Celebrating 150 years of Women at UC Berkeley

Celebrating 150 years of Women at UC Berkeley

In 2020, the campus commemorated 150 years of women attending the University of California. In 1870, Berkeley was the only UC campus. As part of this recognition, GenEq celebrates trailblazing women students, faculty, and staff whose accomplishments and contributions made a difference for the campus community and beyond. 
We began our celebration in January 2020 by honoring the first woman to graduate from UC Berkeley; Rosa L. Scrivner. Below you will find our Instagram campaign of digital illustrations created by artists and student interns, Angela Li (Class of 2022), Caelesti Carranza (Class of 2021), Jimin Oh (Class of 2023), and Mihai Cipleu (Class of 2022). 
The GenEq 150W Celebration uplifts the history and contributions of these women who serve as an inspiration for generations to come. 

#berkeleywomen150 #geneqwomen150 #ucberkeley

Annie Coker

Celebrating Annie Coker, California's first Black female lawyer! Coker, who received her undergraduate degree from Berkeley, was also Berkeley Law's first Black female graduate. Having graduated in 1929 where she was one of two total women in her class, Coker was a trailblazer who went on to become the first Black female lawyer in California. Despite working during a time when then field was dominated by white men, her impact as a black woman in law has solidified her role as a legal icon.  #berkeleywomen150 #geneqwomen150 #ucberkeley

(Artist: Jimin Oh)

Beatrice Bain

Celebrating Beatrice Metcalf Bain, a pioneer feminist known for her commitment to helping women in higher education! During her time at UC Berkeley, Bain founded the Women's Resource Center, which was formerly known as, the Center for the Continuing Education and Advancement of Women, and later, became the Gender Equity Resource Center. Outside of UC Berkeley, she also established major women's programs at San Francisco State University and Mills College. To honor her contributions to women and education, the Group for Research on Feminism and Gender was renamed The Beatrice Bain Research Group after her death in 1986.

#berkeleywomen150 #geneqwomen150 #ucberkeley

(Artist: Jimin Oh)

Celeste Kidd

Celeste Kidd is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at the University of California, Berkeley, where her lab investigates learning and belief formation. Prior to Berkeley, she advocated for better protections for students against sexual misconduct, work for which she was made one of TIME Magazine's 2017 "Silence Breakers". Her ongoing advocacy work includes a project that develops objective metrics of gender equity and diversity in higher education, and employs them to pressure universities to enact meaningful reforms.

#berkeleywomen150 #geneqwomen150 #ucberkeley

(Artist: Cai Carranza)

Herma Hill Kay

Celebrating Herma Hill Kay, former law professor known for her advocacy regarding sex, family and relationships, reproductive rights, and diversity in law! Kay was the Barbara Nachtrieb Armstrong Professor of Law at Boalt Hall and served as its first female dean from 1992 to 2000. She is most known for serving on the California Governor’s commission on the Family in 1966 which proposed that California adopt a no-fault regime for divorce, allowing couples to divorce without any wrongdoing of the participants. Based on this recommendation, the state of California adopted this into law in 1970, where it was the first of its kind in the United States. Furthermore, she was a co-reporter of the committee that prepared the Uniform Marriage and Divorce Act and helped author the first casebook on sex discrimination, “Sex- Based Discrimination: Text, Cases, and Materials”. Today, Kay’s legacy lives on not only in the laws that she helped pass but also in the Herma Hill Kay Fellowships that support students pursuing “public interest work benefiting women” and in the Herma Hill Kay Memorial Lecture series.

#berkeleywomen150 #geneqwomen150 #ucberkeley

(Artist: Jimin Oh)

LaNada War Jack

Celebrating LaNada War Jack, a member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes, who became the first Native American student at UC Berkeley in 1968. During her time as a student, Dr. War Jack was pivotal in helping establish the first ethnic studies program in the UC system through the Third World Strikes. In 1969, she was a leader in the Alcatraz Occupation to protest the federal government's broken promises to Native people - which led to a chain reaction of Indigenous activism around the US. She was a distinguished professor at Boise State University and has written a book titled "Native Resistance: An Intergenerational Fight for Survival and Life." Dr. War Jack is currently the President of Indigenous Visions Network.

