Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Exhibit Documents Women's Movement in Pittsburgh

A new exhibit documents the rarely-told story of Pittsburgh's role in the women's movement. Sociologist Pat Ulbrich compiled the "In Sisterhood" exhibit, which includes a portrait gallery and excerpts of interviews conducted with Pittsburgh women. It will open at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts in Shadyside January 9th.

Ulbrich says scholars who study the women's movement usually focus on New York or Los Angeles, but Pittsburgh made some important contributions. In 1969, Pittsburgh added "sex" to its anti-discrimination ordinance. Soon after, the National Organization for Women sued the Pittsburgh Press over its sex-segregated employment ads, a practice that was common at the time. NOW won, leading to changes in newspapers around the country. Three national leaders of NOW have been from Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh also had the first feminist press in the country.

Ulbrich says the women's movement in Pittsburgh was unique because it bridged racial and economic divides that existed in some other cities. Ulbrich says NOW members in Pittsburgh helped make the national organization more inclusive.

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