The Women's Coalition of Milwaukee, 1972-1987
© 1987 by J. M. Dombeck aka Jamakaya. All rights reserved.


Conclusion and Appendix


The Take Back the Night movement exemplified the pattern of feminist advocacy, community education, and service which characterized most of the activities of the Women's Coalition. Founded in 1972, the Coalition supplied a common meeting place and communications center for the many women's groups which developed in Milwaukee in the wake of the modern wave of feminism. The Coalition's purposes were "...to combat sex discrimination...to educate women regarding their legal rights, vocational possibilities and personal health" and "to serve as an advocate for women; to interpret to the community at large the special concerns and problems of women."1 The Women's Coalition aggressively carried out those mandates of advocacy and community education. In the process, the Coalition helped establish direct social services and legislative and institutional reforms which affect all Milwaukeeans today.

Programmatically, the Coalition functioned effectively when responding to needs expressed by the community. The Coalition was less concerned with the anxieties of businesswomen climbing up the corporate ladder – the most prevalent and misleading image of modern feminism purveyed by the national media – than with the everyday survival needs of beleaguered groups of women in the predominantly working class city of Milwaukee. The Women's Crisis Line was formed when women in various stressful situations called the Coalition for help and advice. When calls to the Crisis Line indicated the pervasive problem of domestic abuse in Milwaukee, the Coalition initiated its Task Force on Battered Women. Other calls revealed the lack of support and counseling services for prostitutes and displaced homemakers, so the Coalition embarked on its experimental Myriad program and the Displaced Homemakers Project. Take Back the Night was instigated in response to brutal attacks on women in the community.

To some extent, the pattern of responding to problems hampered the Coalition from setting long term goals and direction; organizers were too busy reacting to immediate needs and crises to plan ahead. As a result, the Coalition experienced periods of inactivity and lack of direction in the intervals between projects. As the Task Force on Battered Women moved toward autonomy in 1976, the Coalition suffered losses of staff, funding, and organizational focus. The fire that year exacerbated the crisis of confidence, but did not create it. So, too, in 1985, as the Take Back the Night movement and the Community Education Project wound down, the Women's Coalition found itself somewhat adrift. Thrust back to its early years, the Coalition survived on seed monies for new projects and small grants for educationals. In 1987, the Coalition pinned its hopes on a $6,000 grant from the Lutheran Church of America to revive a prostitute support project similar to Myriad.2

Debates over the proper role of the Women's Coalition often accompanied the launching of new services. Was its purpose to establish direct social services, or was it primarily designed to provide education and political consciousness-raising? Georgia Ressmeyer feared that dependence on funding sources for social service projects could dilute and deflect the Coalition's commitment to advocacy. Ressmeyer contended:

If we went into a direct social service direction, we'd tend to get more bureaucratized and we'd get more caught up in pleasing the funding sources...We didn't want to lose that feminist perspective.3

Others shared her concern, but recognized that funding for service projects sustained the Women's Coalition as a whole. Judi Selle stated:

No one was going to fund the Coalition for sitting in at the District Attorney's Office, demanding Breier's resignation, or printing radical feminist literature ...The projects legitimized the Coalition and ensured its survival.4

Despite the debate, the record indicates that the Women's Coalition maintained its integrity as a feminist organization while also providing needed services. In fact, the projects served as a vehicle for presentation of the Coalition's feminist analysis to the community at large. For instance, a widely published advertisement for the Task Force on Battered Women declared:

Men will beat women as long as they are allowed to regard women as inferiors or as 'property of marriage.' And women, as long as they accept this judgement, will continue to take the beatings... Social attitudes about women influence their treatment. New ideas have come forth to replace outmoded notions about 'women's work, women's place, women's role.'... FACT: Women are not the property of the men to whom they relate. FACT: Woman beating is not a private matter, it is a public issue.5

The Coalition politicized the issues of prostitution and displaced homemakers through its services, newsletter, lectures, and the media. The Community Education Project incorporated a critique of sex role socialization into its preventive education curriculum. Rather than diluting its impact, the service projects complemented the Coalition's goals of education and feminist advocacy. Ruth Bukowiecki felt the Coalition's most successful programs combined "system advocacy" – working for institutional changes – with "service advocacy" – providing needed social services.6 The Women's Crisis Line and the Task Force on Battered Women, in particular, are responsible for creating enduring institutional reforms.

