profile sheets, text of speeches, script for slide show (  "To Be Rather than to Seem: Women in North Carolina"), testimony, reports, etc. concerning the North Carolina International Women's Year and its Coordinating Committee. Topics include ad hoc hearings conducted by U.S. Senator Jesse Helms who objected to the method of choosing delegates and to the federal funding. Also there is a wide range of literature of interest to women during that period, including education, jobs, housing, insurance, the Equal Rights Amendment, etc.

Physical Location

For current information on the location ofthese materials, please consult the Public Services Branch, State Archives of North Carolina.

Creator

North Carolina International Womens Year Coordinating Committee.

Repository

State Archives of North Carolina


Arranged by type of material.


Available for research.


Copyright is retained by the authors of these materials, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law (Title 17 US Code). Individual researchers are responsible for using these materials in conformance with copyright law as well as any donor restrictions accompanying the materials.


Processed by Kenneth W. Andrews and Ellen Z. McGrew, June, 1981

Encoded by Fran Tracy-Walls, September, 2002


The United Nations designated 1975 as International Women's Year (IWY). American participation in IWY began with President Richard Nixon's proclamation January, 1974, calling for practical and constructive measures to be considered for the advancement of women. Previously, in January 1969, President Nixon had appointed Salisbury, N.C. native, Elizabeth Koontz, director of the United States Department of Labor Women's Bureau (the first African-American director) and subsequently she became deputy assistant secretary for Labor Employment Standards. While in that position, Dr. Koontz became the United States's delegate to the United Nations' Commission on the Status of Women, which was responsible for the resolution on the International Women's Year Observance in 1975.

In January, 1975, President Ford initiated IWY observances by creating the National Commission on the Observance of International Women's Year to promote equality between men and women. Each state was to have its own coordinating committee to raise funds and serve as an outreach point to the community. With Jill Ruckelshaus as presiding officer of the national group, 35 men and women conducted a year-long series of events in connection with IWY and established 13 committees to investigate particular aspects of discrimination against women. The commission's formal report to the president was a 392 page study of the status of women,  To Form a More Perfect Union: Justice for American Women, 1976, which is a companion document to the report issued later after the national conference in Houston,  The Spirit of Houston.

In June, 1975, the United Nations sponsored an IWY conference in Mexico City which approved a world plan of action to improve the condition of women and proclaimed 1975-1985 as the United National Decade of Women. This first worldwide gathering of governments in the interest of women met from June 19 to July 2. The secretary-general of the conference was Helvi Sipilia of Finland, the highest ranking woman in the secretariat. The conference was attended by 1,000 official delegates from 133 countries with 13 women from North Carolina registered as participants at the nongovernmental IWY tribune in Mexico City. For the United Nations, International Women's Day (observed on 8 March since 1975). The Day is traditionally marked with a message from the secretary-general of the United Nations.

[Note: Dr. Helvi Sipilia also spoke at the N.C. IWY conference in Winston-Salem. See text of her address in Box 8.]

On December 24, 1975, Representative Bella Abzug of New York introduced the bill in Congress, which passed into Public Law 94-167, directing the National Commission to convene a National Women's Conference [in Houston] to be preceded by state or regional meetings. Fifty million dollars was appropriated and provisions made for a diversity of delegates (groups working to advance rights of women, low-income, members of diverse racial, ethnic, and religious groups, and women of all ages).

More than half the appropriation was allotted to state coordinating committees to hold state or regional meetings with appropriate workshops for formulation of resolutions and selection of delegates to the Houston conference. The North Carolina International Women's Year (NC-IWY) Coordinating Committee was charged with the planning of the state conference in Winston-Salem, June 16-18, 1977. Chairman of this committee was Dr. Elizabeth Koontz, assistant state superintendent of education for teacher education and member of the National Council of Negro Women. Program chairman was Grace Rohrer, former Secretary of the NC Department of Cultural Resources; and executive director of the NC-IWY Coordinating Committee was Jean LeFrancois. During the three-day session in Winston-Salem, participants attended a series of 24 workshops ranging from health and child care to financial backing and employment. Out of each workshop meeting came resolutions that were voted on by the entire meeting. All these sessions were open to the public; anyone over the age of 16 could participate; men were eligible to attend. Financial aid for the cost of attending the meeting and for daycare was available.

