IRWG Celebrates a Quarter Century of Feminist Research
In 1995, a group of women faculty, led by Professor Abby Stewart, organized and approached President James J. Duderstadt with a proposal to establish a new University structure to meet unmet needs and fulfill the President’s goals, as outlined in his Agenda for Women. Women’s Studies, founded in 1973, was already established as an interdisciplinary program that legitimated the study of women at U-M by offering courses and supporting new research models that incorporated women and gender as valid jumping-off points. Alongside Women’s Studies, the Center for the Education of Women (CEW), founded in 1964, had long helped community women and students achieve their professional and educational goals.
Yet, by the mid-’90s, more than 20 years after the University heralded a new era for women, no unit existed to strengthen and focus the many, varied faculty research projects related to women and gender that had emerged throughout the University– often in isolation, unknown to each other.
President Duderstadt recognized that this proposal would help address his goal, as described in his Agenda for Women, “to make the University of Michigan the leading institution for the study of women and women’s issues.” In September 1995, the Board of Regents unanimously approved the establishment of the Institute for Research on Women and Gender.
For 25 years, IRWG has galvanized interdisciplinary gender research across the University of Michigan. We celebrate the tireless work of committed faculty, students, staff, and administrators over the past quarter century, and we look toward a vibrant future!