THE VFA PIONEER HISTORIES PROJECT
Elizabeth “Betsy” St. John Myer Dunn
1925 – February 24, 2019
“It was while I was compiling a publication called ‘Women Can Make The Difference’ that I coined the phrase Gender Gap.” It was first cited by columnist Judy Mann in the Washington Post, October 16, 1981.”
Throughout the 60’s & 70’s she worked at Harvard in various capacities at the Center for International Affairs, the Office of the President, the Medical School, the Radcliffe Institute and the School of Education. At Harvard in the early 60s provided statistical and data analysis for the Game Theory Project and Study in Bargaining and Negotiation Theory under Nobel prize recipient Dr. Tom Schelling. Under the direction of Dr. Alex Inkeles at Harvard and later Stanford, was research administrator for ten years on a cross-cultural study on aspects of modernization in six developing countries. Became a political activist in the 70s, devoting energies to breaking down barriers that circumscribe women’s autonomy. Passionate about women’s economic parity, participation in the political process, and control over their fertility and reproductive lives. Provided the statistical analysis for the EEOC in the first class action lawsuit filed on behalf of women against an institution of higher education, 1972. Massachusetts League of Women Voters’ Women’s Issues Specialist at the State House. National Organization for Women, Massachusetts Legislative Coordinator, President in the late 70s. Federal Equal Rights Amendment (ERA), political and research analyst in D.C. and lobbied in the legislatures of the swing states of Oklahoma and Florida. Organized a women’s ice hockey team, Ms Sticks and Mother Puckers, 1973.
Photo. Betsy Dunn, Anne Marie Rafferty and Rosemary Trowbridge at the National Democratic Convention 1980.
More About Betsy:
- Obituary, The Boston Globe
- Betsy’s remarks, Conference Celebrating 40 Years of Title VII, 2004, Veteran Feminists of America
- The papers of Betsy Dunn, University Archives and Special Collections Joseph P. Healey Library University of Massachusetts Boston
- Ms Sticks and Mother Puckers, The Boston Globe, March 1975
- Cited in Barbara Love’s book, Feminists Who Changed America 1963-1975