Finding Aids to Official Records of the Smithsonian Institution Archives
Record Unit 310
Smithsonian Institution Women's Council
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- .
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.
Boxes 10 and 11 contain materials restricted indefinitely; see finding aid. Contact reference staff for details.
This collection is indexed under the following access terms. These are links to collections with related topics, persons or places.
- Owens, Edna W.
- Gayle, Gretchen
- Mayo, Edith
- Quinn, Mary C.
- Walker, Dianne G.
- Packard, Penelope A.
- DeRosa, Rosemary M.
- James, Charlene
- Davis, Audrey B.
- Santiago, Margaret A.
- Beuck, Elizabeth C.
- Kalcik, Susan J.
- SIWC four star: newsletter for the Smithsonian Institution Women's Council
Physical Characteristics of Materials in the Collection
- Architectural drawings
- Black-and-white photographs
- Serials (publications)
Smithsonian Institution Archives, Record Unit 310, Smithsonian Institution Women's Council, Records