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PRESIDENTS 1977-1988

Ohio Women Inc. Presidents and their leadership are noted as follows:

PRIME ORGANIZER anne marshall saunier


ANNE MARSHALL SAUNIER (1977-1978) Moderator at both the Ohio and the National IWY Conferences.  Saunier helped OWI with beginning organizational problems.

ROBERTA STEINBACHER (1978-1980) submitted to the George Gund Foundation in Cleveland an extensive proposal to build a statewide women’s network, which could “mobilize women of all ages, all life styles, and all economic, racial and religious backgrounds in support of the basic human rights issues which comprise the ‘women’s movement.’”

Specifically, OWI would “(1) develop a broadly based network of women’s groups throughout Ohio with which to share information, training and action planning, and (2) investigate and analyze single issue groups whose activities threaten the realization of full equality for women in Ohio.”



MARY EGERTON MILLER (1980-1981) Vice-President with Roberta Steinbacher, was elected President at the Annual Meeting June 14, 1980. Very shortly thereafter, the George Gund Foundation sent $16,045 for the support of OWI.

The long dreamed of office for OWI was opened in September 1980 with Joyce Garver Keller (hired in 1980) as Executive Director, and fast progress was made toward implementation of the Gund Proposal.



The proposal involved a number of actions. Seventy-two women’s organizations across Ohio were identified as working for full quality for women. An OWI President’s Council was formed to meet quarterly. Consultation services were offered to assist the identified network with coalition building and program development. Ohio Far Right single-issue groups were identified. OWI continued to exchange information with national organizations regarding activities of Far Right single-issue groups. A training session was developed for leaders of women’s organizations to help them understand the impact of the Far Right. Caucuses were developed and supported on politics, rape and domestic violence, media, welfare/human services, education and employment, Equal Rights Amendment, reproductive freedom, insurance and pension, minority women, and sexual preference. A quarterly newsletter, entitled Ohio Women’s Reporter, was published. The Ohio women’s calendar was published quarterly and listed programs, conventions, fundraisers, etc.

DONNA HART (1981-1982) “The Changing Political Climate,” the statewide conference on the politics of the New Right and their increasing activity in Ohio, took place in September 1981 and had been projected in the June 1981 Annual Report.

The is no doubt that this was a productive time when we had a full time Executive Director to keep the office open, always having a real voice to answer the telephone and a person to see people if they should come to the office – to follow through with the Board on decisions and plans, to see that our newsletters and Calendar of Events were published regularly, to see that the Presidents met on a quarterly basis, to coordinate the Conferences and attend to a host of other activities, including out of state travel and statewide travel.

Joyce Garver Keller left OWI on June 30, 1982 to open a Columbusoffice for People for theAmerican Way.

NANCY EVANS (1982-1983) The George Gund Foundation awarded a grant for a project entitled “The New Day” to document Ohio’s administrative and legislative progress in implementing the 1975 Governor’s Task Force Report for the Implementation of the Equal Rights Amendment and documenting those sections of the agenda which still were unmet.

A fourteen person Advisory Committee, chaired by Mariwyn Heath, was appointed along with a Director for the Project, Roxi Liming, to do the necessary research. Roxi Liming was released in February 1983.

Nancy Evans resigned as President when she was hired by OWI to direct a Jobs Training Project, funded by the Ohio Department of Employment Services, to train unemployed women to enter the job market.

LOUISE VETTER (1983-1985), Vice-President with Nancy Evans, took over as President and then was elected for two terms of her own. She was President when the “New Day Report” was presented to the Governor on October 15, 1983 and when we had the statewide conference to develop “A Women’s Platform” for use during the 1984 elections. The Gund foundation gave another grant of $10,000 to OWI to conduct four additional Women’s Platform Workshops around the state and for publicizing the “New Day Report.”

OWI elected its first man Don McTigue, to the Board. This was a wise decision. He was always a consistent “power behind the throne!”

Two of our Board members, Mary Egerton Miller and Mariwyn Heath, were inducted into the Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame November 16, 1983.

Louise Vetter directed a study of OWI’s structure, which resulted in the adoption of the Planning Committee Report on June 15, 1985. This reviewed the Purpose of OWI, discussed its Network and Newsletter, a computerized database, the network services, the Board of Trustees Structure, the duties of the committees, and recommended seven Caucuses and proposed staff and funding.

OWI’s bylaws were revised to comply with the planning committee report.

SUE A. BLANSHAN (1985-1986) started her term August 21, 1985 with this planning committee report and the revised OWI bylaws.

OWI nominated Helen Mulholland for the Ohio Women’s Hall of Fame, into which she was duly inducted on November 14, 1985. Dr. Roberta Steinbacher, Administrator of the Ohio Bureau of Employment Services and past President of OWI, presented awards.

In January 1986, Faith Crampton was hired to fill the part time position of Program Manager. OWI contracted with Civic which is housed at COSI for computer use to assist in the development of a data base for our growing network and later for the updating of the Directory of Boards, Commissions and Advisory Bodies of the State of Ohio, which was originally published by Mary Egerton Miller’s WOVEN (Women’s Ohio Volunteer Employment Network) in 1979. OWI received a grant of $9950 from the Labor Market Information Division of the Ohio Bureau of Employment Services for this project, as well as a grant of $5000 from theOhioStateUniversityMershonCenter, to print it.

The grant from OBES also covered the research on policy level employment positions in state government, which was to be published separately, and printed by OBES. Lynne Bratka was hired as Research Associate for this project.

Marilwyn Heath became Editor of the OWI News and Views and Christella Bogan managed its publication.

The Presidents’ Council was held in conjunction with the Annual meeting on August 16, 1986 and featured Dr. Sheila Davis who spoke on “Making Things Happen: Networking to Excellence.”

LINDA HENGST (1986-1988). A preliminary report on the Directory of Boards, Commissions and Advisory Bodies of the State ofOhio was sent to OBES by mid October 1986. It was published in 1987. Seven hundred copies went to theOhio libraries, one hundred to theOSUMershonCenter for Research, and three hundred to the Ohio Bureau of Employment Services. The remaining 2000 copies were to be sold by OWI for $13.50 each, $15.00 if mailed.

Because of the Mental Health Board’s need for more space, OWI’s office was moved from 447 East Broad Street to the YWCA,65 S. Fourth Street,Columbus in January 1987.

With the publication of the directory and the approval of her Ph.D. dissertation by OSU, Faith Crampton left OWI to accept a teaching position at the University of Oregon at Eugene.

On May 30, 1987, Helen Mulholland directed an OWI conference, “Women, Private Lives and Public Policy – The Social, Emotional, Economic and Community Investments of Being a Woman Today.” Dr Michele Zak, Director Academic Development of theUniversityofCalifornia, was the Keynote Speaker. There were workshops plus a Reader’s Theatre Production that presented “Whatever Happened to Nannerl Mozart and Fanny Mendelssohn?” supported by the Ohio Arts Council and the Ohio Humanities Council.

The development of a Women’s Agenda was started at the Presidents’ Council meeting on April 30, 1988, with a presentation by Marsha Miller. This was for the purpose of helping women achieve a true sharing in Ohio’s economy. Two subsequent meetings brought together representatives from twenty-eight organizations to develop the Agenda. This Agenda was reviewed for endorsement by organizations across the state.

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