Listed below are resources on the U.N. International Women’s Year, the National Women’s Conference (NWC) in Houston and preliminary IWY meetings in the states, conservative women who opposed the IWY and the NWC, and the Pro-Life, Pro-Family Rally conservative women organized during the NWC in protest. The resource list also includes works on major figures in the women’s movement and the development of the modern women’s movement during the twentieth century. Organized by format (books, articles, films, etc), this list is assembled to aid students, teachers, and scholars learn more about the International Women’s Year.

For other collections of oral histories and archival papers held at academic institutions related to the IWY, please see the “Archival Collections” section, which is organized alphabetically by the university or historical association maintaining each collection. When possible, preferred citations and links to finding aids for each collection are provided.


National Commission Publications on the Observance of International Women’s Year

Scholarly Studies of the National Women’s Conference and the International Women’s Year

Books, Edited Volumes, and Autobiographies         

Archival Collections         

Selected Newspaper Articles    

Unpublished Dissertations and Theses          




National Commission Publications on the Observance of International Women’s Year

National Commission on the Observance of International Women’s Year. The Spirit of Houston: The First National Women’s Conference; An Official Report to the President, the Congress, and the People of the United States. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1978.  To download the report:

National Commission on the Observance of International Women’s Year. “To Form a More Perfect Union: Justice for American Women. Washington, D.C.: U.S. Government Printing Office, 1976. To download the report:

National Commission on the Observance of International Women’s Year, and Caroline Bird. What Women Want: An Official Report to the President, to the Congress, and the People of the United States. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1978.


Scholarly Studies of the National Women’s Conference and the International Women’s Year

For a full treatment of the NWC, preliminary IWY state meetings, as well as the events leading up to these conferences and their impact: Spruill, Marjorie J. Divided We Stand: The Battle Over Women’s Rights and Family Values That Polarized American Politics. New York: Bloomsbury, 2017.

For an article-length account of the impact of the IWY and NWC on American Politics:  Spruill, Marjorie J. “Gender and America’s Right Turn.” In Rightward Bound: Making America Conservative in the 1970s, edited by Bruce J. Schulman and Julian E. Zelizer, 71–89. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2008.

For an inside account by two members of the staff of the National Commission on the Observance of International Women’s Year: Leader, Shelah G. and Patricia R. Hyatt. American Women on the Move: The Inside Story of the National Women’s Conference, 1977. Lexington Books, 2016.

For a scholarly study of the National Women’s Conference written by sociologist Alice Rossi, one of the IWY National Commission members: Rossi, Alice. Feminists in Politics: A Panel Analysis of the First National Women’s Conference. New York: Academic Press, 1982.

For information on the United Nations International Women’s Year program, particularly the 1975 IWY Conference in Mexico City: Olcott, Jocelyn. International Women’s Year: The Greatest Consciousness-raising Event in History. New York: Oxford University Press, 2017. Or  Zinsser, Judith P. “From Mexico to Copenhagen to Nairobi: The United Nations Decade for Women, 1975-1985.” Journal of World History 13, no. 1 (2002): 139-168.

A large body of documents relating to the National Women’s Conference in Houston, including an introductory essay, press reports, plenary speeches, and the final report of the Carter-appointed National Commission on the Observance of International Women’s Year, The Spirit of Houston, is part of the massive online data base, Women and Social Movement in the United States. Edited by Katherine Kish Sklar and Tom Dublin, it is published by Alexander Street Press and available through libraries that subscribe to it.

How Did the National Women’s Conference in Houston in 1977 Shape a Feminist Agenda for the Future?, Documents selected and interpreted by Kathryn Kish Sklar and Thomas Dublin with research assistance by Sandra Henderson. Binghamton, NY: 2004. 

Other chapters on IWY and the National Women’s Conference: Winifred D. Wandersee, On the Move: American Women in the 1970s. Boston: G. K. Hall & Co, 1988.


Published Accounts of the State IWY Meetings

Berkery, Mary. “The New Suffragists of 1977 and the Challenge of Coalition Building at Missouri’s International Women’s Year State Meeting.” Missouri Historical Review 107, 1. (October 2012)

Kempker, Erin M. “Battling ‘Big Sister” Government: Hoosier Women and the Politics of International Women’s Year.” Journal of Women’s History 24, no. 2 (Summer 2012): 144–70.

