1960’s: Chronology of Recent Highlights of Wisconsin’s Women’s Movement (1962 - 1977)

February 1962 - First University of Wisconsin Continuing Education for Women Conference, in Madison, keynoted by Dr. Virginia Senders of Minnesota. Kathryn F. Clarenbach, employed by UW-Madison (Dean of Women Martha Peterson) to develop Continuing Education for Women program, chaired the Conference. In fall of 1972 Constance F. Threinen employed by UW-Extension to develop parallel program through Extension.

February 1963 - Esther Peterson, Director of Women’s Bureau, U.S. Department of Labor, keynoted UW-Madison Conference, “Professional Opportunities for Women.” About 300 attended.
At a breakfast session with 50 statewide women leaders, Esther Peterson raised the question of the merit of establishing State Commission on Status of Women. Patterned after President Kennedy’s Commission which she chaired, State groups soon came into being.

February 1963 - Carnegie Corporation of New York voted to fund three-year experimental fellowship program of University of Wisconsin graduate school for mature women seeking advanced degree. The E. B. Fred Fellowship program, later extended for a total of 5 years, saw 49 women with discontinuity in educational/professional life, through PhD or equivalent terminal degree.

Summer 1963 - Child Care on campus, for women (and men) students, faculty and staff, planned by University Education for Women. This was the first of three efforts to provide this service, but each annual attempt failed for want of funding.

June 1963 - “Today’s Woman in Tomorrow’s World,” non-credit course for women considering some changes in their lives, offered on Madison campus for 100 enrollees. This four-session class was offered for 3 consecutive summers (by Kathryn F. Clarenbach).

July 1963 - Governor John B. Reynolds issued press release calling first statewide Conference on Wisconsin Status of Women and announcing his intention of establishing Governor’s Commission.

August 1963 - Wingspread Conference on “Women in College and University Teaching,” a symposium on staff needs and opportunities in Higher Education. Conference was under the auspices of the UW-Madison School of Education.

November 1963 - First Wisconsin Conference on Status of Women, about to convene in Wisconsin Center, UW-Madison, cancelled on word of President Kennedy’s death.

January 1964 - Reconvened first Wisconsin Conference on Status of Women. Met in The Wisconsin Center, UW-Madison, 350 people attended. Anthropologist Ethel Alpenfels keynoted. Conference focused on Inventory of the issues and was geared to emergence of statewide leadership, chaired by Kathryn F. Clarenbach. Proceedings published and widely distributed.

May 1964 - Governor John Reynolds established first Wisconsin Commission on the Status of Women and named Kathryn F. Clarenbach chairman. This was the 25th state Commission to be named, but because of preceding planning and statewide conference, was off to a headstart.

June 1964 - Wisconsin representatives from Commission on Status of Women attended first National meeting of Commission in D.C., convened by Citizens Advisory Council on Status of Women, Women’s Bureau of US Labor Department, and Interdepartmental Committee on Status of Women. Kathryn F. Clarenbach reported on Wisconsin organization.

November 1964 - Governor Warren Knowles elected. Continued and reconstructed Status of Women Commission with some changes in membership but with no discontinuity. Commission still had no budget. Kathryn F. Clarenbach renamed chairman.

December 1964 - At request of Governors Commission on the Status of Women, Wisconsin State Bureau of Personnel conducted first survey to determine status of women in state employment. Results of survey were compiled, and report written by Marian L. Thompson.

February 1965 - “New Approaches to Counseling Girls in the 1960’s” - midwest regional pilot consultation in Chicago, sponsored by Women’s Bureau, United States Department of Labor, The Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. Dick Roth and Bill Erpenbach of Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction and Kathryn F. Clarenbach, chair of Wisconsin Governors Commission on the Status of Women, were among participants - 17 of whom were from Wisconsin.

March 1965 - First Major Report of Governors Commission on Status of Women, presented to Governor Knowles at 2nd statewide conference, Wisconsin Center, Madison. Conference was cosponsored by State Board of Vocational and Adult Education, State Department of Public Instruction, Wisconsin Department of Public Welfare, University of Wisconsin, and Women’s Bureau of US Department of Labor.

Spring 1965 - The first Headstart Centers In Wisconsin opened. In Milwaukee, Caroline Carroll was the first Headstart teacher in the U.S. Federal funding for day care for the children of migrant workers was also made available.

June 1965 - Betty Friedan, author of The Feminine Mystique, lectured to enthusiastic audience in the Wisconsin Union. Her return engagement in February 1977, turned away an overflow crowd of 2,000.

Fall 1965 - Wisconsin Industrial Commission, chaired by Joe Fagan, created a special study committee to try to work out a proposal to reconcile requirements of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 for equal opportunity, with the special protections in Wisconsin labor law for women and minors. Catherine Conroy of Communications Workers of America, Representative Caroline Blanchard and Kathryn F. Clarenbach of the Governors Commission on the Status of Women served on the committee.

March 1966 - “Women on the Move,” Conference at UW-Milwaukee, sponsored by National Conference of Jewish Women, Milwaukee Section. Fourteen organizations joined as co-sponsors in this serious look at women who live in poverty.

