Responding to an article in the local newspaper regarding the formation of a local branch of the American Association of University Women on September 13, 1974, twelve women from the Carrollton/Farmers Branch area of North Texas gathered in the home of Anna Clewlow to initiate the process of forming an AAUW branch. Polly Orcutt, TX AAUW state President presided. Several of the women had previously been members in other locations. By December of 1974 the Farmers Branch-Carrollton Branch AAUW was fully chartered under the leadership of their first permanent officers: President Dr. Janice Bagley, Program Vice-President Grace Greenwood, Membership Vice-President Jan Mayberry, Recording Secretary Carla McGee, Corresponding Secretary Janet Keating, and Treasurer Edie Romaine.
Many of the twenty-six women who at that time made up the local branch already were community leaders. With the experience and organizational know-how of AAUW, the women lost no time in joining the movement to pass the Equal Rights Amendment. Even though Texas ratified the ERA in 1974, the W.W.W.W. (Women Who Want to be Women) launched an effort to have it rescinded which our local branch worked hard to keep from happening.
Extremely active throughout its 38 years, this branch was never a “single issue” branch. Two former interest groups, “Concern for the Earth” and “Concern for the Community and Women’s Legal Status in Texas” translated into a public concern for the need of recycling in Farmers Branch and the need for women to become involved in civic affairs and even seek elected and appointed local offices.
Because of this our members have served on city councils and boards, school and theater boards and have been Trustees for the local Chamber of Commerce and the Dallas County Community College District. Others would help AAUW break through Barriers for Women and Girls by serving on National AAUW committees and as Texas AAUW board and committee members.
An important accomplishment of the Farmers Branch – Carrollton AAUW in those early years was its heavy involvement in locating Brookhaven Community College in Farmers Branch. Several city council members were against this educational addition to their community. This triumph has led to an extremely strong collaboration between Brookhaven College and Farmers Branch-Carrollton AAUW. We also enjoy a strong relationship with the local school district and other civic groups in the North Dallas metroplex area.
Many of the exciting “firsts” for women and girls this branch fought so hard to establish during the 70’s and 80’s are again being threatened. In the last year there have been national, state and local assaults on Title IX, Fair Pay, gender equity, the protection against physical abuse, and the right to determination of one’s reproductive life. Farmers Branch-Carrollton AAUW and AAUW Texas will continue to form coalitions to break through the barriers for Women and Girls which are continuously being erected.
This history was dependent on research done by a past-president and charter member, Janet Gelineau Keating.