Browse Exhibits (8 total)

Roberta Salper

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Roberta Salper was an assitant dean in 1969, as well as a professor in the Hispanic Languages Department. She helped develop the Women's Studies program through a series of educational panels and advocacy work. Roberta Salper was also selected as the first full time appointment as a visiting distinguished professor in the Women's Studies program at the San Deigo State College, and later also worked as dean of humanities and social sciences at Penn State Erie. 

Sharon Johnson's Sex Discrimination Court Case


Sharon Johnson sued Pitt on wromgful denial of tenure due to sex discrimination. Dr. Johnson was a Biochemistry professor at the University of Pittsburgh at the time, and when applying for tenure she got denied for avroius reasons, none of which were relayed to her. This trail went over the course of about 6 years where she had help from organization like NOW (National Organization for Women). 

Pitt and Roe vs Wade

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The Pitt community experienced a lot of actvism from both faculty and students prior to and after the decision of Roe v. Wade in 1973. Student-led groups organized pro-choice rallies along with different on-campus events like movie nights with open discussions about abortion. The faculty and administration of the university also played a role in abortion activism and spoke at seminars and panels which helped women receive information on where to go for safe abortions. 

Undergraduate Women's Union

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The Undergraduate Women's Union was one of the most active women's organization on Pitt's campus during the 1970s. After being proposed by student Ellen Ganley, the  union was created in 1971. This coincided with the growing demand for a Women's Studies program. The union allowed students to get further involved in on campus activism and feminist activities in the Pittsburgh area.  


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The Adivsory Council of Women's Opprotunities (ACWO), established by Chancellor Posvar on July 21, 1970, was created to consult and review the four areas in his new study. Posvar and the Univeristy were challenged by the University Committee for Women's Rights (UCWR) to reevaluate the status of women within the University and how they have been limiting their opprotunities and growth. In response, Posvar launched four study groups to investigate the areas of educational programs for women, career opprotunities and services for women faculty and non faculty, and lastly, admissions, counselling, and special services for women. The ACWO was tasked with reviewing these studies and many of its members would continue on to call for and support the women's studies program. 

Ina Braden Sex Discrimination Trial


Ina Braden went through with a class action lawsuit against the University of Pittsburgh. A class action lawsuit is where which one member, Ina Braden in this case, represent a group of people. This law suit dealing with sex discrimination experinced by many of Pitt's faculty. The hope is to not only get compenstaed for the discrimination faced, but ensure the University partakes in developing non-discrimination practices.

Longitudinal Look at the Development of the Women’s Studies Program and the Women Involved

This exhibit is a chronological look at the continual shift in discourse surrounding the women’s studies department, and it’s included topics. Around the time of the development of the program in the 1970’s, the topics approached by the department were relatively new in academia. As a result of this, and the ongoing societal shifts, the environment surrounding the program has shifted dramatically over time. This exhibit explores the topics discussed, the news and publications, and the descriptions of undergraduate and faculty women.

Marianne Novy


Marianne Novy is a Professor Emerita at the University of Pittsburgh. She joined the English department in 1971 at the University. She has been involved with the GSWS program, previously Women's Studies Department, since her hiring. Novy was director of the program from 1994 to 1996 and worked to hire future director Kathleen Blee. Novy, a scholar in Shakespeare and Adoption studies, taught many classes in and outside the program in these subjects. She was also involved in created the Pittsburgh Consortium for Adoption Studies, where she organized many events. Novy retired from teaching in August 2016.