The records of the Smithsonian Institution Women's Council chiefly cover the period from 1980 to 1992,but there is some material from 1973 to 1979. For earlier records,
consult Record Unit 310, Records of the Smithsonian Institution Women's Council, 1972-1983. These records of the Council consist of election materials; fiscal records; attendance
records; correspondence; memoranda; agendas and minutes of Council and committee meetings; materials on exhibits, conferences, and lectures sponsored and/or attended by Council
members; and the Council's revised Constitution and By-laws, 1987. This collection contains a detailed record of the Council's fight for child care in the Smithsonian, including
correspondence with consultants, surveys of Smithsonian employees, plans for a proposed facility, and an extensive information file. Also notable are the records of the SIWC
Newsletter, including copies and rough drafts; an extensive information file on benefits, alternative work strategies, and health and fitness; and photographs of special
events. For related activities, see the Records of the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center, 1984-1994, Record Unit 7443.
The Smithsonian Institution Women's Council (SIWC) is an assembly of Smithsonian employees formed to represent the concerns of women before the administration of the
Smithsonian Institution. The Council was formally established by Secretary S. Dillon Ripley on April 19, 1972. The founding members were appointed by the Office of the Secretary
on September 13, 1972 and were thereafter elected by Smithsonian employees.
The SIWC operates as a voluntary support group, reporting directly to the Assistant Secretary for Finance and Administration and working with the Office of Equal Employment
and Minority Affairs. It is a member of the Smithsonian Advocacy Network, which is coordinated by the Wider Audience Development Program.
From 1973 to 1979 Council members were elected annually by Smithsonian employees; from then on, elections were held biennially. The Council consists of the twenty members
who receive the highest number of votes; the remaining nominees serve as alternates and on committees. The Council has monthly meetings to discuss projects and proposals and
to vote on issues. Each member is required to serve on at least one committee; committees meet weekly, every two weeks, or monthly. The Executive Committee, which consists
of the Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, and Historian, was elected annually by the Council until 1983. Since 1983 the Executive Committee has been elected by the Council
six months into its term, for a two-year period. Once a member's term on the Executive Committee is complete, members may choose to continue on the Council for a second two-year
term. The Executive Committee meets weekly to discuss administrative priorities and the next monthly agenda.
The Council is dedicated to the support of all employees but concentrates on issues most important to women. Its concerns have included improvement of benefit packages;
the institution of day-care facilities; the advancement of women into upper-echelon positions through training and institutional initiatives; and raising of the general institutional
consciousness about issues particular to women, both in the workplace and out. The Council sponsors programs, lectures, and training sessions; operates a library of resources;
helped to establish first Women's Week, then Women's History Month at the Smithsonian; worked for family leave, medical leave, and retirement packages; worked for flexible
working schedules and job-sharing opportunities; helped to establish the Smithsonian Early Enrichment Center, 1988, and the Infant Care Center,1991; and has published the
SIWC Newsletter since 1980, known as Four Star throughout this collection. The Council founded the Child Care Advisory Board and the Women in Museums Network.
The Senior Advisory Group to the SIWC was formed in 1984 to act as advisors and advocates to the Council.
Chairs of the Smithsonian Institution Women's Council have included: Edna Owens, 1972; Gretchen Gayle (Ellsworth), 1973; Edith Mayo, 1974; Mary C. Quinn, 1975; Diane G.
Walker,1976; Penelope A. Packard, 1977; Rosemary M. DeRosa, 1978; Charlene James, 1979; Audrey B. Davis, 1980; Margaret Santiago, 1981; Elizabeth Beuck (Derbyshire), 1982;
Susan Kalcik,1983-1985; Carolyn Jones, 1985-1987; Judith O'Sullivan, 1987-1989; Ellen V. Sprouls, 4/12/1989-11/19/1989; Janice Kaplan, 1989-1991; Joanne Gigliotti, 1991-1993;
and Heidi Schwartz, 1993- .
