AWP PGH is the Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania area chapter of the Association for Women in Psychology (AWP). AWP is a diverse feminist community of psychologists and allied professionals invested in the integration of personal, professional, and political power in the service of social justice. We challenge unexamined privilege and dominant discourses that marginalize and oppress within psychology and the wider society. AWP accomplishes this by promoting feminist scholarship, teaching, practice, and networking, and through mentoring, activism, and influencing public policy.
The Association for Women in Psychology was founded by members of the American Psychological Association in 1969. Frustrated with broader sexism in psychology, as well as within the APA itself, founders of AWP sought to respond to issues raised by the women’s liberation movement. For a more detailed history of AWP, please visit http://www.awpsych.org/about/ and explore Leonore Tiefer’s (1991) essay, “A Brief History of the Association for Women in Psychology.”
Early in AWP’s history, a collective of conference planners determined that early March would serve as the best time to conduct the annual conference meeting, a decision that has held across AWP conferences since. The conference planning collective also decided that future conference proposals would include a statement concerning the proposal’s feminist approach to psychological research or practice. Interestingly, the concept of a keynote speaker was dropped during the 1978 planning meeting, largely because the designation of a keynote speaker would not align with the broader non-hierarchical goals of AWP. The structure of having a keynote speaker was later reinstated within the conference, and we look forward to hearing thoughts from Lyn Mikel Brown at this year’s conference.
Feminist psychology has enjoyed a rich presence in Pittsburgh, within both academic and activist traditions. Noted feminist psychologists and activists Sandra Bem, JoAnn Evansgardner, Nellie Bly, and numerous others trained and worked in Pittsburgh, and 2016 will mark the third year that an AWP conference has convened in the City of Bridges. The annual AWP conference was first held in Pittsburgh in 1978. The conference saw tremendous turnout, with over 1000 attendees. We return to the venue that hosted the 1978 conference, the historic Omni William Penn Hotel in downtown Pittsburgh, at this year’s conference! Following the 1978 conference, AWP returned to Pittsburgh in 1997 with the theme “Forging the Future Feminist,” which shares the desire to carry feminism into the future with the 2016 conference theme of “Sustaining Feminism for the Future.”