Structurally, the Women's Coalition exhibited both strengths and weaknesses. Its main strength lay in the fact that numerous organizations linked together as a coalition exercised greater clout collectively than did any one group. Its ability to mobilize hundreds, even thousands of supporters as with Take Back the Night, made the Coalition a powerful influence within the community. Although its public image was one of strength and cohesiveness, the Women's Coalition experienced a number of internal divisions and debates. Major ideological conflicts occurred over leadership, decision-making, programs, priorities, and male participation in Coalition events. Some of these issues were resolved amicably, others caused long-standing fissures within the organization. In the 1980s, an important challenge came from black women who, alarmed by incidents of racial slurs and insensitivity, demanded a greater role in the Coalition as well as programs to combat racist attitudes among white activists. In 1987, two black women serve on the Women's Coalition Board of Directors; one is its President, Marion Wardeh. Members and staff of the Women's Coalition expended substantial time and energy on internal mediation over the years. The organization worked continually to maintain its status as a unified coalition.7

Increasingly bureaucratic procedures characterized the operating structure of the Women's Coalition despite fears and attempts to prevent it. As its roles expanded from a simple meeting place and information center to include the administration of social service projects, the budget, staff, and paperwork grew exponentially. In 1973, the Coalition listed receipts of just over $1,500. By 1981, the budget mushroomed to over $100,000. The Coalition expanded to a peak of eight full-time and six part-time employees in 1981, from an office staffed originally by volunteers. Adoption of personnel policies, more rigorous accounting procedures, and changes in the Coalition's tax status and governing structure accompanied this growth.8

It would be a mistake, however, to view the Coalition's history as one of progressive expansion, from the nadir in funding and activism in 1976-77 to the $100,000 budget of 1981. By 1983, for example, revenue had fallen back to $27,000.9 Cutbacks or curtailment of government funded programs like CETA, VISTA, and the Work Incentive Program reduced dramatically the number of personnel available to the Coalition. In the mid-1980s, the Women's Coalition looked again to volunteers to initiate and maintain its programs. The three federally funded CETA positions, which had done so much to stabilize Coalition operations, were withdrawn by 1981. Coalition feminists had foreseen the likelihood of reduced public support upon Ronald Reagan's election to the Presidency. From 1980 to 1983, they conducted a campaign to establish a local Women's Building, a centrally located structure with enough space to permanently house women's groups and businesses. They hoped that by combining the resources of non-profit feminist groups with woman-owned businesses they could "establish a sound economic base for women's organizing in Milwaukee by improving the efficiency of existing services and by developing new, more stable sources of funds."10

Despite ambitious efforts to attract support from private investors, foundations, the Small Business Administration, and Milwaukee's Community Development Agency, the drive for a Women's Building fell short of its goals and was discontinued in 1984. Failure to identify and draw upon consistent sources of funding was, and remains, the greatest liability of the Women's Coalition.11

In spite of its organizational weaknesses and inconsistencies, the Women's Coalition of Milwaukee compiled a lengthy record of achievements. Feminist activists of the Coalition initiated or contributed to the development of important social services in the Milwaukee community: the Women's Crisis Line, the Sexual Assault Counseling Unit in the District Attorney's Office, the Task Force on Battered Women, the Sojourner Truth House shelter, the Sexual Assault Treatment Center, and the Displaced Homemakers Network. Lobbying and more militant agitation by Coalition activists won legislative reforms on sexual assault and domestic violence and forced institutional changes in the criminal justice and educational systems. As a community based organization estab1ished during the national revival of feminism in the 1970s, the Coalition served as an effective conduit through which the needs of Milwaukee women could be articulated and addressed. The Women's Coalition's legacy to the community includes political education, legislative reform, and significant social services.

