Mary K. Bonsteel Tachau Gender Equity Award
This award is named in honor of Mary K. Bonsteel Tachau (1926-1990), who was a constitutional scholar, the first woman to serve as chair of the UofL history department, and the first woman chair of the faculty senate. Dr. Tachau was active in pay equity struggles at the university and in many other issues both on campus and in the civic community. Her papers are part of the Women's Manuscripts Collection in the UofL University Archives and Records Center.
The Award, is given to a member of the UofL community - broadly defined to include all of those, past and present, who have some affiliation with the University of Louisville - whose work has directly furthered gender equity. It is presented by the UofL Women’s Center and the UofL Commission on the Status of Women, at the Women’s Center ‘s Annual Elizabeth Cady Stanton Awards Luncheon. To nominate or apply use this form. (PDF)
Examples of projects consistent with the scope of the Women’s Center, the Commission, and the focus on women’s rights which characterized Dr. Tachau’s life include, but are not limited to:
Work that promotes women’s equality and gender equity by :
- creating institutional and/or structural change (for example, to ensure pay equity or to monitor affirmative action goals with respect to gender);
- institutional work to addressing an issue of particular concern to women (such as violence against women on campus or in the community; the availability of scholarship funds for women; or the status of women athletes at the university);
- using one’s own position within the institution to work strategically on behalf of other women ( for example, by establishing an organized mentoring program; or working to ensure that women move into organizational positions of decision-making authority)
Work that increases women’s self-reliance by :
- expanding educational opportunity for women (for example, recruiting women students for traditionally male dominated professions & supporting their continued professional development in those professions; or working to ensure adequate funding for, and appropriate financial support of traditionally female occupations such as nursing, education, and social work;
- addressing women’s ongoing professional development (such as creating scholarships and/or professional internships for women in order to address ongoing professional development issues)
- documenting the negative effects of gender on women’s career paths and/or creating programs which address the barriers created by gender
Work that highlights women’s contributions to all cultures and societies by:
- work in the arts which opens new paths of gender equity for women artists or which explicitly addresses “art as a vehicle for social change”
- work which particularly recognizes diversity ( by race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, socio-economic class, religion, or country of origin, etc. ) in the women’s movement
- the exceptional accomplishments of women who are historically “firsts” in some area of their lives (first woman provost, CEO, mayor, etc)
Recipients of the Mary K. Bonsteel Tachau Award receive a monetary prize from the University of Louisville President’s Commission on the Status of Women; and a limited edition sterling silver pin from the Women’s Center. The pin was designed by F. Joseph Kremer Goldsmith Inc. It depicts a “Woman Reaching for the Stars” – an image taken from a wall hanging by that name which was presented to the Women’s Center by Dr. Mary C. Craik upon the occasion of the Center’s Tenth Anniversary Year.
Prior Recipients of the Tenth Anniversary “Founding Mothers” Awards
Co-Chairs of the 1994 Task Force on the Status of Women
Dr. Linda Shapiro, Associate University Provost
Dr. Barbara Lewis, Brandeis School of Law
The Task Force on the Status of Women at the University of Louisville was created in August 1993 and charged to “assess the status of women at the University and make recommendation, based on their findings, to improve this status.” The specific charge to the Task Force was three pronged. 1). Review the status of women relative to the representation of women in the University’s administration, faculty and staff; the recruitment, hiring, promotion, and retention of women; the compensation of women; and the institutional climate for women. 20. recommend specific actions that could be taken – at the university-wide level and the operational levels to resolve problems identified by the task force. 3). Recommend whether additional studies should be undertaken in other areas of particular interest to women.
The Task Force made a number of recommendations to the University, including the establishment of a permanent Commission on the Status of Women; the strengthening of the Women’s Center and the Women’s and Gender Studies Program; and specific to address gender equity in compensation.
Leadership in Women’s and Gender Studies
Dr.Ann Allen, History and Women’s and Gender Studies
Dr. Nancy Theriot, Chair of the Women’s and Gender Studies Department
Dr. Allen was the first Chair of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program and Dr. Theriot is currently serving as chair of the Department. Both honored for their leadership in Women’s and Gender Studies.
Dr. Lucy Freibert, Professor Emirta, Women’s and Gender Studies
In 1975 Dr. Friebert taught the first women’s studies course at the University of Louisville
Leadership of the Women’s Center
Dr. Judi Jennings, Founding Director, Women’s Center
Dr. Jennings served as Director of the Women’s Center from the Center’s inception in 1991 to 1998.