A complete list of the standing and ad hoc committees of the Council from 1972 to1992 follows. Most of these committees have records in Series 3 below, but the activities
of some are only recorded in monthly Council minutes and have no separate records in this Record Unit:
Ruth Adams - 1984-1985
Affirmative Action - 1988-1989, 1992
Brochure - 1985, 1990
Career Development - 1973-1974, 1976-1979, 1982
Child Care - 1973-1981 (called Day Care, 1982-1985, then part of Services & Benefits, 1985-1992)
Constitutional Review - 1986-1987
Day Care - 1982-1985 (called Child Care, 1973-1981, then part of Services & Benefits,1985-1992)
Family Leave - 1992
Information Processing - 1981-1985
Mentoring - 1992
Newsletter (includes Four Star, 1980-1992) - 1980-1992
Official Collateral Duty - 1985
Outreach - 1986-1990 (combined into Outreach Programs, 1991)
Outreach Programs - 1991-1992
Policies & Procedures - 1982-1983
Programs - 1975-1982, 1986-1990 (combined into Outreach Programs, 1991)
Publicity - 1972-1980 (absorbed into Newsletter, 1980)
Recruitment & Promotions - 1973-1979
May Sarton - 1984-1985
Senior Advisory Group - 1984, 1986, 1989
Services & Benefits - 1982-1992
Training - 1983-1985 (called Workshops and Seminars, then merged with Programs,1985)
This accession consists of records documenting Smithsonian Institution Women's Council (SIWC) activities and advocacy interests. Materials include memoranda; reports;
clippings; SIWC four star: newsletter for the Smithsonian Institution Women's Council; members lists; meeting agendas and minutes; and audio cassettes of speakers. Some materials
are in electronic format.
The records of the Council consist of correspondence; memoranda; newsletters of the Council and related women's groups; Council's Constitution with amendments and Charter;
newsclippings; meeting agendas; photographs of Council members, Smithsonian officials, and special events; an architectural drawing and plans of a proposed site for a child
care facility; and copies of publications related to the Council's activities. Included are files documenting the election of Council members; minutes, correspondence, and
financial records from Council meetings; surveys, evaluations, and reviews of statistical data on women and minorities in the Smithsonian workforce; a 1983 report to the Smithsonian's
Executive Committee discussing the Council's history, achievements, and areas of involvement; files of various commmittees including the Four Star newsletter, career
development, child care plans for Smithsonian employees, training, and upward mobility; files on a proposed Smithsonian women's exhibit; and records of the SI Minority Women's
Council, a group formed prior to the official establishment of the SIWC. Working copies of the Four Star are restricted.
The Smithsonian Institution Women's Council (SIWC) was formally established by the Secretary of the Smithsonian on April 19, 1972. The Council was originally organized
as an informal group of women employees to discuss promoting the status of women within the Institution's hierarchy. The Council's goals are dedicated to the achievement of
women employees, especially in their gaining access to jobs previously closed to them because of their sex. In addition, it lends cooperative strength to individuals and groups
seeking to promote the good of all Smithsonian employees. The SIWC's membership operates as a voluntary support group, representing the concerns of employees to the Smithsonian
administration. The Council reports directly to the Assistant Secretary for Administration, and its fiscal authority lies with the Office of Equal Employment Opportunity.
From 1973 to 1979, Council members were elected annually by Smithsonian employees; thereafter, elections were held biannually. The Council consists of the twenty members who
receive the highest number of votes in the election; the remaining nominees serve as alternates. The Council convenes once a month to conduct its business meetings. During
these meetings, projects and proposals are discussed, direction of Council activities is examined, and formal action is taken on various issues. The Executive Committee of
the Council consists of the Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, Secretary, Treasurer, and Historian. It meets weekly to establish administrative priorities and the agenda for the
next SIWC meeting, provide an update on current projects, and discuss sensitive issues. The stated goals and objectives of the SIWC are achieved through providing training
opportunities, employee benefit programs, lectures, and the publication of its newsletter, Four Star. The Four Star was first issued as a bimonthly from June
1980 to April 1983, and with the June/August 1983 issue, it became a quarterly publication. Chairpersons of the Smithsonian Institution Women's Council have included Edna
Owens, 1972; Gretchen Gayle, 1973; Edith Mayo, 1974; Mary C. Quinn, 1975; Diane G. Walker, 1976; Penelope A. Packard, 1977; Rosemary M. DeRosa, 1978; Charlene James, 1979;
Audrey B. Davis, 1980; Margaret Santiago, 1981; Elizabeth Beuck, 1982; and Susan Kalcik, 1983- .
Boxes 10 and 11 contain materials restricted indefinitely; see finding aid. Contact reference staff for details.
This accession consists of the records of Joanna Cohan Scherer, who co-founded the Smithsonian Institution Women's Council newsletter Four Star. Materials include
correspondence; meeting agendas; statistical information; copies of the newsletter Four Star; and supporting documentation.