The Women's Coalition closed its doors and ceased operations in 1988. This history was researched and written in the years before its demise. It was written to complete my work toward a Masters degree in History at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. My hope is that others will use the many primary sources cited here to conduct further research into the struggles and accomplishments of the feminist movement in Milwaukee. Complete copies of Amazon, Common Ground and some Women's Coalition office files are lodged with the Milwaukee Public Library, the Milwaukee County Historical Society and the Golda Meir Library at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Appendix:
Member Groups and Projects of the Women's Coalition

National Organization for Women-Milwaukee, l972-1987l2

The local chapter of the National Organization for Women (NOW) was established in April of 1967 at a meeting held at Alverno College. Since its inception, Milwaukee NOW has worked on virtually every identifiable women's issue of the last two decades: abortion rights, divorce reform, equal pay and credit legislation, consciousness-raising, gender equity in education, poverty and social service assistance, childcare, sex segregation in public places, political campaigns, sexual assault, and marital property reform. Milwaukee NOW organized local efforts to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment in Wisconsin and nationally. NOW sometimes sponsored picketing and demonstrations to publicize women's issues and to show opposition to certain public figures or policies. Membership in local NOW through the l970s averaged approximately 400. Reflecting the downturn in feminist activism in the 1980s, local NOW membership in 1987 was about 200.13

Women's Crisis Line, 1972-1987

Initiated as a project of the Women's Coalition in 1972, the Women's Crisis Line later affiliated with the Counseling Center of Milwaukee and is currently (1987) administered by Good Samaritan Medical Center. The Crisis Line was designed as a 24 hour crisis intervention service for women, operated by specially trained women volunteers. By identifying rape and battering as serious community problems, the Crisis Line shaped the early agenda of the Women's Coalition. Many activists in later Coalition programs were veterans of Crisis Line work. Hundreds of women served as Crisis Line operators, and the Line has responded to tens of thousands of calls since its foundation.14

Amazon, 1972-1984

First published in May of 1972, Amazon newspaper covered Milwaukee's feminist events and issues and provided a forum for feminist writers and poets. Its early format of 2-4 mimeographed pages per month expanded into a 24-56 page newsprint edition published bi-monthly. Its circulation grew from 200-300 in 1974 to a peak of 1,500 in 1980. A collective of 5-10 women administered Amazon through most of its twelve years. The increasingly high costs of producing a small circulation periodical, as well as overwork and lack of monetary compensation for staff, caused Amazon to fold in 1984. Its coverage of feminist events and issues provides a valuable record of the women's movement in Milwaukee.15

Anti-Rape Council, 1973-1975

Formed in response to the poor treatment rape victims received at the hands of the Milwaukee Police Department and the District Attorney's Office, the Anti-Rape Council lobbied effectively for the establishment of an Anti-Rape/Witness Support Unit in the District Attorney's Office in 1974. The special unit supports and guides rape victims through the legal channels required for prosecution. The Council included representatives of the Women's Coalition, Women's Crisis Line, League of Women Voters, YWCA, NOW, and other concerned groups. After successfully establishing the Witness Support Unit, members went on to lobby for reform of Wisconsin's sexual assault statutes, which were revised in l976.16

Wisconsin Women in the Arts, 1973-1975

A National Conference on Women in the Arts held in Racine, Wisconsin in 1973 led to the foundation of Wisconsin Women in the Arts, a support and communications network for both professional and amateur women artists in the state. Although a member group of the Coalition for only two years, Wisconsin Women in the Arts continues – to operate in 1987. It sponsors juried art shows, poetry – readings, theater and dance performances, and a yearly statewide conference where members share their work and skills. Madison members produced a regular series called – "Winding Up Ladies" for television station WHA-TV.17

Milwaukee Women's Media Project, 1973-1975

Susan Luecke launched the Milwaukee Women's Media Project in 1973. The Project sought to spread the message of feminism through the local media by sponsoring public service announcements and scheduling guest appearances by feminist spokeswomen on television and radio shows. From 1973 to 1975, Luecke hosted an hour long "Women's Radio Show" each Wednesday on WZMF-FM. The program featured interviews with activists, discussions of women's issues, poetry readings, and a call-in format for listeners.18

Grapevine, 1974-1987

Grapevine provides social support and advocacy for lesbians in the Milwaukee area. Its weekly meetings alternate between informal discussions and specific topics presented by guest speakers. Grapevine sponsors picnics, camping trips, and other social functions. It has raised money for a Lesbian Mothers' Defense Fund (for lesbians embroiled in custody disputes) and other gay rights campaigns. Grapevine members also participate actively in projects and programs of the Coalition. Membership is fluid. There are no fees or requirements. Attendance at weekly meetings varies; as few as 10-12 and sometimes as many as 50 women attend.19

