The 1960s Womens Movement documented the reality
of patriarchy, gender inequality and stereotypical labels in place regarding
the actions and reactions of women as they became increasingly visible
as societal participants. Awareness of the universality of these phenomena
prompted research, writing and, ultimately academic programs relating
experience, expanding visibility and initiating change.
In 1970 there were only 2 formal academic Womens Studies
programs, one at Cornell and one at San Diego, and 100 courses taught
at 48 institutions of higher learning. By 1973, 6 Bachelor of Arts and
3 Master of Arts programs were in place nationwide. One year later, 112
programs had been established and 4,990 courses were being taught in the
disciplines of literature, history and sociology at 995 institutions as
program relevance and interest continued to grow.
Fredonias Womens Studies program began early in February 1973 when Dr. Maureen Fries (English), in consultation with other women faculty developed an experimental course proposal for Images of Women. An interdisciplinary survey of problems raised by the emergence of the New Feminism from the standpoint of several academic disciplines. The Curriculum Committee tabled the course because of a perceived lack of student support. This action was followed by a petition from the Womens Awareness Alliance and letters of support from the Student Government Association and the Leader for a Womens Studies course as valuable to the educational study of the cultural and life development of the academic community while creating the opportunity to study the roles, function and consciousness of women in society.