The work of the NC-IWY Coordinating Committee culminated in a trip to the National Women's Conference in Houston in November, 1977, with Grace Rohrer as the chairman of the 37-member North Carolina delegation. The participants in the state conference in June had elected this delegation, composed of 32 representatives and 5 alternates. Also, the resolutions voted on at the June conference became part of the national report, (  The Spirit of Houston). The report was published as a summary of the national conference.

In December of 1977 the General Assembly adopted the resolution proclaiming a United Nations Day for Women's Rights and International Peace to be observed on any day of the year by member states, in accordance with their historical and national traditions.

1975, January President Gerald R. Ford signed an executive order establishing a National Commission on the Observance of International Women's Year (IWY). The government allocated $350,000 to finance the commission. 1975, March 8 The United Nations began observing International Women's Day to call attention anually to women's issues. 1975, June The United Nations' World Conference on International Women's Year was held in Mexico City. The conference was attended by representatives of member governments and its official purpose was to consider a 10-year UN World Plan of Action. The plan included education, employment, population control, child marriages, etc., although each nation was left to work out the details in its own way. A decision was made to expand International Women's Year into the International Women's Decade. 1977, June 16-18 State Conference, held in Winston-Salem, was planned and implemented by the North Carolina International Women's Year Coordinating Committee. Participants elected a delegation of 32 representatives and 5 alternates to the National Women's Conference in November. Grace Jemison Rohrer was named chairman of the state's delegation. 1977, November 18-21 The National Women's Conference in Houston, Texas, chaired by Bella Abzug, adopted a National Plan of Action to be submitted to the President and Congress. Some 20,000 women attended the conference, including the delegation from North Carolina, elected at the State Conference of the North Carolina IWY Coordinating Committee. 1977, December Elizabeth Duncan Koontz received the North Carolina Award for Public Service for her national leadership in the field of education and women's affairs. Dr. Koontz was cited for various positions, including chairwoman of the International Women's Year Coordinating Committee for North Carolina. 1977, December The United Nation's General Assembly adopted resolution 32/142 proclaiming a United Nations Day for Women's Rights and International Peace. The member-nations were called upon to contribute to creating conditions for the elimination of discrimination against women and for their full and equal participation in social development. 1985 End of the International Women's Decade. 1987 Supported by various women's organizations, museums, libraries, youth leaders, and educators throughout the country, the National Women's History Project petitioned Congress to designate the month of March as a time to celebrate women's history. A National Women's History Month Resolution was approved in both the House and Senate. By 1992,it became customary for the chief executive to issue in March a Presidential Proclamation, recognizing the accomplishments of the nation's women and highlighting particular individuals.

The United Nations designated 1975 as International Women's Year (IWY). American participation in IWY began with President Richard Nixon's proclamation January, 1974, calling for practical and constructive measures to be considered for the advancement of women. Previously, in January 1969, President Nixon had appointed Salisbury, N.C. native, Elizabeth Koontz, director of the United States Department of Labor Women's Bureau (the first African-American director) and subsequently she became deputy assistant secretary for Labor Employment Standards. While in that position, Dr. Koontz became the United States's delegate to the United Nations' Commission on the Status of Women, which was responsible for the resolution on the International Women's Year Observance in 1975.

In January, 1975, President Ford initiated IWY observances by creating the National Commission on the Observance of International Women's Year to promote equality between men and women. Each state was to have its own coordinating committee to raise funds and serve as an outreach point to the community. With Jill Ruckelshaus as presiding officer of the national group, 35 men and women conducted a year-long series of events in connection with IWY and established 13 committees to investigate particular aspects of discrimination against women. The commission's formal report to the president was a 392 page study of the status of women,  To Form a More Perfect Union: Justice for American Women, 1976, which is a companion document to the report issued later after the national conference in Houston,  The Spirit of Houston.

In June, 1975, the United Nations sponsored an IWY conference in Mexico City which approved a world plan of action to improve the condition of women and proclaimed 1975-1985 as the United National Decade of Women. This first worldwide gathering of governments in the interest of women met from June 19 to July 2. The secretary-general of the conference was Helvi Sipilia of Finland, the highest ranking woman in the secretariat. The conference was attended by 1,000 official delegates from 133 countries with 13 women from North Carolina registered as participants at the nongovernmental IWY tribune in Mexico City. For the United Nations, International Women's Day (observed on 8 March since 1975). The Day is traditionally marked with a message from the secretary-general of the United Nations.