Paid My Dues and Women's Soul Productions, 1974-1976

Dorothy Dean founded Paid My Dues, a women's music journal, in 1974. Published bi-monthly, it was a networking and informational vehicle for the newly emerging women's music industry. Paid My Dues printed songsheets, discographies, and technical information, as well as biographical profiles on famous and obscure women songwriters and musicians. Paid My Dues led to the formation of Women's Soul Productions, which produced numerous concerts featuring local artists as well as national figures in the women's music industry: Cris Williamson, Casse Culver, Meg Christian, and others. [Publication of Paid My Dues was transferred to women in Chicago and eventually morphed into Hot Wire: The Women's Journal of Music and Culture, published by Toni Armstrong, Jr. into the 1990s.] 20

Feminist Center – University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 1974-1984

Women students at UW-Milwaukee organized the Feminist Center in 1974. It replaced a Women's Information Center begun two years earlier. The Feminist Center served as a gathering place for feminist students and faculty and, with access to student fee monies, organized many political, cultural, and educational events. The Feminist Center sponsored lectures by such national activists as Gloria Steinem and Andrea Dworkin. It produced concerts featuring local and national women musicians and participated in demonstrations and public hearings on women's issues. Feminist Center members initiated the campus Women's Transit Service and succeeded in forcing the student health center to provide birth control services. It closed in 1984 due to lack of student support.21

Women Rising Up Healthy, 1974-1976

Women Rising Up Healthy sponsored numerous self-help health workshops to encourage women to participate more actively in their own health care. Members criticized the insensitivity of established health care delivery systems and sought to de-mystify traditional medicine and make health care more accessible to women. Workshops focused on gynecological problems, sex and birth control information, and patient advocacy.22

Natural Woman, 1974-1976

Janet-Ruth Gilbert initiated Natural Woman, a combination art gallery and coffeehouse which utilized the large meeting room at the Women's Coalition. Natural Woman displayed the photography, paintings, and crafts of local women artists and occasionally sponsored performances by women poets and musicians. The limited space at the Coalition could not accommodate the enterprise, however, and Natural Woman discontinued in 1976.23

Wisconsin Task Force on Rape, 1975-1976

The Wisconsin Task Force on Rape was a statewide coalition of women's groups and other concerned individuals and organizations which lobbied for reform of Wisconsin's sexual assault statutes. Barbara Ulichny, a Milwaukee teacher who was later elected to the state Senate, coordinated the lobbying efforts. The rape reform bill was adopted in 1976. The Task Force on Rape was discontinued, but contacts initiated during the reform effort proved advantageous in later lobbying campaigns, such as those for reform of domestic abuse and divorce laws.24

Women's Graphic Arts Project, 1975-1976

In late 1974, the Women's Coalition purchased an offset printer and platemaker with funds supplied by the IBM Corporation. The press equipment was used to publish Amazon newspaper, the Coalition and NOW newsletters, and numerous leaflets and other materials. Michelle Burke, who headed the Project, also trained interested women in operating the press. It functioned as both a printing service for Coalition groups and a training program. Within a short time, however, damp conditions in the basement which housed the press forced it to be moved and later sold. The Project ended in 1976.25

Task Force on Battered Women, 1975-1987

The Task Force on Battered Women was initiated as a project of the Women's Coalition but became independent in 1979. The Task Force offers support and counseling for victims of domestic abuse and sponsors a special counseling program for men who are batterers. The Task Force launched the first shelter for battered women (and children) in Milwaukee, Sojourner Truth House, and also lobbied successfully for the adoption of domestic abuse legislation in 1979. The Task Force currently reaches over 10,000 people each year through its counseling services and community education efforts. [By 2000, the Task Force had changed its name to the Task Force on Family Violence and was still in operation.]26

Women Pro Se, 1975-1985

Mary Ullrich and Marcia C. Rachofsky, legal assistants at a law office, founded Women Pro Se in 1972. Women Pro Se helped women (and later, men) avoid the expensive experience of divorce by teaching them to process their own divorces without legal representation. Pro Se means "by oneself." Pro Se workshops focused on grounds for divorce, separation, or annulment, necessary filing papers, and court procedures. The workshops also served as informal support groups for participants. Thousands utilized the Pro Se service. In 1987, Women Pro Se was renamed Family Law Pro Se reflecting its broader range of services, especially its increasing services to men. 27

