BCRW, Barnard Center for Research on Women From the Collection
Exhibits from the ephemeral archives at the Barnard Center for Research on Women

About the Exhibits


· Gender and Sexuality in Higher Education
· Lesbian Activism
· Women in the Workforce
· Women and Militarism
· Women and Religion
· Feminism and Sexual Health
· Women's Prison Activism

Women and Religion

Are Catholics Ready? JWRC Newsletter 1979 JWRC Newsletter 1986
We Are the Mainstream Genesis 2: Special Focus on Judaism and Feminism B'nai B'rith Resolutions
For Such a Time As This Presbyterian Women Practice and Support Ecumenicity Neshama
An Agenda for the 1990s Proudly Jewish, Actively Feminist The Communicator
Gay Women's Alternative Voices for Change Ma'yan Journey 1998
Ma'yan Journey 2000

Scroll down for information about each item in the exhibit.

Exhibit curated by Katherine Smith, '07
Published Fall 2007

The incorporation of women into various religious groups in the United States has gained speed in the past quarter century. As this exhibit demonstrates, for example, a feminist voice has gained influence within various denominations of Christianity and Judaism. Women's activism in their religious lives has developed into the movement for women's ordination, an expansion and reevaluation of women's roles in Orthodox, Conservative and Reformed Judaism, and the incorporation of feminist ideals and analytic interpretations of religious texts into church institutions. The documents included here—organizational newsletters, pamphlets, informational studies, journals, and resolutions—reveal diverse approaches to women's involvement in these religious communities, as well as the influence of religion and spirituality in asserting women's rights throughout the U.S. and abroad.

Are Catholics Ready?

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Are Catholics Ready?:
An Exploration of the Views of "Emerging Catholics" on Women in Ministry

By Maureen Fiedler and Dolly Pomerleau
Published by the Quixote Center, Inc., 1978

This study was initiated by Priests for Equality and the Quixote Center, Inc. to determine public opinion on women's leadership within Catholicism. The report provides statistical data and analysis on questions pertaining to both feminist and traditionalist Catholics and the existence of women in ministry. The population interviewed for this study was labeled "Emerging Catholics" because they were young, religiously-involved, well-educated, and liberal. The conclusions of this study suggest that it would take ten years from the date of the study for most Catholics in the U.S. to be ready for women priests.

JWRC Newsletter 1979

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JWRC Newsletter 1986

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Jewish Women's Resource Center Newsletters
1979 (Vol 1, no. 1); Spring 1986

The Jewish Women's Resource Center was created to offer women the opportunity to research Jewish history and the role of women within it. As stated in the first newsletter, published in 1979, the Center functions as an "information collective." The first JWRC Newsletter presented debates in the Jewish community (such as whether women will be Conservative rabbis), postings for community events in the New York Metro area, letters from individuals, and descriptions of important publications about women and Judaism. The Newsletter was revamped in 1986, and focused on the accomplishments of women in Jewish movements, as well as event postings and book reviews. The JWRC, by serving as a collective of women's history in Judaism, seeks to reassert women's historical and current contributions to Judaism.

We Are the Mainstream

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We Are the Mainstream:
Dissent in the Catholic Church

By Jenefer Ellingston
From the series Abortion in Good Faith
Catholics for a Free Choice, 1981

This booklet was part of a series entitled "Abortion in Good Faith," and it addresses the history of institutionalized authority within the Catholic Church. Jenefer Ellingston examines how the Church at the institutional level often remains static on issues relevant to the lives of its members, resulting in a division between Church doctrine and actual practices of Church members. This is especially the case when "natural and divine law . . . is applied to their own sexuality and childbearing decisions."

Genesis 2: Special Focus on Judaism and Feminism

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Genesis 2:
Special Focus on Judaism and Feminism

Vol. 15, No. 5, April 1984

Genesis 2 was a newspaper that served as a forum for the rejuvenation of the Jewish community in the U.S. This edition of Genesis 2 includes a section on Judaism and Feminism that challenges the typical responses to women's involvement in and critique of the Jewish community. These articles focus on the participation of women in Judaism, the incorporation of feminism into Judaism (rather than an opposition between feminism and Judaism), and the changing nature of Jewish families.

B'nai B'rith Resolutions

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B'nai B'rith Resolutions
Jewish Women International, formerly B'nai B'rith Women
Executive Board Meeting, Oct. 26-29, 1985

B'nai B'rith Women, part of B'nai B'rith and now called Jewish Women International, works to improve the lives of Jewish women worldwide. This collection of resolutions demonstrates the variety of issues on which BBW works. Among the issues covered are the U.N. Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), affirmative action, terrorism, international family planning, and women and tax reform. In 1985 BBW followed the lead of the United Nations Conference on Women in Nairobi, Kenya to advocate for the U.S. ratification of the U.N. CEDAW. BBW's resolution on affirmative action advocated for the use of realistic goals rather than quotas. The resolution on terrorism not only calls for a total rejection of violence as a means of achieving political goals, but petitions governments to be diligent in finding and punishing terrorists. The international family planning resolution calls for the U.S. to continue to fund international agencies that educate women on all their reproductive health options, rather than only those that advocate the "rhythm method." The resolution on women and tax reform advocates for a redistribution of the tax burden so that those in poverty, especially women, do not pay more than their equitable share.