Recipients of the Mary K. Bonsteel Gender Equity Award
2003: Kathi E. B. Ellis
A 1997 MFA graduate of the UofL Theater Arts Department, and member of Louisville’s Pleiades Theater Company. In presenting the award, COSW Chair Professor Robin Harris, noted that “Ms. Ellis’ work with Pleiades Theater Company exemplifies the spirit of Dr. Tachau’s commitment to women and to work on behalf of gender equity, and, in particular her directorial credits show [a] deep interest in women’s issues.” In addition, Ms. Ellis was recognized for “reaching out to young women, publicizing the accomplishments of Kentucky women, and recognizing artists financially, [which] “strengthen(s) and…[makes] tangible [Pleiades’] commitment to gender equality and gender equity.”
2004: Dr. Lucy M. Friebert, SCN
In her nomination, Dr Fiebert was described as a woman whose “vision of equal representation in the university community” bore fruit in the first women’s literature course taught on campus, and in her consistent advocacy for establishment of the Women’s Center and the Women’s and Gender Studies Department. Dr. Friebert was also an advocate for the adoption of a university-wide sexual harassment policy; and is consistently cited by alums as “one of the best teachers I ever had.” In her “retirement years” Dr. Friebert has been actively involved in the Coalition for the Homeless and Pleiades Theater Company. Lucy is also a guiding force for Project Women, “a local non-profit that houses homeless women who have children and offers them the opportunity to obtain college degrees.”
2005: Dr. Laura Schweitzer
Currently the Vice President for Academic Affairs at SUNY Upstate and Vice Provost/Health Liaison at Syracuse University, Dr. Schweitzer was Interim Dean of the UofL School of Medicine from 2003-2005. One of Dr. Schweitzer’s nominators, who has had a 38 year career at UofL, notes: “I have witnessed no one who has had a greater impact on women at this institution.” As Dean of the Faculty, Dr. Schweitzer prodded women to understand how and when their work “added significant value to the medical school”; proactively sought women for assignments on strategic committees; and made women aware of “local, regional and national meetings” to hone their professional skills. Under this “targeted mentoring program….promotion [of associate professor women in the medical school] increased from 0% in 1998, to 30%...in 2001.” Dr. Schweitzer has received national and international recognition for her work on gender equity in academic medicine.
2006: Honorable Janice Martin,
Judge, Jefferson District Court, Kentucky
Judge Janice Martin She received her B.A. in 1977 and her J.D. in 1980 from the University of Louisville. She was appointed to the Jefferson District Court Bench in March 1992 by then- Governor Brereton C. Jones, and was elected to the bench in November 1992. Judge Martin currently presides over Jefferson District Court, Division 19. She is the first African- American female to serve on the Judiciary in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Judge Martin chairs the Kentucky Task Force on Racial Bias in the Courts; and has served on boards of numerous organizations including the Gender Bias Task Force, Kentucky Lawyer Discipline Task Force, Louisville Bar Association, Louisville Bar Foundation and the Family Court Task Force. Judge Martin was inducted into the Jefferson County Office for Women Hall of Fame in 1999.
2007: Dr. Mary Craik
As a gifted junior at Louisville's Shawnee High School, Mary Craik was offerred the opportunity to skip her senior year and enroll at U of L. However, her parents and the school principle - unable to see the value of higher education for an economically poor young woman-advised against it. Subsequently, Mary became the only member of her family to graduate from high school. Ten years later, she began her undergraduate career as a mother of three young children eventually earning a PhD from the University of Iowa. Degree in hand, Dr. Craik began a 17 year teaching career at St. Cloud State University in Minnestoa.
In 1984 Dr. Craik established the Mary B. Craik scholarship for Women at the University of Louisville. Craik scholars must be women who demonstrate commitment to the advancement of women.
In his nomination letter for the Tachau Award, President Ramsey wrote, "Mary appreciates deeply how higher education transforms a women..." In her nomination, Craik Scholar Annie O Connell said' rather than spend the monetary award as a victim, Mary established the Craik scholarship. Years later it is a living, lasting memorial to gender equality. Mary is much more than a donor. She is an artist and a business women, and an inspiration to to other women at the University, in the Louisville metro community and beyond. A self-taught fiber artist, Dr. Craik opened the Mary Craik gallery at 815 East Market Street in Louisville in 2004.