Coalition for Right to Choice, 1975-1979

Local NOW activists and abortion counselors and providers established the Coalition for Right to Choice (CRC) in the wake of the Supreme Court's 1973 ruling liberalizing abortion laws. CRC became a local affiliate of the National Abortion Rights Action League and concentrated on public education and lobbying to ensure women's continued access to safe and legal abortions. CRC sponsored yearly celebrations of the Supreme Court's decision, conducted informational and counter-picketing (against anti-abortion demonstrators) at abortion clinics, lobbied legislators against the cut-off in public funding for poor women's abortions, and spoke to community groups. In 1979, CRC merged with the statewide group Protect Abortion Rights.28

Pro-Choice Abortion Coalition – University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 1976-1983

A student organization at UW-Milwaukee, the Pro-Choice Abortion Coalition organized women on campus and in the Milwaukee community to ensure that abortion remained legal. Each January, to coincide with the Supreme Court's 1973 decision legalizing abortion, Pro-Choice members presented a week of health classes for women called "Our Bodies, Our Lives, Our Right to Decide." Members attended public hearings, lobbied against the cut-off in state funds for poor women's abortions, staffed weekly information booths on campus, and supplied abortion referrals.29

Task Force on Prostitution/Myriad Program, 1978-1981

The Women's Coalition established the Task Force on Prostitution in 1978 to research and analyze all aspects of prostitution in Milwaukee. The Coalition then began an innovative program of support services for prostitutes the Myriad program. Counseling and support groups aimed to restore clients' self-esteem, and tutoring and job counseling prepared them to pursue other goals. Myriad was funded initially by the Wisconsin Bureau of Community Corrections which referred clients. Later funding enabled the Coalition to seek voluntary clients, a policy which clashed with the Coalition's contract with the Bureau. The Bureau withdrew its support in 1981 and Myriad closed.30

Displaced Homemakers Task Force, 1978-1983

Small grants enabled the Women's Coalition to sponsor informational workshops and peer support groups for displaced homemakers. The Coalition's Task Force spurred the formation of the Milwaukee Area Displaced Homemakers Network, a consortium which provided training and job placement services f or displaced homemakers. Although the Coalition initiated concern about displaced homemakers in Milwaukee, its disinclination to provide direct services deprived the Coalition Task Force of continued funding in 1983.31

Sojourner Truth House, 1978-1987

The first shelter for battered women and their children in Milwaukee, Sojourner Truth House was established by the Women's Coalition's Task Force on Battered Women in 1978. The group home was designed to provide immediate protection, counseling, and support for victims of family violence. An expanded facility, which provides space for 32 women and children, was opened in 1981. Since its inception, two other shelters for battery victims have opened in the Milwaukee area, and three major hospitals have developed special units to deal with the victims of domestic violence.32

Task Force on Pornography, 1979-1987

In the aftermath of the Take Back the Night march and rally, the Women's Coalition initiated its Task Force on Pornography in 1979. Members of the Pornography Task Force sponsored lectures, slide shows, and community meetings to raise awareness about what they considered the damaging effects of pornography on women, children, and society as a whole. Members also engaged in informational picketing at Milwaukee's pornographic bookstores and movie theaters.33

National Organization for Women-West Suburban Chapter, 1980-1987

The West Suburban chapter of the National Organization for Women was founded by Chris Roerden in 1977. It draws its 150 members from the western Milwaukee suburbs of Wauwatosa, Brookfield, New Berlin, and Elm Grove. Its task forces focus on issues like reproductive rights, violence against women, and employment equity. Through its Political and Legislative Action Network Committee, members lobby and testify in support of legislation such as comparable worth jobs and marital property reform. Members also campaign for candidates who support feminist issues. It is the most active and enduring of the suburban NOW chapters.34

Milwaukee Women's Political Caucus, 1980-1987

The Milwaukee chapter of the National Women's Political Caucus was initiated in 1971. The Women's Political Caucus is a bi-partisan organization of women united to work for the election and appointment of feminists and their supporters to political office and policy-making bodies. The Caucus provides campaign skills training and technical assistance to women candidates, and endorses and financially supports them through its Political Action Committee. State Senator Barbara Ulichny and State Representative Barbara Notestein were active members of the Caucus who went on to win political office in Wisconsin.35

