175. Airgram A–384 From the Department of State to the Mission to the United Nations, Washington, January 20, 1975.1 2

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DATE: Jun 20 130 PM ’75

TO: USUN, New York
FROM: Department of State

E.O. 11552: NA

SUBJECT: International Women’s Year
REF: A-810

Reference is made to the Secretary General’s report for information concerning observance of International Women’s Year in the United States.

The following report concerning the observance of IWY in the United States has been prepared for the United Nations in response to the Secretary General’s request. It should be forwarded promptly, if the Mission perceives no objection.


1. US Report
2. IWY Executive Order
3. Presidential Proclamation

US Planning for the Observance of IWY in the United States

On January 30, 1974 the President of the United States issued a proclamation calling upon all citizens of the United States, Federal Government officials, educational institutions, interested groups and others to begin now to work for the advancement of women. In Oct. 1973, the US center for the Observance of International Women’s Year was organized to coordinate the voluntary US in effort in support of the Year. An Executive Order directing and coordinating the Federal Government effort was signed January 9, 1975. At the same time a Presidential Advisory Commission of 35 persons was established to direct the government program assisted by a Secretariat located at the Department of State. The Commission will receive guidance from an inter-departmental advisory committee composed of representatives of all concerned Federal agencies. An estimated budget of $500,000 has been develoed for this program.

The Presidential Commission will review and coordinate IWY activities in the Federal Government and advise on those developed in the private sector.

All programs will be guided by the themes and objectives established by the United Nations for IWY. However, Federal Agencies have been encouraged to develop individual programs according to their legislative mandates.

The following examples of programs at the Federal Government level that have been proposed for the Year and recently initiated may be of interest but do not include all IWY activity at the Federal level.

Department of Justice

A three-day conference is scheduled for May 14, 15, 16 to emphasize UN goals and objectives of International Women’s Year. The Conference will examine accomplishments and obstacles faced by women. The meeting will be opened by the Attorney General of the United States. The program will include speeches, panel discussions, workshops, training programs, film presentations and career counseling.

United States Civil Service Commission

The U.S. Civil Service Commission plans for IWY 1975 include:

The issuance of a Civil Service Commission directive, designating 1975 as international Women’s Year and indicating opportunities afforded by the Year to move forward toward the goals established for the U.S. Federal Women’s Program.

The issuance of a Civil Service Commission Career Counseling Handbook for women to help career counselors advise employees about their careers. The handbook will include sections on the need for career counseling, techniques for evaluating women’s work experience, setting of career goals and a description of successful counseling programs of other federal agencies.

Production of films for the public and private sector focusing on career choices, training and preparation for working women.

Preparation of a special International Women’s Year issue of the Civil Service Commission Journal.

Development of support for necessary legislation to amend title 5 of the United States Code and Fair Labor Standards Act to permit controlled experimentation with flexible work schedules. This would be of special benefit to working women who often need alternatives to a balanced 40 hour week.

Participation with federal agencies and the District of Columbia Metropolitan area in special ceremonies commemorating women’s history in the United States as well as social, economic and cultural affairs impacting on American women today.

Department of Transportation

The Department of Transportation plans an intensified affirmative action program to enhance women’s status within the department through a campaign that will feature IWY themes objectives.

Department of Interior

The Department of Interior has planned the following events:

A. “Woman of the Month” award; monthly assemblies with special speakers; IWY career counseling; IWY films; displays and pictorial exhibits; and IWY resource center; one month US visits by women leaders from the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands and their participation in Interior Department programs together with discussions about the status of women in the Trust Territory and plans for an enlarged political role in the future; reactivation of the White House Fellow Program; and special exhibits throughout the Year featuring women of the Interior Department in non-traditional careers.

Department of Commerce

A general meeting will open the Year with a statement by the Secretary of Commerce and department heads. Special programs will follow for each month thereafter. An Assembly addressed by a prominent woman political leader on the subject of women in politics will open the program in January. Subsequent months will feature special meetings and training for women in selected subjects. The program will feature articles about women to be published in house organs; seminars for career women; an annual award luncheon to recognize contribution of outstanding women. Special programs will be conducted in various operating units of the Department on the following subjects: cancer, communication, women in the federal sector, educational opportunities, special problems faced by foreign women, recognition of outstanding female employees, discussions on secretariat work and special lunchtime programs.

Department of Agriculture

The Department opened the year with the publication of a special issue of the Extension service, a magazine devoted to IWY, on the subject of women in non-traditional work roles in agriculture. Articles featured women as agricultural agents, biologists with sea studies programs, horticultural scientists, nutrition and home economics experts, family life specialists, plant disease specialists, hospital pathologists, consumer marketing agents, producer-writer-directors of TV programs, country agricultural agents and as community development specialists.

Department of Health, Education and Welfare

During the Year the Department of Health, Education and Welfare will emphasize programs for American women on “aging,” alcoholism, career development, disabled women; drug use and abuse; education, particularly the reduction of sex bias in education; family planning, reproduction and contraception, health, mental health; nursing homes and nurses and improvement of their nursing status and training for a broader health role: women in public assistance programs; social security, a study of questions involving different treatment of men and women under the social security program; economic status of elderly women, video taped programs for use of 10 regional offices, child care; child advocacy, and a study on women in health professions schools.

The Department of Health, Education and Welfare has scheduled a three-day conference on a World Women’s Health, June 18-20th in Washington, D.C. in honor of IWY. Participants will include foreign as well as United States representation.

US Center for the Observance of International Women’s Year

The US Center for International Women’s Year was organized in 1973 to develop and coordinate voluntary programs in support of IWY and to act as a clearing house for information about nongovernmental IWY activities throughout the United States.

The Center has developed a calendar of US-IWY events and a schedule of US activities for 1975. It has inspired the issuance of State and municipal proclamations and the Presidential Proclamation and an Executive Order for the observance of IWY. It has also stimulated the organization of IWY committees or encouraged existing Status of Women Commissions at the state or municipal level to plan for the observance of IWY in 1975.

  1. Source: National Archives, RG 59, Central Foreign Policy Files, P750013–1707. Unclassified. Drafted by Hendsch on January 16; cleared by Menter, Donnelly, and Allan; and approved by Heater. Attachment 2 is published as Executive Order 11832 in Department of State Bulletin, March 10, 1975, pp. 305–306. Attachment 3 is published as Proclamation 4262, January 30, 1974, in Weekly Compilation of Presidential Documents, Vol. 10, No. 5, p. 112.
  2. The Department outlined the principal efforts of the U.S. government to promote the International Women’s Year.