[Note: Dr. Helvi Sipilia also spoke at the N.C. IWY conference in Winston-Salem. See text of her address in Box 8.]

On December 24, 1975, Representative Bella Abzug of New York introduced the bill in Congress, which passed into Public Law 94-167, directing the National Commission to convene a National Women's Conference [in Houston] to be preceded by state or regional meetings. Fifty million dollars was appropriated and provisions made for a diversity of delegates (groups working to advance rights of women, low-income, members of diverse racial, ethnic, and religious groups, and women of all ages).

More than half the appropriation was allotted to state coordinating committees to hold state or regional meetings with appropriate workshops for formulation of resolutions and selection of delegates to the Houston conference. The North Carolina International Women's Year (NC-IWY) Coordinating Committee was charged with the planning of the state conference in Winston-Salem, June 16-18, 1977. Chairman of this committee was Dr. Elizabeth Koontz, assistant state superintendent of education for teacher education and member of the National Council of Negro Women. Program chairman was Grace Rohrer, former Secretary of the NC Department of Cultural Resources; and executive director of the NC-IWY Coordinating Committee was Jean LeFrancois. During the three-day session in Winston-Salem, participants attended a series of 24 workshops ranging from health and child care to financial backing and employment. Out of each workshop meeting came resolutions that were voted on by the entire meeting. All these sessions were open to the public; anyone over the age of 16 could participate; men were eligible to attend. Financial aid for the cost of attending the meeting and for daycare was available.

The work of the NC-IWY Coordinating Committee culminated in a trip to the National Women's Conference in Houston in November, 1977, with Grace Rohrer as the chairman of the 37-member North Carolina delegation. The participants in the state conference in June had elected this delegation, composed of 32 representatives and 5 alternates. Also, the resolutions voted on at the June conference became part of the national report, (  The Spirit of Houston). The report was published as a summary of the national conference.

In December of 1977 the General Assembly adopted the resolution proclaiming a United Nations Day for Women's Rights and International Peace to be observed on any day of the year by member states, in accordance with their historical and national traditions.


[Identification of item], Org.109, North Carolina International Women's Year Coordinating Committee, General Records, State Archives of North Carolina, Raleigh, NC, USA.


Ten manuscript boxes received from Dr. Elizabeth Koontz, Raleigh, September 19, 1979. Five manuscript boxes received from Grace Rohrer, Chapel Hill, November 5, 1980. One folder of records placed in Box 15 of previously accessioned papers. Received from Mrs. Grace J. Rohrer, November 25, 1985.


Additional information on topics found in this collection may be found in the Manuscript and Archives Reference System (MARS)  http://www.ncarchives.dcr.state.nc.us.


The Coordinating Committee charged with planning the state conference in Winston-Salem, N.C., June 16-18, 1977; it was chaired by Dr. Elizabeth Koontz. This collection contains committee minutes, lists, correspondence, forms, applications, brochures, pamphlets, profile sheets, text of speeches, script for slide show (  "To Be Rather than to Seem: Women in North Carolina"), testimony, reports, etc. There is some material on the ad hoc hearings conducted by U. S. Senator Jesse Helms who objected to the method of choosing delegates and to the federal funding. Also there is literature concerning jobs; education; homemakers; a list of all black women at the Houston conference; reports on conferences in other states, etc.

Arranged by type of material.


The Coordinating Committee charged with planning the state conference in Winston-Salem, N.C., June 16-18, 1977; it was chaired by Dr. Elizabeth Koontz. This collection contains committee minutes, lists, correspondence, forms, applications, brochures, pamphlets, profile sheets, text of speeches, script for slide show (  "To Be Rather than to Seem: Women in North Carolina"), testimony, reports, etc. There is some material on the ad hoc hearings conducted by U. S. Senator Jesse Helms who objected to the method of choosing delegates and to the federal funding. Also there is literature concerning jobs; education; homemakers; a list of all black women at the Houston conference; reports on conferences in other states, etc.


  • Helms, Jesse.
  • Koontz, Elizabeth D. (Elizabeth Duncan), 1919-
  • Rohrer, Grace Jemison.
  • United States. National Commission on the Observance of International Women
  • National Women's Conference.
  • African American women--Political activity.
  • International Women's Decade, 1976-1985.
  • International Women's Year, 1975
  • International Women's Year, 1975--United States.
  • Legislative hearings--United States.
  • Women--Employment
  • Women--Legal status, laws, etc.
  • Women political activists
  • Women's rights
  • Women's rights--United States--Congresses.
  • Winston-Salem (N.C.)