Feminist Writers Guild, 1980-1987

The Milwaukee chapter of the Feminist Writers Guild, a national organization, was founded in 1978 by Sue Silvermarie. The Guild is open to all women who define themselves as feminists and who take their writing seriously. The Guild sponsors monthly support groups for writers in the areas of poetry, journal writing, fiction, and non-fiction. The Feminist Writers Guild also sponsors public readings of members' work and has participated in special community events, such as celebrations of International Women's Day and Women's History Month. In 1982, the Feminist Writers Guild published The Five Petalled Blossom, an anthology of stories and poetry written by members of the local Guild.36

Women's Building Development Project, 1980-1983

The Women's Building Development Project was an attempt by the Women's Coalition to purchase or lease a centrally located building to permanently house women's groups and women's businesses. Planners hoped the Women's Building would provide a secure economic base for continued feminist activity during the Reagan presidency. Despite ambitious efforts, a shortfall in fundraising and lack of support from local foundations and agencies forced the Coalition to abandon the Building Project in 1983.37

Hurricane Productions, Inc., 1981-1987

Hurricane Productions is a non-profit feminist production company operated by volunteers which promotes women's music and cultural events in the Milwaukee community. It was founded in 1980 by several women interested in providing an outlet for women's culture and learning more about the technical aspects of producing music and entertainment events. Hurricane has sponsored numerous dances, craft shows, and concerts. Concerts have included such national performers as Holly Near, Teresa Trull and Meg Christian. While producing entertainment events, members gain valuable training in booking, publicity, sound and light engineering, and financial management.38

Milwaukee Women's Center – Women's Refuge, 1981-1987

The Milwaukee Women's Refuge, the city's second shelter for battered women and their children, opened in May of 1981. It serves domestic abuse victims on Milwaukee's south side, with special outreach to Milwaukee's Hispanic community. The Refuge provides 24 hour crisis counseling and shelter, a children's program to address the special needs of child victims of domestic abuse, a program for transitional living needs (housing, welfare, health care, education), bilingual services for Hispanic outreach, and "Soaring," an employment service. The Refuge also sponsors "Nevermore," a special counseling component for batterers, in addition to community education, police training, and professional seminars.39

Community Education/Prevention Project, 1981-1985

The City of Milwaukee, through its Task Force on Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence, granted the Women's Coalition $50,000 in 1981 to develop a model preventive education curriculum on the subjects of sexual assault, domestic violence, child abuse, and incest. Additional funding kept the Project active through 1985. Staff members compiled fact sheets, resource guides, and other materials which were distributed during presentations to school, church, and community groups. Community education workers also presented their message through the print and broadcast media and served on numerous advisory boards through which education and criminal justice policies were reformed.40

National Organization for Women-South Suburban Chapter, 1980-1984

Formed by feminists in Milwaukee's southern suburbs, this chapter of NOW focused on efforts to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. This NOW branch had a small membership (20-30), and after the defeat of the Amendment, disbanded. Remaining members joined with the more established Milwaukee chapter in 1984.41

All Daughters Theater, 1983-1985

The All Daughters Theater Troupe was formed by a handful of Milwaukee women intent on producing theatrical events with a feminist perspective. The company presented two major productions in 1983 and 1984, Out of Our Father's House by Eve Merriam, a series of vignettes on the coming of age of prominent female figures in American history, and Edna St. Vincent Millay's Aria da Capa. The necessity for lengthy commitments of time and energy to solidify the troupe caused turnover in membership, and the All Daughters Theater company disbanded in early 1985.42

Wisconsin Outdoor Women 1984-1987

Formed in 1983, Wisconsin Outdoor Women organizes outdoor events such as camping, hiking, canoeing, backpacking, biking, and skiing for its members. Emphasis is placed on education and self-help by promoting skills-building and greater self-reliance among the women participating in the sporting events. Training incorporates a respect and understanding for the resources of the earth. Wisconsin Outdoor Women's activities are geared for year-round participation. The organization serves as an informal network for women sports enthusiasts statewide and provides many opportunities for social events and interaction among members.43