Morris, Robin Marie. “Organizing Breadmakers: Kathryn Dunaway and the Georgia STOP ERA Campaign,” in Entering the Fray: Gender, Politics, and Culture in the New South, ed. Jonathan Daniel Wells and Sheila R Phipps. University of Missouri Press, 2008.

Spruill, Marjorie Julian. “The Mississippi ‘Takeover’: Feminists, Antifeminists, and the International Women’s Year Conference of 1977,” in Mississippi Women: Their Histories, Their Lives, ed. Martha H. Swain, Elizabeth Anne Payne, and Marjorie Julian Spruill, vol. 2. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2003.


Books, Edited Volumes, and Autobiographies

On Feminism

Boles, Janet K. The Politics of the Equal Rights Amendment: Conflict and the Decision Process. New York: Longman, 1979.

Cobble, Dorothy Sue, Linda Gordon, Astrid Henry. Feminism Unfinished: A Short, Surprising History of American Women’s Movements. New York, N.Y.: Liveright Publishing Corporation, 2015.

Collins, Gail. When Everything Changed: The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present. New York: Back Bay Books, 2010.

Davis, Flora. Moving the Mountain: The Women’s Movement in America Since 1960. Champaign: University of Illinois Press, 1999.

Echols, Alice. Daring to Be Bad: Radical Feminism in America, 1967-1975. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1989.

Evans, Sara M. Personal Politics: The Roots of Women’s Liberation in the Civil Rights Movement and the New Left. New York: Vintage Books, 1979.

Evans, Sara M. Tidal Wave: How Women Changed America at Century’s End. New York: Free Press, 2004.

Freeman, Jo. A Room at a Time: How Women Entered Party Politics. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2000.

Freeman, Jo. We Will Be Heard: Women’s Struggles for Political Power in the United States. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2008.

Hartmann, Susan M.  From Margin to Mainstream: American Women and Politics since 1960. New York: Knopf, 1989.

Hartmann, Susan M.  The Other Feminists: Activists in the Liberal Establishment. New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1998.

Horowitz, Daniel. Betty Friedan and the Making of the Feminine Mystique: The American Left, the Cold War, and Modern Feminism. Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1998.

Levine, Suzanne Braun and Mary Thom, eds. Bella Abzug: How One Tough Broad from the Bronx Fought Joe McCarthy, Pissed off Jimmy Carter, Battled for the Rights of Women and Workers, Rallied against War and for the Planet, and Shook up Politics Along the Way. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2007.

Mansbridge, Jane J. Why We Lost the ERA. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1986.

Mathews, Donald G. and Jane Sherron De Hart, Sex, Gender, and the Politics of ERA: A State and the Nation. New York: Oxford University Press, 1990.

Mattingly, Doreen J. A Feminist in the White House: Midge Costanza, the Carter Years and America’s Culture Wars. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016.

Rosen, Ruth. The World Split Open: How the Modern Women’s Movement Changed America. New York: Penguin Books, 2006.

Roth, Benita. Separate Roads to Feminism: Black, Chicana, and White Feminist Movements in America’s Second Wave. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

Self, Robert O. All in the Family: The Realignment of American Democracy Since the 1960s. New York: Hill and Wang, 2013.

Ware, Susan. Game, Set, Match: Billie Jean King and the Revolution in Women’s Sports. Chapel Hill: Univ Of North Carolina Press, 2015.

Zarnow, Leandra. Passionate Politics: Bella Abzug and the Promise and Peril of the American Left. Cambridge, M.A.: Harvard University Press, forthcoming.


On Conservative Women

Bradley, Martha Sonntag. Pedestals and Podiums: Utah Women, Religious Authority, and Equal Rights. Salt Lake City: Signature Books, 2005.

Brown, Ruth Murray. For a “Christian America”: A History of the Religious Right. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books, 2002.

Critchlow, Donald T. Phyllis Schlafly and Grassroots Conservatism: A Woman’s Crusade. Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2005.

Felsenthal, Carol. The Sweetheart of the Silent Majority: The Biography of Phyllis Schlafly. Garden City, N.Y.: Doubleday and Company, Inc., 1981.

Williams, Daniel K. God’s Own Party: The Making of the Christian Right. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.

Young, Neil J. We Gather Together: The Religious Right and the Problem of Interfaith Politics. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016.




Abzug, Bella S. with Mim Kelber. Gender Gap: Bella Abzug’s Guide to Political Power for American Women. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1984.