For Such a Time As This

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For Such a Time as This:
1988 Report of the Women's Division

Women's Division, General Board of Global Ministries
The United Methodist Church, 1988

This report was developed to educate women in the United Methodist Church about the purpose and actions of the United Methodist Women. It outlines the areas of commitment, the main departments of United Methodist Women (Christian social relations, finance, and mission and membership development), staff members for each section, and the UMW's role within the larger United Methodist community.

Presbyterian Women Practice and Support Ecumenicity

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Presbyterian Women Practice and Support Ecumenicity
Presbyterian Women, circa 1988

Presbyterian Women created this pamphlet to publicize the achievements and goals of the "Ecumenical Decade" (1988-1998), a movement to increase women's involvement and visible presence in the Presbyterian Church. The pamphlet highlights six major organizations within the Presbyterian Church that encourage women's involvement or are already useful resources for women: Church Women United, Church World Service, Friendship Press, Bread for the World, The Fellowship of the Least Coin, and IMPACT.


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Encouraging the Exploration of Women's Spirituality in Judaism

The K'fari Center, Inc., Summer 1990

This newsletter includes articles, poems, and interviews that focus on women's involvement in Jewish spirituality. Topics include prayer at the Western Wall, kinship systems in the Torah, an analysis of the mechitzah (the male/female divider in a Synagogue), and meditation. Neshama was published by The K'fari Center, Inc., an organization created to reenergize the Jewish community in the northeastern United States.

An Agenda for the 1990s

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An Agenda for the 1990s
The Commission for Women's Equality of the American Jewish Congress
circa 1990

The Commission for Women's Equality of the American Jewish Congress is a diverse group of individuals throughout the U.S. dedicated to women's equality within Judaism and Jewish communities. This pamphlet lists the pioneering efforts since the Commission's establishment in 1984, the areas in which they pursue equality—including employment, health rights, sexual violence, and international networking—and the benefits of membership to the Commission for Women's Equality of the American Jewish Congress.

Proudly Jewish, Actively Feminist

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Proudly Jewish, Actively Feminist
The Commission for Women's Equality of the American Jewish Congress
Vol. I, No. 1, December 1993

The Commission for Women's Equality began to publish this newsletter in the early 1990s to inform its members of pertinent conferences and campaigns, as well as news in the Jewish community. The first edition of this newsletter, published December 1993, highlights the Women's Economic Summit, the National Breast Cancer Coalition meeting with President Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton, and the CWE Woman of Achievement Awards.

The Communicator

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The Communicator
Unitarian Universalist Women's Federation
September/October 1993

The Unitarian Universalist Women's Federation (UUWF) is a collection of women's groups and individuals from all UU churches and societies. This newsletter addresses topics pertinent to the Unitarian Universalist community, such as women's roles in Christianity, humanitarian work, and the reformation of UU's ministry. The September/October 1993 issue focuses on the feminist theology awards, the UUWF's biennial convention, the first WomanSpace Retreat, the changing role of UU ministry, and other topical issues.

Gay Women's Alternative

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Gay Women's Alternative
Calendar of Programs

Gay Women's Alternative, Universalist Church
October 1992-June 1993, November 1994-June 1995

The Gay Women's Alternative was a women's group that met at the 4th Universalist Society in New York City and served as a forum for discussion on feminist and gay issues. The group met weekly to discuss a range of topics pertaining to lesbian and feminist issues. Past speakers included Bella Abzug, Robin Morgan, and Ruth Messenger, among others. The Gay Women's Alternative serves as an example of the Universalist Church's inclusion of women and the LGBT community.

Voices for Change

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Voices for Change:
Future Directions for American Jewish Women

The National Commission on American Jewish Women, 1995

This document developed out of a 1994 conference that included members of the National Commission on American Jewish Women, researchers at Brandeis University's Maurice and Marilyn Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies, and individuals from Hadassah. These three groups met to discuss the reality of the lives of Jewish women in America and to formulate proposals for incorporating these women back into the Jewish community. The first chapter of Voices for Change outlines the conference's 'Call to Action' for reinvesting in American Jewish women. This four part recommendation includes building community, achieving equality, nurturing the soul and connecting to Israel. This document also includes the research conducted over 10 years that informed the conference. It concludes with various essays on women's involvement in the Jewish community.

Ma'yan Journey 1998

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Ma'yan Journey 2000

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Ma'yan, The Jewish Women's Project
Winter 1998; Winter 2000

Ma'yan is a component of the Jewish Women's Project that works to change the Jewish community to include and value women more. Ma'yan accomplishes this in part through its journal publication Journey. Typical editions include articles, poems, and stories about issues pertinent to women in the Jewish community; current events; inspirational Jewish women; and a listing of Ma'yan's programs. A sampling of the issues covered in Journey include Chanukkah heroines, Esther's role in Purim, Jewish writers, financial empowerment, women's stories of Kaddish, and Jewish women's history.

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