Milwaukee 9 to 5: National Association of Working Women, 1984-1987

The Milwaukee chapter of the national organization 9 to 5 is a membership group of clerical workers which seeks to change corporate and public policies affecting women in the workplace. Milwaukee 9 to 5 is committed to achieving pay equity for women, improved security for older women, safe and fair working conditions, control over office automation, and childcare and other benefits for women workers. The group provides support, information, and skills to office workers, along with public education about the undervaluation of traditionally female jobs. Milwaukee 9 to 5 provides job counseling and resources on the hazards of video display terminals. It publishes a bi-monthly newsletter and an annual "Working Women's Guide to Greater Milwaukee."44

Notes to Conclusion and Appendix

1 Women's Coalition, Inc., Bylaws, Article III, "Purposes," Milwaukee, Wisconsin, October, 1973.

2 Interview with Sue Deutsch, Director of the Women's Coalition (1985-87), Milwaukee, Wisconsin, September 29, 1987.

3 Interview with Georgia Ressmeyer, Fundraiser and Consultant to the Women's Coalition (1978-80), Milwaukee, Wisconsin, December 7, 1986.

4 Interview with Judi Selle, Staff member of the Women's Coalition (1978-81), Milwaukee, Wisconsin, December 4, 1986.

5 Advertisement for the Task Force on Battered Women, Common Ground, October, 1980, p. 10.

6 Interview with Ruth Bukowiecki, Development Coordinator for the Women's Coalition (1980-82), Milwaukee, Wisconsin, July 27, 1987.

7 Georgia Ressmeyer, "Is the Women's Movement a Safe Place for Racism?" Common Ground, August/September, 1983, pp. 5-7; "What the Women's Coalition Will Do To Combat Racism," Common Ground, August/September, 1983, p. 15.

8 Women's Coalition, Inc., "Statement of Receipts and Disbursements," Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1973 (Total Receipts: $1,531.60); Women's Coalition, Inc., Internal Revenue Service Form 990 for Tax Exempt Organizations, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1981 (Total Revenue: $100,719.00).

9 Women's Coalition, Inc., IRS Form 990, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1983 (Total Revenue: $26,918.00).

10 Women's Coalition, Inc., "Women's Building Development Project Statement of Purpose," Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1981, pp. 1-2.

11 Deutsch, interview; Selle, interview.

12 Dates indicate the years that each organization maintained membership in the Women's Coalition. This study was completed in late 1987. Some groups carried on after the Coalition's closing in 1988.

13 "NOW," Common Ground, the Newsletter of the Women's Coalition, March/April, 1981, pp. 13-14; Interview with Joan Zeiger, Assistant Coordinator of the Milwaukee chapter of the National Organization for Women (1987), Milwaukee, Wisconsin, September 16, 1987.

14 "Women's Crisis Line," Common Ground, July/August, 1980, pp. 8-9; Interview with Karen Coy, Crisis Line Director (1974-1978), Milwaukee, Wisconsin, November 30, 1986.

15 "Amazon: Milwaukee's Feminist Press," Common Ground, November/December, 1980, pp. 7-8; "Amazon's Tenth Anniversary," Amazon, April/May, 1982, pp. 2-3; Interview with Mary R. Frank, Amazon staff member (1983), Milwaukee, Wisconsin, June 12, 1987.

16 "Anti-Rape Council Celebrates Its Womanpower," Milwaukee Journal, July 22, 1974; Interview with Jerri Ralenkotter, Anti-Rape Council member, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, June 22, 1987; Interview with Sandra A. Edhlund, Anti-Rape Council member, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, October 15, 1987.

17 Women's Coalition, Inc., "Member Groups of the Women's Coalition," Internal Memorandum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1973; Interview with Linda Mistale. Wisconsin Women in the Arts member, (1987), Milwaukee, Wisconsin, November 17, 1987.

18 Interview with Susan Luecke, Director of the Milwaukee Women's Media Project (1973-1975), Milwaukee, Wisconsin, October 1, 1987.

19 "Grapevine," Common Ground, July/August, 1981, p. 17.

20 "Conversations: Dorothy Dean," Amazon, April, 1975, pp. 7-9; Interview with Dorothy Dean, Publisher of Paid My Dues (1974-1976), Milwaukee, Wisconsin, March 20, 1987.

21 "Feminist Center," Amazon, December/January, 1982, pp. 49-51; Interview with Mary R. Frank, Feminist Center member (1984), Milwaukee, Wisconsin, June 12, 1987.

