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The `80s: A Decade of Growth, Change and Leadership
In 1980, WICI opened a public affairs office in Washington to monitor legislation. The group also awarded the first Vanguard, for the positive portrayal of women, to United Technologies for its ad, "Let's get rid of the girl."

Members were raising thousands of dollars for the ERA effort at their regional meetings. WICI's most creative and elaborate strategy was the "Family of Americans for the ERA." The 10-foot-high "house," each colorful plank identifying a state that already had ratified the amendment, signified the demand for a permanent home for the Equal Rights Amendment in the U.S. Constitution. WICI gathered other women's groups to showcase the house at the 1980 Republican National Convention.

Georgina MacDougall Davis died in February of 1981, her life having spanned two women's movements and the expansion and change in the society she founded. Also that year, PRO/COMM (later the Professional Communicator) replaced The Matrix and National Newsletter. At the annual conference, a seminar titled "Room at the Top" explored to a sell-out crowd the status of women in the communications industry. The panel of top-level WICI members documented the "profound irony" that the industry supposedly reflecting society at large was dominated by men.

In 1982, the last surviving founder of Theta Sigma Phi, Irene Somerville Durham, 94, died. And in June, the ERA fell three states short of the required 38 to enter the constitution. But the women's rights movement had benefited nonetheless.

WICI increasingly defended the freedoms of speech and the press. Leaders protested the news blackout during the invasion of Grenada and spoke out to Congress against proposed changes to the Freedom of Information Act. More than 100 chapters organized congressional letter-writing campaigns. WICI joined the National Committee on Pay Equity and awarded Rep. Mary Rose Oakar of Ohio an honorary membership because of her leadership on the issue.

In early 1988, the WICI Board of Directors moved the group's headquarters to Arlington, Va., just outside Washington, DC, to be closer to the seat of government.

In the spring of 1989, WICI joined Gannett and the University of Southern California in a conference on "Women, Men and Media." The group also introduced a new education/career development project called Special Assignment, funded by WICI's Advancement Fund.

 


AWC One of the Originals
The '70s: A New Name and New Strengths
The '80s: A Decade of Growth, Change and Leadership
The '90s: Looking Ahead
The 2000s: New Millennium, New Experiences
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The Association for Women in Communications is a professional organization that champions the advancement of women across all communications disciplines by recognizing excellence, promoting leadership and positioning its members at the forefront of the evolving communications era.
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