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Center for the Advancement of Women records

Identifier: SSC-MS-00667

Scope and Contents

The records document the daily activities of a feminist advocacy organization. Major topics covered: women's rights, women's health, reproductive rights, women of color, affirmative action, and domestic violence. Types of materials include research files, reports, minutes, general office files, correspondence, emails, calendars, publications, mailings, biographical information, audiovisual materials, photographs, conference files, funding, and financial records. Of particular interest are the foundation files which document the ways in which organizations such as the CFAW had to present themselves so as to receive much-needed funds. Also well documented is the way in which the CFAW, primarily through the person of Faye Wattleton, made good use of various media outlets, from television appearances to Web blogs.

Dates of Materials

  • Creation: 1990 - 2010


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

The Sophia Smith Collection owns copyright to the unpublished works in this collection created by the Center for the Advancement of Women. Copyright to materials authored by others may be owned by those individuals or their heirs or assigns. Permission must be obtained to publish reproductions or quotations beyond "fair use." It is the responsibility of the researcher to identify and satisfy the holders of all copyrights.

Biographical / Historical

Co-founded and led by Faye Wattleton, the CFAW was "a not-for-profit institution dedicated to research-based education and advocacy for women. An independent, non-partisan organization founded in 1995," and known as the Center for Gender Equality until 2002, its mission was "to conduct national opinion research among women to measure experiences in their daily lives. This research presents a profile of women that [was hopefully] used to educate opinion leaders, policy makers and the general public." One of the significant research projects undertaken by the CFAW beginning in the late 1990s and lasting several years was "Progress and Perils: A New Agenda for Women," "a two-part landmark survey of over 3,300 American women" that measured their various opinions re: various topics such as domestic abuse, sexual assault, affirmative action, and abortion rights, in which responses were tabulated so as to reflect any differences based on race. Other research projects included the Domestic Violence Report (an outgrowth to the "Progress and Perils" results), a National Security Report in response to 9/11, the Women on Religion Survey, and the Women in Science, Engineering and Technology Report. Throughout its fifteen years, the CFAW depended on donors, large and small, to do its work and, after years of financial struggle, the organization closed down.

[source: CFAW's former Web site, (retrieved 9/15/10)]


59.584 linear feet (56 containers)

23.865664 Gigabytes

Language of Materials



Women's advocacy group. The records document the daily activities of a feminist non-prift research and advocacy group. Major topics covered: women's rights, women's health, reproductive rights, women of color, affirmative action, and domestic violence.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

This collection contains materials received from the donor in digital form that are not currently available online. Please consult with Special Collections staff to request access to this digital content.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

The records were donated to the Sophia Smith Collection by the Center for the Advancement of Women via board members Janit Greenwood and Grada Fischer in 2010.

Processing Information

Accessioned by Kathleen Banks Nutter, August 2011

The contents of computer media in this collection has been copied to networked storage for preservation and access; the original directory and file structure was retained and file lists were created. Some media was were unable to be copied

Finding Aid to the Center for the Advancement of Women records
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Revision Statements

  • 07/26/2017: This resource was modified by the ArchivesSpace Preprocessor developed by the Harvard Library (
  • 2017-07-26T17:48:21-04:00: This record was migrated from InMagic DB Textworks to ArchivesSpace.
  • 2020-04-27: Description added for born-digital content.

Repository Details

Part of the Sophia Smith Collection of Women's History Repository

Neilson Library
7 Neilson Drive
Northampton MA 01063