BROOKLYN COLLEGE ARCHIVES AND SPECIAL COLLECTIONS
Women's Studies Program
Accession Number 92-007
Women’s Studies as an academic discipline was
founded in the late 1960’s in response to political and social movements
taking place outside of academia. Landmark books such as The Feminine
Mystique by Betty Friedan and Sexual Politics by Kate Millet helped in
initiating changes in society for the empowerment of women. Feminist
scholarship was becoming a newly accredited academic field. Universities
began to set up Women’s Studies programs in response to changes outside
the universities as well as in response to demands by students and faculty.
Universities were also organizing African Studies,
Hispanic, Judaic and other ethnic studies in response to movements and
political changes of the 1960’s. Feminists with the goal of changing
a sexist world specifically organized Women’s Studies in academia.
Women’s Studies developed specifically for the study of feminist scholarship
and for learning alternative ways of critiquing andocentric academia in
Brooklyn College was one of the first institutions
of higher education in the nation, and the first in the City University
of New York, to establish a Women’s Studies Program. “The Woman’s
Studies Program at Brooklyn College was initiated at the grassroots level
by students, faculty and staff. It became an official part of the
college structure in 1974. Women’s Studies is an academic discipline
devoted to knowledge that is free from gender bias. The program provides
a feminist perspective on the myths and realities of women’s lives.
Studies of individuals, institutions, and intellectual ideas are approached
from historical, cross-cultural, and contemporary viewpoints.” Between
1969 and 1984 four hundred and fifty women’s studies programs came into
existence and are established in France, Germany, Italy and South America.
For the last four years, women at Brooklyn
College have been active in generating programs to meet the needs of women
within the college community. Since the Brooklyn College Women’s
Organization (BCWO) was formed, the students group has aligned with BCWO,
which itself has become affiliated with CUNY Women’s Coalition. The
student BC Women’s Liberation Group put on a successful week-long Women’s
Festival in the Spring of 1973, drawing together women and men from the
campus and the community for a variety of educational and cultural programs.
These include the establishment of a Affirmative Action Committee, and
a Discrimination Committee, a Commission on a Day Care Center, and interdisciplinary
Committee on Women’s Studies which has developed a Women’s Studies Program,
and a Women’s Center Planning Committee.
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