The chairman of the coordinating committee was Dr. Elizabeth Koontz. The minutes document the committee's commitment to prepare for the state conference in Winston-Salem, June 16-18, 1977.

Box: 1  
November, 1976-July, 1977
November, 1976-July, 1977

The executive director of the NC-IWY Coordinating Committee was Jean LeFrancois, and the program chair was Grace Rohrer, former Secretary of the N.C. Department of Cultural Resources. The committee prepared for a three-day session offering a series of 24 workshops. Topics ranged from health and child care to financial backing and employment.

Box: 2  
Requests for Brochures, Information, Registrations

21338
Scholarship Requests

21339
N.C. IWY Personnel

21340
Meeting Organization for NC IWY

21341
Nominating Committee

21342
Local Arrangements Committee

21343
Elections

21344
Other Committees

Box: 3  
State Meetings, National Commission on Observance of IWY
1977

21346
Agenda Letters

21347
Budget Flow Sheets

21348
Financial Correspondence

21349
Press Releases

21350
Mailing Lists

Profile sheets are arranged alphabetically by county name.

16131
Counties

Box: 4  
Alamance-Johnston
Box: 5  
Lenoir-Yancey

This series includes correspondence; summaries; various forms, including those for volunteers and reports. Reporting forms are alphabetized by county. Speak Outs have been a method commonly used in national and state chapters of IWY, and a variety of other women's organizations that includes raising awareness, educating the community, and speaking out about concerns or against injustices, whether in small study groups or larger gatherings.

Box: 6  
Correspondence

1848
Summaries

1849
Volunteer Forms

1850
Reporting Forms

The work of the Coordinating Committee included making the community aware of its activities and goals through various press releases and news articles.

Articles are arranged alphabetically.

Box: 7  
December, 1976 - December, 1977
December, 1976 - December, 1977

This series reflects some details of planning for the meeting and items representative of the event. The Miscellaneous Items subseries includes literature, procedures, program; list of nominees for national conference in Houston, text of addresses of Helvie Sipilia, UN assistant secretary-general for social development and humanitarian affairs and of Dorothy Williams, director of policy and research Planning, HUD. Additionally, it includes a slide show scipt, reports, Senate hearings, contents of Public Law 94-167; a Jesse Helms' form letter and opening statement; testimonies; and participant lists.

Box: 8  
Correspondence (publication and film)

1852
Planning (solicitation license, display tables, souvenir program)

1853
Miscellaneous Items

item
Script for slide show,To Be Rather than to Seem: Women in North Carolina, by Jessie Mercay and Nancy Wrenn.
List of registered participants.
Final report of NC IWY meeting to National Commission on the Observance of IWY, .
August 17, 1977
Ad Hoc Hearings of U. S. Senator Jesse Helms, September 14-17, 1977, Public Law 94-167, 94th Congress, H.R.-9924, December 23, 1975,To direct the National Commission on the Observance of International Women's Year, 1975, to organize and convene a National Women's Conference, and for other purposes.
Congressional Record (Senate),Who Really Represents the Views of the Majority of American Women?.
July 21,1977
Letter [form], Jesse Helms toDear Colleague, .
September 7,1977
Opening Statement of Senator Helms at Ad Hoc hearings on IWY, .
September 14, 1977
Testimony of Women opposing the IWY Conference funding, procedures for selection of delegates, etc. Text from New Jersey, Illinois, Vermont, Hawaii; list of women from other states.
Testimony of Mary Pegg of North Carolina in opposition to IWY. .
[September 14-15, 1977]
Testimony of Elizabeth Koontz of North Carolina as chair of the NC Coordinating Committee, presented after the hearings as a statement for the record, .
September 23, 1977

These registrations are alphabetized by participants' last names.

Box: 9  
June 17-19, 1977
June 17-19, 1977

This series includes primarily materials published or printed by the national organization that oversaw the year's activities among the various states, the National Commission on the Observance of International Women's Year.