#berkeleywomen150 #geneqwomen150 #ucberkeley

(Artist: Mihai Cipleu)

Dr. Millicent Washburn Shinn

Celebrating Dr. Millicent Washburnn Shinn, the first woman to earn a doctorate at UC Berkeley in 1898! She received a Doctorate of Pedagogy but focused her dissertation on "Notes on the Development of a Child (1898)." She was inspired by watching her niece, Ruth, growing up for the first two years of her life. This publication was considered the first of its kind and praised by members of the psychological field. She was an advocate for women in higher education and dismantling the societal pressure that expects women to be restricted by duty to their home and family. Even when she returned to care for her sick mother, Dr. Shinn created a network of college-educated mothers to help aid in her continued research and efforts.

#berkeleywomen150 #geneqwomen150 #ucberkeley

(Artist: Cai Carranza)

Rosa L. Scrivner

Celebrating Rosa L Scrivner, the first woman to graduate from UC Berkeley! Rosa got a Ph. B in Agriculture in 1874. As you can imagine, she must have overcome many barriers to be such a trailblazer for all of us in what was in many ways considered to be a man's world. While we still have much more work to do, GenEq is celebrating 150 years of women attending Berkeley by recognizing women each week who have made important contributions to Cal. 

#berkeleywomen150 #geneqwomen150 #ucberkeley

(Artist: Jimin Oh)

Aya De Leon

Celebrating Aya de León, an acclaimed author, activist, UC Berkeley faculty, and mother! She currently directs the Poetry for the People program, teaching creative writing at UC Berkeley as well as publishing award-winning feminist novels through Kensington Books. Her current work includes a YA Spy Girl series featuring Black and Latinx teens called GOING DARK and a children’s picture book to help children talk about racism. Her work has a long history and future of taking up space for Women of Color in the publishing world and passing down knowledge to the community. #berkeleywomen150 #geneqwomen150 #ucberkeley 

(Artist: Cai Carranza)

Beverly Cleary

Celebrating Beverly Cleary, iconic writer of children's and young adult fiction! With more than 35 statewide awards for her books, Cleary is one of America’s most successful authors, even being credited as one of the first authors to use emotional realism in children’s literature. Some of her best-known characters include Ramona Quimby, Beezus Quimby, and Ralph S. Mouse. Cleary earned her Bachelor of Arts degree at Cal and later worked as a children's librarian. This line of work encouraged her to write, as her young patrons struggled to find books with relatable characters. She spent her career fulfilling this need. For her lifelong contributions to American literature, Cleary was named a living legend by the Library of Congress, has won the National Medal of Arts, and has earned the Laura Ingalls Wilder Medal from the Association for Library Service to Children. #berkeleywomen150 #geneqwomen150 #ucberkeley

(Artist: Jimin Oh)

Dr. Chien-Shiung Wu

Celebrating Dr. Chien-Shiung Wu, a Chinese-American experimental physicist known for her work in nuclear physics! She is best known for conducting the Wu experiment although her colleagues won the 1957 Nobel Prize in Physics for her discovery. Later on, Wu was awarded the Wolf Prize in Physics in 1978. Her expertise in experimental physics often resulted in comparisons with Marie Curie and earned her nicknames such as “First Lady of Physics”, “Chinese Madame Curie”, and “Queen of Nuclear Research”. In her later life, she was very politically active, speaking out against gender discrimination, racial discrimination, and protesting the crackdown in China after the Tiananmen Square Massacre of 1989.

