Our History | Feminist Caucus
Some FC History
Launch of the FC.
The Feminist Caucus of the American Humanist Association was established in 1977 as a coalition of both women and men within the AHA. The basic purpose was to work toward the advancement of women's rights and equality between the sexes in all aspects of society.
Originally called the" Women's Caucus", the new name "Feminist Caucus" was adopted in 1982 as more representative of all the members of the caucus and of the caucus' goals. Read Cleo Fellers Kocol's brief history of the AHA Feminist Caucus.
A former board member of the American Humanist Association and former chair of the AHA’s Feminist Caucus, Cleo Fellers Kocol was named its Humanist Heroine in 1988.
Contemporary Stance of the FC.
To date, the Feminist Caucus continues to be known by that name and carries on as the active feminist arm of the American Humanist Association. The Feminist Caucus is for AHA members who want to work toward the advancement of women's rights and just relations between men and women in all aspects of society and who want to develop, promote, and live by the philosophy and principles of partnership as described in the works of Riane Eisler. We believe that women have more to contribute to the AHA and our humanist organizations and also much more to contribute to enhance the quality of life for men and women, girls and boys in local-to-global society -- toward achieving sustainable peace through the pursuit of justice, not just gender justice.
FC Leadership History.
Dynamic women have chaired our AHA Feminist Caucus -- sometimes in pairs, sometimes singly over the years since 1977:
- 1977 - professional writer Gina Allen founded the AHA Women’s Caucus.
- 1982 - poet and author Cleo Kocol joined Allen as co-chair and at her suggestion the name “Women’s Caucus” was changed to “Feminist Caucus” (FC) to include men.
- In 1988 - peace activist Rosemary Matson and educator Meg Bowman took over as co-chairs of the AHA Feminist Caucus.
- Meg Bowman and FFRF’s Annie Laurie Gaylor chaired the FC into the early 2000s.
- Pat Willis took over from Meg Bowman and FFRF’s Annie Laurie Gaylor and served until 2011.
- Stephanie Downs Hughes joined Pat Willis as co-chair in 2008.
- Zelda Gatuskin became co-chair with Stephanie Downs Hughes in 2012.
FC Initiatives History.
Over the years, members of the Caucus have worked hard fighting for the Equal Rights Amendment and participating in various public demonstrations, including marches for women's and civil rights. Considerable progress has been made. For example, women now earn about 72 o/o of what men do in comparable jobs, up from less than 50 o/o in 1977 when the FC was established during the second wave feminist revolution of the 1970s.
Women's and gender relations issues that have been studied and advocated for over the years are identified in the archives of the FC sessions conducted at AHA conferences held annually and in the archives of newsletters printed between 1977 and 2010, when they were supplanted by our web-based vehicles for two-way communication. If there is interest, these archives can be made accessible through this website. Contact the FC Chair.