Carter, Rosalynn. First Lady from Plains. Little Rock: University of Arkansas Press, 1994.

Ford, Betty. The Times of My Life. New York: Ballantine Books, 1979.

Friedan, Betty. “It Changed My Life:” Writings on the Women’s Movement, with a New Introduction. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1976.

Melich, Tanya. Republican War Against Women: An Insider’s Report from Behind the Lines. Updated edition. New York: Bantam Books, 2009.

Steinem, Gloria. Outrageous Acts and Everyday Rebellions. New York: H. Holt, 1995.



Schlafly, Phyllis. The Power of the Positive Woman. New York: Jove Publications, 1977.

Thomson, Rosemary. The Price of LIBerty. Carol Stream, IL: Creation House, 1978.

Thomson, Rosemary. Withstanding Humanism’s Challenge for Families: Anatomy of a White House Conference. Morton: Braun Press, 1981.


Archival Collections

Brigham Young University – Charles Redd Center for Western Studies Oral History Projects

Provo, Utah

International Women’s Year Oral History Project Transcripts and Case Files, 2003-2004MSS 7752; Charles Redd Center for Western Studies oral history project records; 20th Century Western & Mormon Manuscripts; L. Tom Perry Special Collections; L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Harold B. Lee Library, Brigham Young University.


Eagle Forum Archives

St. Louis, Missouri

The Eagle Forum Library and Archives is a working library serving Eagle Forum, a grassroots organization founded by Phyllis Schlafly in 1972. Resources in the library and manuscript collection will be of value to researchers interested in the history of conservatism as it emerged after the Second World War. The collection contains 680 CDs, largely of Phyllis Schlafly’s speeches, media appearances, debates, and interviews. The library contains two non-circulating book collections, the Eagle Forum Library donated by Phyllis Schlafly, and the Rosalind Kress Haley Library.  These two collections contain approximately 293 linear feet of restricted and non-restricted material.


Emory University  – Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library

Atlanta, Georgia

Kathryn Fink Dunaway Papers, 1951-1981: Correspondence, subject files, and printed materials of Kathryn Fink Dunaway, activist and chairman of the Stop ERA Committee of Georgia.


Harvard University – Schlesinger Library

Cambridge, Massachusetts

National Commission for the Observance of International Women’s Year Records. 1975-1978 

Records of the Massachusetts Coordinating Committee for the National Observance of International Women’s Year (1977), 1976-1978.

Massachusetts Coordinating Committee for the National Observance of International Women’s Year Records, 1976-1978; item description, dates. 78-M227–78-M210, folder #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.

National Women’s Conference Audiotape collection, 1977; item description, dates. T-88, reel #. Schlesinger Library, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.


Texas Archive of the Moving Image

Austin, Texas

Via the Texas Archive of the Moving Image: “Founded in 2002 by film archivist and University of Texas at Austin professor Dr. Caroline Frick, the Texas Archive of the Moving Image (TAMI) is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization working to discover, preserve, provide access to, and educate the community about Texas’ film heritage.”


University of Florida – George A. Smathers Libraries

Gainesville, Florida

National Women’s Conference Interviews, 1977-1978. National Women’s Conference Interviews, Special and Area Studies Collections, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida.


University of Houston –  Special Collections and Archives

Houston, Texas

Marjorie Randal National Women’s Conference Collection, 1974-1982. University of Houston Libraries, “Marjorie Randal National Women’s Conference Collection, 1974-1982.” Collection ID  02/1996-007.


University of Iowa

Iowa City, Iowa

Minnette Doderer Papers, 1944-2005. Minnette Doderer chaired the Iowa delegation to the International Women’s Year conference in Houston. Minnette Doderer papers, Iowa Women’s Archives, The University of Iowa Libraries, Iowa City.


University of Michigan – Bentley Historical Library

Ann Arbor, Michigan

Elaine Chenevert Donnelly Papers: 1973-2003. Founder and president of the Center for Military Readiness (CMR), opponent of the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) from Livonia, Michigan.