#berkeleywomen150 #geneqwomen150 #ucberkeley

(Artist: Jimin Oh)

Dr. Ida Louise Jackson

Celebrating Dr. Ida Louise Jackson, one of the first black women to be enrolled at UC Berkeley! She earned both her B.A. and M.A. from Cal during a time when there were only 17 other African-American students on campus. Her father was a former slave and in 1925, she became the first African-American individual of any gender to teach in the Oakland Public Schools. She also co-founded the Rho chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha, the first black sorority at Berkeley, and later served as their international president.

#berkeleywomen150 #geneqwomen150 #ucberkeley

(Artist: Jimin Oh)

Dr. Marian Diamond

Celebrating Dr. Marian Diamond, the first female student in the Department of Anatomy at UC Berkeley in the 1940s. She spent almost the entirety of her education and career at Cal where she gained notoriety as a pioneer in Neuroscience. Particularly, she is known for being the first person to produce scientific evidence of anatomical neuroplasticity in the early 1960s. She is also famously known for carrying a hat box around campus with a human brain inside. In 1984, she was able to study tissue from Albert Einstein’s brain!

#berkeleywomen150 #geneqwomen150 #ucberkeley

(Artist: Cai Carranza)

Mine Okubo

Celebrating Mine Okubo, an eminent artist and writer who earned her MFA from the University of California, Berkeley! Okubo made public artworks and murals in Oakland and San Francisco, before being interned after the attacks on Pearl Harbor. She recorded much of this experience through sketches, paintings, and drawings, subsequently publishing a graphic novel titled Citizen 13660. Upon release she returned to her role as an illustrator and painter. After her death, much of her work was given to Riverside Community College District.

#berkeleywomen150 #geneqwomen150 #ucberkeley

(Artist: Angela Li)

Susan O. Hara

Celebrating Susan O'Hara a disability rights activist and trailblazer! Starting in 1975, O'Hara held roles as UC Berkeley's Coordinator of the Residence Program for Disabled Students, and later as Director of the Disabled Students' Program. Through her own life experiences and insights as a wheelchair user, O'Hara helped students make the transition from home to school and also worked with families and parents to help them understand why living independently was an essential piece for people with disabilities to achieve their hopes and dreams. O'Hara also played a vital role in Bancroft's acclaimed Disability Rights and Independent Living Movement (DRILM) project, an oral history project with over 100 interviews focused on leaders and behind-the-scenes activists of the disabilities rights movement conducted by interviewers from the disability community. 

#berkeleywomen150 #geneqwomen150 #ucberkeley

(Artist: Jimin Oh)

Dr. Barbara Christian

Celebrating Dr. Barbara Christian, the first black woman to be tenured at UC Berkeley! Enough cannot be said about Dr. Christian who was a feminist advocate and trailblazer. Her career is filled with projects intended to promote higher education to underrepresented and marginalized communities and this continued when she began teaching at UC Berkeley in the 1970s and was a pivotal member in the creation of the African American Studies Department in 1972. She would go on to Chair this department, receive tenure in 1978, and continue to teach and publish Black Feminist literature for decades. #berkeleywomen150 #geneqwomen150 #ucberkeley 

(Artist: Cai Carranza)

Carol T. Christ

Celebrating Carol T. Christ, the first woman Chancellor of UC Berkeley! Christ joined the faculty at UC Berkeley in 1970 and held multiple administrator roles until she left in 2002. After leading Smith College, Christ returned in 2016 as Interim Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost before being named the 11th Chancellor of UC Berkeley on March 16, 2017.