March 1966 - Dr. Alice Rossi, University of Chicago Sociologist, keynoted UW Conference on Women in Science, sponsored by women’s science fraternity, Sigma Delta Epsilon, and co-sponsored by the office of University Education of Women.

March 1966 - Beaver Dam became one of two US cities to have a Mayor’s Commission on the Status of Women. Gene Boyer, prime mover of this effort, was named its chair.

April 1966 - First Governor’s Conference on Equal Employment Opportunity, Milwaukee. Richard Graham, EEOC Commissioner, keynoted the conference. He was later to become a national board member of NOW.

Spring 1966 - Eight regional conferences, sponsored by Governor’s Commission on the Status of Women and co-sponsored by State Colleges (Eau Claire and Stout combined). These first such events in Wisconsin were well attended and successful.

May 1966 - Second Annual Conference on “Women in Action” sponsored by UW-Milwaukee and UW-Extension, was coordinated by Professor Dorothy Miniace. Theme “Woman’s Responsibility in World Affairs” was keynoted by NBC correspondent Pauline Fredericks.

June 1966 - “The Potential of Women Who Live in Freedom,” was the theme of the 10th Annual Adult Education Forum held in Madison. Sponsored by UW-Extension in cooperation with the Wisconsin Federation of Women’s Clubs.

July 1966 - Wisconsin had 13 representatives at the 3rd National Conference of State Commissions in DC. Kathryn F. Clarenbach spoke on panel chaired by Equal Employment Opportunity Commission member Richard Graham.
National Organization for Women organized on final day, with 11 Wisconsin people among 27 original members. Catherine Conroy volunteered Kathryn F. Clarenbach as temporary chair, and Analoyce Clapp recorded minutes of founding session.

October 1966 - At the organizing conference of the National Organization for Women, four Wisconsin women were elected to the national board: Catherine Conroy, Sister Joel Read, Sister Austin Doherty, and Kathryn F. Clarenbach who was elected national chair of the Board.

February 1967 - As part of UW-Extension’s merger, the Madison campus office, University Education for Women, was moved into Extension and combined with Continuing Education for Women. Kathryn F. Clarenbach, Constance F. Threinen, and Marian L. Thompson constituted the staff of that office.

March 1967 - Third Statewide Conference of Governor’s Commission on the Status of Women was held in Milwaukee. Co-sponsored by UW-Milwaukee et al (10 Educational Institutions). Keynoted by Representative Martha Griffiths of Michigan who spoke on needed reforms in Social Security.

April 1967 - First meeting of the Milwaukee chapter of NOW was held at Alverno under the chairpersonship of Joel Read, 26 members present. It was called the first meeting of the Milwaukee Chapter Pro Tem of NOW (the thinking at that time was not clear if there would be local chapters.)

November 1967 - Wisconsin Governor’s Commission on the Status of Women hosted first Midwest Conference of Commissions, Wisconsin Center, UW-Madison. Nine states participated in this conference, which was funded in part by Office of Economic Opportunity and US Labor Department. Two publications resulted: “Women in Poverty” and “Handbook for Commissions on the Status of Women,” written by Marian L. Thompson and Kathryn F. Clarenbach.

June 1968 - “Wisconsin Women, Know Your Rights” published by Milwaukee Sentinel and written by Marian McBride. Reprinted from series originally published in Milwaukee Sentinel, the publication won the National Bar Association Award of Merit.

July 1968 - Wingspread Conference, “What Wisconsin Women Can Do to Reduce Violence.” Attended by over 100 women leaders in the State, the meeting was inspired by a similar national conference in New York City sponsored by McCall’s Magazine.

November 1968 - Sister Joel Read, Professor of History, named President of Alverno College in Milwaukee. Her administration has subsequently attracted national attention and she has served in numerous national capacities.

March 1969 - Second Major Report of Wisconsin Commission on the Status of Women presented to Governor Warren Knowles at statewide conference in Madison.

May 1969 - US Department of Labor invited one representative from each state to DC. Secretary Schultz and Elizabeth D. Koontz, Director of the Women’s Bureau, asked gathering if they would like to form their own national association. Each of five regions elected two representatives to serve on a Planning Committee. Kathryn F. Clarenbach of Wisconsin was elected chair of this ten member committee.

June 1969 - Elizabeth Duncan Koontz, Director of Women’s Bureau, US Department of Labor, addressed conference of Wisconsin Women Leaders at Park Motor Inn, Madison. Betty Smith of Madison, elected chair of Wisconsin Governor’s Commission on the Status of Women which sponsored conference, chaired the conference.

September 1969 - CapitolAires, girls drum and bugle corps of Greater Madison, formed under leadership of Pat Barkenhagen. Providing a continuing youth program in which girls can participate, CapitolAires has been a championship winner since 1971. On August 26, 1975, Women’s Equality Day during International Women’s Year, their US Open All-Girl Championship was recognized by a performance on the Wisconsin Capitol steps.

Also see: Introduction to the 60’s & 70’s | 1960’s | 1970’s | Introduction to the late 70’s-2000 | 1977-1983 | 1984-2000