Elly Peterson Papers, 1943-2006. Peterson was a Michigan Republican Party official, 1961-1969, assistant chairman of the national Republican Party, 1963-1964 and 1969-1970, candidate for, U.S. senate in 1964, and co-chair of ERAmerica, a national organization promoting the ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment.;view=text


University of North Carolina – Oral Histories of the American South

Chapel Hill, North Carolina

Oral History Interview with Ruth Dial Woods, June 12, 1992. Interview L-0078. Southern Oral History Program Collection (#4007) in the Southern Oral History Program Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Wilson Library, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


University of South Carolina – Office of Oral History

Columbia, South Carolina

International Women’s Year Collection, 1977. National Women’s Conference, Houston, Texas. Approximately 700 interviews conducted during the National Women’s Conference in Houston, Texas, November 15-18, 1977 and the preceding South Carolina state conference. Complete sets housed at the National Archives and Records Administration (NARA) and the Office of Oral History, South Caroliniana Library.


University of Southern Mississippi – Center for Oral History and Cultural Heritage

Hattiesburg, Mississippi

Interviews with feminist and conservative women and men who took part in the Mississippi IWY Meeting in Jackson, MS in July 1977. Conducted by Sheryl Hansen, USM History graduate student.


Utah State Historical Society

Salt Lake City, Utah

The JoAnn Freed Collection of Oral Histories, 1975-1977. Forty-four interviews with participants in the International Women’s Year conference, 1975, and the National Women’s Conference, 1977. JoAnn Freed Collection of Oral Histories, 1975-1977, Utah State Historical Society.


Washington State Historical Society

Tacoma, Washington    

International Women’s Year Oral History Project. Via the Washington State Historical Society: “This project is a product of the July 1977 Washington State International Women’s Year Conference for Women, held in Ellensburg, which is remembered as a dramatic and emotional confrontation between feminists and conservative women from the religious right. The objective of this oral history project was to secure well-documented, well-researched, high quality recordings of interviews with 27 Washington women involved in the 1977 Ellensburg and Houston International Women’s Year Conferences and other activist women of the period.”


Winthrop University – Louise Pettus Archives & Special Collections

Rock Hill, South Carolina

South Carolina International Women’s Year Conference Records includes delegate lists, resolutions to take to Houston, final state conference report, and on the last page of the finding aid, lists 10 sound recordings. Louise Pettus Archives and Special Collections, Winthrop University, “South Carolina International Women’s Year Conference Records – Accession 114”. Finding Aid 249.


Selected Newspaper Articles

“Mormon Turnout Overwhelms Women’s Conference in Utah,” New York Times, July 25, 1977.

Klemesrud, Judy. “Women’s Movement at Age 11: Larger, More Diffuse, Still Battling,” New York Times, November 15, 1977.

Thomas, Gillian. “’Four Days that Changed the World’: Unintended Consequences of a Women’s Rights Conference.” New York Times, March 6, 2017.

Van Gelder, Lindsy. “Four Days That Changed the World: Behind the Scenes in Houston.” Ms. Magazine, March 1978.


Unpublished Dissertations and Theses.

Berkery, Mary. “‘We Are a Multitude’: The 1977 International Women’s Year State Meetings and the Transformation of the Modern Feminist Movement. Ph.D. Dissertation, State University of New York at Binghamton, 2013.

Harris, Jenny Lynn McGee. “The Silent Majority: Conservative Perception, Mobilization, and Rhetoric at the Utah State International Women’s Year Conference” (2005). All Theses and Dissertations. Paper 270.

Mans, Caitlin Marie. “Heritage to Horizons”: The History of the 1977 International Women’s Year Conference in South Carolina.” Master’s thesis, 2013. Retrieved from



She’s Beautiful When She’s Angry, directed by Mary Dore. Music Box Films, 2014.

Sisters of ’77: The Struggles and Triumphs in the Battle for Equal Rights, directed by Cynthia Salzman Mondell and Allen Mondell. Media Projects Incorporated, 2005. Visit the PBS website for Sisters of ’77 at  for information on the documentary, Independent Lens lesson plans, and additional resources for researchers and educators.

“Makers.” Season One. Three-part series about the modern women’s rights movement in the United States. Part Two includes brief discussion of the National Women’s Conference as a major turning point.

For images of the National Women’s Conference and of the conservative women’s rally held Saturday November 19, 1977 to protest the National Plan of Action and federally supported feminism, see Women on the Move: Texas and the Fight for Women’s Rights.



Diana Mara Henry: Official photographer for the National Women’s Conference, see:  NOTE: These photographs cannot be used without her permission.

National Women’s Conference Fortieth Anniversary Celebration and Retrospective Conference:

Veteran Feminists of America: Website includes activities, photos and stories relating to the Women’s Movement. Site also collects obituaries of notable women in the movement.