#berkeleywomen150 #geneqwomen150 #ucberkeley

(Artist: Jimin Oh)

Del Martin & Phylllis Lyon

Celebrating Del Martin and Phyllis Lyon, UC Berkeley alumnae, and the first same-sex couple married in San Francisco! Martin and Lyon both studied Journalism at UC Berkeley in the 1940s! They began a romantic relationship in 1953. Lyon and Martin, along with six other women, co-founded the Daughters of Bilitis, DOB, in 1955, which was the first sociopolitical lesbian organization in the country. Over the years they accomplished an extraordinary list of achievements such as co-authoring books, co-founding the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club, being named as delegates to the White House Conference on Aging by Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi and Senator Dianne Feinstein, and together they tackled issues pertaining to older lesbians and older adults. In 2004, Lyon and Martin were the first couple to be married at City Hall when SF Mayor Newsom announced that the city would grant marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Their marriage license was ruled void by the California Supreme Court a short few months later. However, when the California Supreme Court ruled same-sex marriage to be legal in 2008, Lyon and Martin were the first couple married again in San Francisco on June 16th.

#berkeleywomen150 #geneqwomen150 #ucberkeley

(Artist: Cai Carranza)

June Jordan

Celebrating June Jordan, a Jamaican American, bisexual, poet, essayist, essayist, and pedagogy trailblazer! From 1989 to 2002 she was a full-time professor at Cal in the departments of English, Women's Studies, and African American Studies. While here, she founded the "Poetry for the People" program, a program that still exists today and is working to bridge the gap between the university and the larger community through working with teens, young adults, schools, community organizations, and activist projects in the greater Bay Area.

#berkeleywomen150 #geneqwomen150 #ucberkeley

(Artist: Jimin Oh)

Maxine Hong Kingston

Celebrating Maxine Hong Kingston, former UC Berkeley student who has gained critical success for her books and emerged as a leading contemporary Chinese-American writer. Kingston attended UC Berkeley in 1958, and fell in love with her English classes. Kingston's first book, "Woman Warrior: Memoirs of a Girlhood Among Ghosts," was published in 1976 - combining family history, myth, and memories to illustrate her experience growing up within conflicting Chinese and American cultures. Her book went on to win the National Book Critics Circle Award for Nonfiction and, four years later, she published a second book titled "China Men," which won the American Book Award for Nonfiction. Not only has Kingston been conferred the National Humanities Medal by President Clinton and the National Medal of Arts by President Obama for her works - she is also a leader as an anti-war activist and has run therapeutic workshops for veterans. Currently, she is a professor emerita at UC Berkeley and lives in Oakland, California.

#berkeleywomen150 #geneqwomen150 #ucberkeley

(Artist: Mihai Cipleu)

Nancy Lemon

Nancy K. D. Lemon has been a leading authority on domestic violence law for over three decades. A practicing attorney, she has also provided expert testimony in many types of cases. She worked to craft many pieces of California legislation affecting survivors of domestic violence and their children. Since 1988, Professor Lemon has taught Domestic Violence Law and the Domestic Violence Field Placement at UC Berkeley’s School of Law. She authored the first textbook on Domestic Violence Law in 1996, now in its 5th edition. In 2012, she co-founded the Family Violence Appellate Project, where she is the Legal Director.

#berkeleywomen150 #geneqwomen150 #ucberkeley

(Artist: Cai Carranza)

Dr. Susan Stryker

Celebrating Dr. Susan Stryker a Professor Emerita of Gender and Women’s Studies at the University of Arizona, who holds the Barbara Lee Professorship in Women’s Leadership at Mills College, 2020-2022. Dr. Stryker is an award-winning scholar and filmmaker whose historical research, theoretical writing, and creative works have helped shape the cultural conversation on transgender topics since the early 1990s. Dr. Stryker earned her Ph.D. in United States History at the University of California-Berkeley in 1992. She is the author, co-author, editor, or co-editor of numerous books and anthologies including Gay by the Bay: A History of Queer Culture in the San Francisco Bay Area. In addition to developing and consulting on various media projects, Dr. Stryker’s current work in process is Changing Gender: A Trans History of North America. Truly, not enough cannot be said about Dr. Stryker's contributions to Queer and Trans history.

#berkeleywomen150 #geneqwomen150 #ucberkeley

(Artist: Cai Carranza)