Box: 10  
Workshop Publications, National Commission on the Observance of IWY.

item
No. 1,Chronology of the Women's Movement in the U. S.,1961-1975.
item
No. 2, Workshop Guide:Child Care
item
No. 4, Workshop Guide:Education
item
No. 5, Workshop Guide:Employment
item
No. 6, Workshop Guide:Equal Rights Amendment
item
No. 7, Workshop Guide:Female Offenders
item
No. 8, Workshop Guide:Health
item
No. 12, Workshop Guide:Media
item
No. 15, Workshop Guide:Rape
item
The Legal Status of Homemakers in North Carolina by Elizabeth S. Peterson and Craig R. Mariger. Report prepared under contract with theCenter for Women Policy Studies for the National Commission on the Observance of International Women's Year.
April, 1977

1855
Unpublished Reports and Papers.

item
Women and Housing, prepared by the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity, HUD, .
May, 1977
item
Workshop Guideline,Women and Insurance, National Commission on the Observance of IWY.
item
Workshop Outline,International Component: State Women's Meetings,[National Commission, IWY].
Workshop Planning and Execution, State Meeting at Winston-Salem
Personnel
Applications
Resolutions sent to Federal Officials
Resolutions sent to State Agencies
Scope and Content

Note: Eighty-three resolutions were adopted at the-business session on Sunday, June 19, 1977. Because the resolutions were so diversified, only those relating to the state or federal agency were forwarded to that agency.

1856
Publications for Workshops:Catalyst (Career Options Series for Undergraduate Women), .
December, 1976 - June, 1977

Box: 11  
Pamphlets on career options, launching a career, engineering, industrial management, banking, restaurant management, accounting, retail management, sales, finance, insurance, government, and politics.
file
Pamphlets on career opportunities (Series C) in advertising, art, communications, counseling, data processing, environmental affairs, fund raising, personnel, public relations, publishing, social work, travel agent.
file
Pamphlets on self-guidance (Series G) on planning for work and job campaign.
file
Manual on resume preparation, a step-by-step guide.

Materials regarding meetings held by other states during 1977 are alphabetized by state. This series also includes the national conference of 1977 and its follow-up activities. This subseries also includes a list of African American delegates from all states. There is also a brochure from an earlier meeting held in Mexico City in 1975, with a list of thirteen women who attended from North Carolina. Miscellaneous programs and literature date from related programs and conventions of 1977.

Box: 12  
Other State Meetings for International Women's Year
April, 1977 -June, 1977

1858
Women's Conferences, including the National Women's Conference, Houston
November 18-21, 1977.

Box: 13  
International Women's Year Conference, Mexico City, .
1975
item
Brochure, List of North Carolina participants
file
North Carolina Arrangements for National Women's Conference.
item
Brochure
item
Correspondence; Press Conference on Torch Run
October 20, 1977
Delegate nomination Forms
file
National Women's Conference, Houston.
item
List of Black Delegates from all States.
item
National Plan of Action, adopted at National Women's Conference.
item
Resolutions Adopted by Delegates to the National Women's Conference.
file
Newsletters:
Update 9:After Houston
February, 1978
Update 10:Your Concluding Issue
March, 1978
file
Miscellaneous
Program,The Working Woman, sponsored by the Salem College Lifespan Center and the Winston-Salem Forsyth County Council on the Status of Women
October 27-29, 1977.
Literature, National Women's Political Caucus Convention
1977

Publications from national organizations include material on education, family, housing, insurance discrimination, media, politics, public service, sports, and Title IX, including the titles listed below. Dates ranges from 1971 to 1977. Miscellaneous North Carolina publications pertaining to women including a statewide survey of child care services and a review of  By Her own Bootstraps: a Saga of Women in North Carolina, by Albert Coates.

Box: 14  
National Publications on Women
1971-1977

file
Correspondence and literature on education, family, housing, insurance discrimination, media, politics, public service, sports, and Title IX, including:
item
Educational Needs of Rural Women and Girls, Report of the National Advisory Council on Women's Educational Programs.
item
Women and Housing, a Report on Sex Discrimination in Five American Cities, [HUD].
June 1975
item
Sex Discrimination in Insurance: A Guide for Women,, Women's Equality Action League, .
1977
item
Report of the Task Force on Women in Public Broadcasting, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, .
1975
item
Chart, Federal Laws and Regulations Prohibiting Sex Discrimination, .
March, 1976
item
Women in Public Service, Women's Division Republican National Committee, .
1971

Box: 15  
North Carolina Publications on Women, .
1974, 1977

item
Who Cares for Children? A Survey of Child Care Services In North Carolina, (Durham: Learning Institute of NC) .
1974
item
MBA Executive Program, Wake Forest University, n.d.
item
Review,By Her Own Bootstraps, by Albert Coates
1977.