22 "Women Rising Up Healthy," Amazon, July, 1974, pp. 12-14; Women's Coalition, Inc., "Member Groups of the Women's Coalition," Internal Memorandum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1976.

23 "Natural Woman is Here!" Amazon, January, 1975, p.11; Women's Coalition, Inc., "Member Groups of the Women's Coalition," 1976.

24 "New Rape Bill," Amazon, 1975, pp. 5-6; Coalition, "Member Groups," 1976.

25 Interview with Michelle Burke, Director of the Women's Graphic Arts Project (1975-1976), Milwaukee, Wisconsin, October 8, 1987.

26 "Task Force on Battered Women," Common Ground, March/April, 1980, pp. 4-6; Interview with Connie Corrao, Co-Director of the Task Force on Battered Women (1987), Milwaukee, Wisconsin, June 10, 1987.

27 "Women Pro Se, Inc. ," Common Ground, May/June, 1980, pp. 5ù7; Interview with L. Victoria LaCerte, Executive Director of Family Law Pro Se (1987), Milwaukee, Wisconsin, September 8, 1987.

28 Interview with Tammy Stark, Coalition for Right to Choice member (1975-1979), Milwaukee, Wisconsin, September 8, 1987.

29 "Pro-Choice Abortion Coalition," Common Ground, August, 1977, p. 5; Interview with Mary R. Frank, Pro-Choice Coalition member (1983), Milwaukee, Wisconsin, June 12, 1987.

30 "Myriad, Task Force on Prostitution: Past and Future," Common Ground, July/August, 1981, pp. 9-11; Interview with Judi Selle, Coalition staff member (1978-1981), Milwaukee, Wisconsin, December 4, 1986.

31 Interview with Cheryl Kader, Coordinator of the Women's Coalition Displaced Homemaker Project (1978-1980), Milwaukee, Wisconsin, June 23, 1987; "Displaced Homemakers," Common Ground, May/June/July, 1982, p. 3.

32 "Sojourner Truth House, A Shelter for Battered Women and Their Children," Common Ground, May/June, 1978, pp. 15-16; "New Women's Shelter is Bigger, But More Space Would Be Nice," Milwaukee Journal, February 16, 1981.

33 Linda Hoelzer, "Pornography," Common Ground, January/February, 1980, p. 6; Interview with Elizabeth Matz, Director of the Coalition's Task Force on Pornography (1980-1985), Milwaukee, Wisconsin, August 20, 1987.

34 "West Suburban NOW," Common Ground, November/December, 1981, pp. 16-17; Interview with Julie Kleppin, West Suburban NOW member (1987), Milwaukee, Wisconsin, October 17, 1987.

35 Interview with Joy Warfield, Milwaukee Women's Political Caucus member (1987), Milwaukee, Wisconsin, October 8, 1987.

36 Milwaukee Chapter, Feminist Writers Guild, The Five Petalled Blossom (Milwaukee: Feminist Writers Guild, (1982); Interview with Michaelle Deakin Schall, Guild member (1980-1987), Milwaukee, October 17, 1987.

37 "New Project –; A Women's Building," Common Ground, January/February, 1981, pp. 2-3; Interview with Judi Selle, Women's Building Project Coordinator (1980-1983), Milwaukee, Wisconsin, December 4, 1986.

38 "Hurricane Productions, Inc.," Common Ground, May/June, 1981, pp. 3-5.

39 "The Milwaukee Women's Refuge," Common Ground, September/October, 1981, pp. 16-17.

40 "Community Education, 1981 Report," Common Ground, January/February, 1982, pp. 15-17; Interview with Sue Deutsch, Community Education Project Director (1981-1985), September 29, 1987.

41 "South Suburban NOW," Common Ground, September/October, 1982, p. 19; Interview with Pat Burns, South Suburban NOW member (1981-1984), Milwaukee, Wisconsin, October 12, 1987.

42 "All Daughters Company Debuts," Common Ground, May/June, 1983, pp. 18; Interview with Rosemary Caravella, All Daughters founder, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, July 15, 1987.

43 "Wisconsin Outdoor Women," Common Ground, Summer, 1984, p. 4; Wisconsin Outdoor Women, Wisconsin Outdoor Women newsletter, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, August, 1987, pp. 1-4.

44 Milwaukee 9 to 5, "1987-88 Working Women's Guide to Greater Milwaukee," Handbook, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 1987.

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