Southeast Women’s Employment Coalition Records, 1868-1991

The Southeast Women's Employment Coalition Records (SWEC) span the period 1868 to 1991 and showcase the organization’s efforts of expanding employment opportunities for women in the rural South. 

The Research Director’s Files Series and General Files Series contain a large amount of reports, printed material, writings and newspaper articles on a diverse issues related to women and labor. These include women in male-dominated industries (agriculture, coal mines, ministries, road or highway construction projects), women in tourism, textile and restaurant industries, childcare and parental leave, comparable worth and wage equity, the Equal Rights Amendment, employment discrimination, pregnancy discrimination, collective bargaining efforts by women, service work and domestic workers, occupational segregation, work struggles of women of color (African American and native American), affirmative action and the conditions of women in each state: Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina and West Virginia. The Board and Staff Meeting Series also includes some discussion papers on issues for Southern women, women in unions, title IX grassroots organizing. 

Apart from these files for internal research purposes, the collection highlights concrete actions taken by the Coalition: raising awareness through information brochures of the Coalition (Research Director’s Files Series); giving women job skills training and leadership training, including the Southern Appalachian Leadership training (Board and Staff Meeting Series), International Community Leadership Project (Project Files Series); teaching them about labor organizing and lobbying (General Files Series); participating in conferences (General Files Series, Conference Files Series); running projects that promote employment in male-dominated industries (Coal Employment Project - Project Files Series, Highway Project Files Series); the tourism industry (Project Files Series); women’s empowerment in general (Rural Youth and Women’s Project; Women and Poverty Project; Women’s Economic Development Project; Women’s Technical Assistance Project - Project Files Series).

This collection offers an opportunity to study not only the goals, activities and initiatives of an influential woman’s labor organization in immense detail, but also issues affecting Southern women in general in the 80s, with the research conducted by the Coalition. Apart from these materials pertaining directly to women and labor, the collection also includes correspondences, financial papers, miscellaneous writings, employee records, conference materials, materials of other related organizations, pictures and audio-visual materials.

Collection Highlights
Southeast Women’s Employment Coalition Records, 1868-1991