News and Views
Spring 1998 Volume 8, Issue 2
Research and Development
POWRE Grant Focuses on Women Scientists
The Center for Women's Studies and Gender Research received a grant for$65,274 from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for a Workshop on Professional Opportunities for Women in Research and Education (POWRE). Sue Rosser, the Principal Investigator and Director of Women's Studies, brought together 30 scientists from different disciplines throughout the country and about 40 program officers from NSF for a workshop held March 30-April1, 1998 in Washington, DC. The workshop focused on the best ways for the National Science Foundation to create a program to facilitate women scientists in the formulation and development of their careers and upon changing institutional climates to be more favorable to women. Participants in the workshop attempted to address the following questions:
- Is the overarching goal of POWRE appropriate?
- Is the goal clearly articulated, understood, and accepted in the scientific community both inside and outside the foundation?
- Is the program with four categories as currently structured, the best way to meet the goal?
- Does the current program facilitate advancement at crucial junctures in the lives/careers of women scientists?
- How should the wide range of disciplinary/sub-disciplinary differences regarding representation of women, climate issues, and disciplinary cultures within science, engineering, and mathematics be addressed by POWRE?
- Given the limited nature of funding available for POWRE, how should the resources best be allocated to catalyze progress of women scientists?
- How should POWRE be assessed/evaluated to comply with Government Performance Regulations for Assessment (GPRA), as well as to provide useful information for future program planning?
- What should the directions for POWRE's evolution be over the next five and ten year periods?
The workshop involved intense discussion of these issues, primed by presentation of relevant data by researchers who specialized in each area. The recommendations from the workshop and the final report will be used by the NSF Program Officers to write the new Program Announcement for POWRE. The group also recommended that the Foundation find long-term strategies to improve the environment for women scientists and engineers in academia and to encourage female-friendly institutional changes which will lead to attraction and retention of more women and more ethnic diversity among scientists, engineers, and mathematicians.
Alice Charlotte Hogsett Scholarship Award
Laurie Day, graduate student, was the recipient of the award Laurie Day, graduate student in the Department of Sociology, received the Alice Charlotte Hogsett Award of $500 for 1999. Day submitted a paper, "Differences in Attrition Rates in Traditional Male Majors," and demonstrated a wide range of activities in which she has participated that serve to further the cause of women in our society.
In the Spotlight
Polly French Doughty, Friend of Women's Studies
Polly French Doughty, local activist, has been a supporter of Women's Studies since the program's earliest days. For 10 years she has served on various committees, assisted with fundraising, and supported many of the programs and events sponsored by the Center.
Polly Doughty first became affiliated with Women's Studies at UF as the result of her community activism in women's issues. She had worked with many women (and men) in Gainesville to push for the passage of the Equal Rights Amendment in Florida. Doughty was known for her ability to work with many community leaders and was "fearless" in asking for funds and for lobbying efforts (such as calling state legislators to urge them to vote for equality). Though her efforts helped change the vote of the two senators representing this district, the ERA failed in Florida and the U.S.
Later, when Dr. Linda Wolfe became the director of Women's Studies (1989-1991), she asked Doughty to serve on the executive committee. Two of the main challenges they faced were increasing publicity and, of course, with a limited budget, obtaining outside funds. At the time Women's Studies consisted of one office, a small library, and an annual budget of $3,000.
Doughty's major contribution to the growth of the program was her ability to bring together women in the community who shared a common interest in furthering the small, but strong, program. Her networking efforts resulted in the inception of many events, some of which still occur today, including the annual book sale fundraiser at Goerings' Book Store which has been a tradition for the past six years.
Another of Doughty's fundraising efforts resulted in a cocktail reception at the home of President and Mrs. Lombardi, an opportunity to network with both faculty and community people. (Doughty who had developed the invitation list and collected the funds, missed the reception because a flat tire caused a six hour delay on a return trip from St. Petersburg!)
The newsletter, which began as a four-page photocopied publication, became a useful tool to reach out to people in the community for their support, and thus began the drive for Friends of Women's Studies memberships.
In an attempt to encourage research in the area of Women's Studies, Dr. Helga Kraft (director from 1991- 1995) and Doughty initiated a scholarship in honor of the first director of Women's Studies at UF, Irene Thompson. Each year a student is honored with this merit scholarship.
In addition to her work here, Doughty has been active in several regional and state organizations, including the Governor's Commission on the Status of Women (now known as the Florida Commission on the Status of Women) under then Governor Bob Graham. In 1980 she chaired the first conference "Women as Victims: An Awareness and Prevention Seminar" which continues to receive support from area law enforcement agencies. Today the annual seminar attracts between 400 and 500 participants each year. This year's conference is called "Women and Men: Moving Beyond a Culture of Violence."
As president of Friends of Women's Studies, Doughty continues to bean active and integral program supporter. She remains a member of the executive committee under the leadership of current director, Dr. Sue Rosser, and has been helpful in introducing Rosser to members of the Gainesville community.
Today, with the tireless dedication of Women's Studies supporters, our program has more than quadrupled in size. We dedicate this column in honor of Polly Doughty's many contributions.