Susan Rubin collection on International Women's Year and subsequent conferences
Scope and Contents
Correspondence, conference materials, workshop manuals, books, printed materials, and posters regarding International Women's Year, the National Commission on the Observance of International Women's Year Conference in Houston 1977, and the 1990 follow up conference in Beijing. Of particular interest is the activity on the state level which is reflected in these records as well as on the national and international scenes.
Dates of Materials
- Rubin, Susan I. (Collector, Person)
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for use without restriction beyond the standard terms and conditions of Smith College Special Collections.
Conditions Governing Use
To the extent that she owns copyright, Susan Rubin has assigned the copyright in her works to Smith College; however, copyright in other items in this collection may be held by their respective creators. For reproductions of materials that are governed by fair use as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission to cite or publish is required. For instances which may regard materials in the collection not created by Susan Rubin, researchers are responsible for determining who may hold materials' copyrights and obtaining approval from them. Researchers do not need anything further from Smith College Special Collections to move forward with their use.
Biographical / Historical
Among her other roles in women's equity movements, Susan Rubin was a staff member on the National Commission on the Observance of International Women’s Year Secretariat, which was responsible for organizing the 1977 historic women’s conference in Houston, Texas.
Greatly influenced by the social and political times of the late 60s and early 70s, the growth of the women’s movement, as well as the experience of her mother, Selma Fisher Rubin who taught at the University of Miami and filed one of the early EEOC sex discrimination cases, Susan Rubin’s career has centered on working on women-related equity issues. Her jobs have included working with the American Association of University Women, the National Commission on the Observance of International Women’s Year (IWY), and the U.S Peace Corps. In her 2015 memoir, My Life on the Road, former IWY Commissioner Gloria Steinem noted that the 1977 National Women's Conference in Houston "may take the prize as the most important event nobody knows about" (53). At the time, Steinem and countless other feminists saw the November 18-21, 1977 gathering in Houston as a potentially life-changing event which would reaffirm and even expand women's rights. As state conventions to nominate delegates to the national convention were held across the country the summer of 1977, frequent clashes between feminists and a growing cadre of conservative women grew increasingly frequent, to the point even of physical violence. Such was the lead up to Houston 1977.
As a staff member for the National Commission on the Observance of International Women’s Year Secretariat, Susan Rubin was part of the Program and Policy staff that was responsible for organizing the 1977 historic women’s conference in Houston, Texas. Among her assignments was the drafting of the workshop guidelines for Sexual Assault, Education and the ERA. Rubin was responsible for coordinating and managing the exhibit hall at the Houston conference which included over 200 exhibits and was the only part of the conference that was open to the public. She also coordinated the celebration program which oversaw the transfer of the conference’s historic artifacts to the Smithsonian Institution.
Susan Rubin was born in Newark, New Jersey in 1952. Her family moved to Miami, Florida where she grew up, except for one year when they lived to Havana, Cuba and she attended first grade. Because of the Cuban revolution her family was required to leave Havana when all Americans were evacuated from the island. The family returned to Miami where Rubin lived until she moved to Austin, Texas in 1970 to attend the University of Texas. She received her BA in American history in 1973, and her MA in American History in 1976. Her course work and thesis for her MA focused on women’s history, during a period when women’s studies programs were just being developed and accepted as an academic discipline. Returning from Peace Corps she decided she needed additional management skills to contribute to her work with non-profits, particularly women-related causes. In 1984 she completed her MBA at Georgetown University.
As a Peace Corps Volunteer in Thailand, she worked with the Women Lawyer’s Association of Thailand and the Asian and Pacific Centre for Women and Development at the United Nations. While living in Beijing, China she was an advisor on women’s issues working with the All-China Women’s Federation and the American co-sponsor on the first major bilateral conference following the Tiananmen incident of June 1989. Susan Rubin has two sons, Zack and Jesse, and resides in Washington, DC. As of 2018, she is Assistant Director of the National Association of Social Workers' Foundation where she provides strategic development and support for the Foundation initiatives including the international program.
3.252 linear feet (5 containers)
Language of Materials
Among her other roles in women's equity movements, Susan Rubin was a staff member on the National Commission on the Observance of International Women’s Year Secretariat, which was responsible for organizing the 1977 historic women’s conference in Houston, Texas. This collection reflects Rubin's role as a staff member for the Commission working on the 1977 conference as well as later conferences, including Beijing, 1990.
This collection has been added to over time in multiple "accessions." An accession is a group of materials received from the same source at approximately the same time. Note that in most cases, container numbers start over at 1 with each new accession.
Other Finding Aids
One or more content listings to individual accessions in this collection are available for download. Links can be found in the description of the individual accessions.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
2010 and 2011 accessions of materials likely came either directly from Susan Rubin or indirectly through Fran Worden Henry; Susan Rubin donated the third accession of materials directly in 2017.
Earlier (2010 and 2011) accessions originally added to Fran Worden Henry's papers but upon receipt of a third accession from Susan Rubin in 2017, the three accessions were combined as the Susan Rubin papers on International Women's Year and subsequent conferences.
Starting in September 2022, Smith College Special Collections will be renumbering many boxes to eliminate duplicate numbers within collections in order to improve researcher experience. A full crosswalk of old to new numbers is available.
- Kathleen Banks Nutter (2018)
- Description rules
- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
- Language of description
- Script of description
- 9/27/2018: First version of finding aid published
Part of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History Repository
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063