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HomeAWC History: 1930s

AWC Timeline: 1930s

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During the 1930s, opportunities for women in other fields of communications began to increase and Theta Sigma strengthened as a national network. In an effort to counter woes created by the Great Depression, The Matrix began focusing on opportunities for the “depression graduate,” advocating working for experience, not pay; creating their own jobs; developing their own businesses; and starting off in secretarial and clerical routes to break into reporting.

In Washington, First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt made an effort to help female journalists by closing her weekly press conferences to men, forcing many news organizations to hire women. In 1934, Eleanor Roosevelt was made an honorary member of Theta Sigma Phi and later contributed several articles to The Matrix.

Pictured right: First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt and Theta Sig members at a press conference.

Meanwhile, radio expanded the number of job opportunities available for writers, opening more doors for women in the profession. At the same time, advertising also opened doors for women in communications.

In 1934, Theta Sigma Phi celebrated its 25th anniversary at the convention in Indianapolis. The Matrix began running features on successful members including Detroit Times reporter Vera Brown, who learned to fly her own plane to write a series on aviation; Alice Keith, pioneer of educational radio, who opened the National Academy of Broadcasting in Washington; and Betty Goodwin, who recognized the possibilities of fashion promotion during NBC-TV’s early stages, eventually becoming one of the first images seen on television and one of the first television announcers.

In 1939, Theta Sigma Phi began celebrating the success of its members by naming the first Headliner Award recipients. These were members selected for recent accomplishments in communications and continued excelled in the field.
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