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The Gender Equity Award (formerly known as the CoGEA or "squeaky wheel" Award) recognizes individuals whose service to the discipline demonstrates the courage to bring to light and investigate practices in anthropology that are potentially sexist and discriminatory based on gender presentation.
Historically, this award has honored those who have acted to raise awareness of women's contributions to anthropology, worked to identify barriers to full participation by women in anthropology, or helped to bring about significant shifts in intellectual paradigms through their anthropological research on women's lives.
In recent years, the Gender Equity Award has expanded to include an even broader scope. In addition to honoring scholars who work against discrimination against women in anthropology, the committee celebrated feminist scholars working to raise awareness of discrimination in anthropology on the grounds of gender presentation of any kind. Recent past winners include Carol Mukhopadhyay, Patricia Zavella, Peggy Sanday, Barbara Voorhies, Mary Ann Levine, Elizabeth Brumfiel, Laura Nader, and Constance Sutton.
Scholars and practitioners from all subfields of anthropology, at stages ranging anywhere from promising mid-career to proven late-career, were honored for acting to improve the status of those discriminated against on the basis of sex or gender identity in anthropology through:
M. Gabriela Torres, Dianna Shandy, and Kathryn Clancy are recognized for their leadership and service to the profession in developing policies and procedures for addressing issues of sexual harassment and sexual assault for the American Anthropological Association. This is a critical time in our nation’s history when these issues are front and center. Their hard work in developing the AAA’s Comprehensive Policy on Sexual Harassment and Assault should be recognized, and we are proud of what they have accomplished in the MPAAC’s first year.
2017 | Carol Mukhopadhyay
2016 | Patricia Zavella
2015 | Peggy Sanday
2014 | Barbara Voorhies
2013 | Not given
2012 | Mary Ann Levine
2011 | Elizabeth Brumfiel
2010 | Laura Nader
2009 | Constance Sutton
2008 | Margaret Conkey
2007 | Joan Gero
2006 | Sandra Morgen *
2005 | Not given
2004 | Adrienne Zihlman
2003 | Sue Kent
2002 | Carole Crumley
2001 | Naomi Quinn
2000 | Roger Sanjek
1999 | Carol Kramer
1998 | Louise Lamphere
1997 | John Yellen
Carol Mukhopadhyay received the AAA’s Committee on Gender Equity in Anthropology (CoGEA) Award for 2017. The committee was particularly impressed by her unflagging commitment to gender equity that permeates her scholarship, teaching, advocacy, and mentorship.
Mukhopadhyay’s commitment to gender equity and combatting all kinds of discrimination has been influential over the decades, as one former student put it, “both as ideology and as lived practice.” Another former student notes how her dedication to standing up to gender inequity “is not [just] something she does, it is who she is.” Former students and colleagues were particularly inspired by her courage, tenacity, generosity, and willingness to stand up for others.
Mukhopadhyay is professor emerita at San Jose State University. Her feminist research addresses gender divisions in families, politics, and science and engineering, in the United States and India. Publications include the 1988 Annual Review of Anthropology gender article [with P. Higgins], "A Feminist Cognitive Anthropology: The Case of Women and Mathematics" (2004), Cognitive Anthropology Through a Gendered Lens (2011), Women, Education and Family Structure in India (1994, with S. Seymour), and in 2017, “Gender and Trump,” and "Gender and Sexuality" (with T. Blumenfield) in the pioneering open-source, textbook, Perspectives: An Open Invitation to Cultural Anthropology.
Dr. Patricia Zavella joined University of California Santa Cruz in 1984 and served as chair of the Latin America and Latino Studies Department from 2007-2011 and again from 2014 until June 30, 2016. She also previously served as director of the Chicano/Latino Research Center. She received her undergraduate degree from Pitzer College, and her masters and PhD from UC Berkeley. She had a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford's Center for Chicano Research before joining the UCSC faculty.
Dr. Zavella’s research has earned her a high-ranking place among feminist scholars and especially among scholars of Chicano/Latino women. In addition to a prolific publishing profile, Dr. Zavella was a co-winner of the 2010 Prize for Distinguished Achievement in the Critical Study of North America given by the Society for the Anthropology of North America. Dr. Zavella also received the 2003 National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies, “Scholar of the Year Award,” given to individuals of extraordinary distinction in the hemisphere who combine superlative social activism, teaching, and research.
2015 - Peggy Sanday
Dr. Sanday is a pioneer in the study of gender-based violence, in particular the study of campus rape. Dr. Sanday’s scholarly contributions over the last 40 years have had an enormous impact on the cross-cultural study of gender inequality and have shaped the way that social science and society at large address the issues of rape and sexual assault.
Dr. Sanday is the author of a number of ground breaking works including “The Socio-Cultural Context of Rape,” which established the paradigm for explaining the occurrence and context of rape cross-culturally. Dr. Sanday’s books, Fraternity Gang Rape: Sex, Brotherhood and Privilege on Campus and A Woman Scorned: Acquaintance Rape on Trial, have also been highly influential in the field of Public Interest Anthropology, inspiring new generations of feminist student activists.
2014 - Barbara Voorhies
In 2014, CoGEA presented the Award to Professor Barbara Voorhies (UCSB). The nomination materials for Barbara Voorhies represented her legacy as a pioneering senior-career scholar in bioanthropology & archaeology with her paradigm-shifting first book publications appearing in 1975. Barbara Voorhies' career has been equally influential in shifting paradigms of research and practice in anthropology towards the recognition of women and of gender roles, biases, and inequalities. Additionally, she has mentored scores of graduate students who have gone on to become important voices in the discipline in their own right.
2012 - Mary Ann Levine
Mary Ann Levine, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Anthropology at Franklin and Marshall College. A native of Huntingdon, Quebec, Levine grew up near three Mohawk Indian reservations, something THAT drew her to research Native Americans. In addition to her focus on hunter-gathers of the Northeast, her work has emphasizes the history female archeologists, and has undertaken major research projects on women in 18th and 19th century Northeastern North American archaeological contexts. Dr. Levine served on COSWA, DEMONSTRATING HER deep dedication to asseSS the status of women in the contemporary practice of anthropology.
In addition to her scholarship and service to the discipline, Mary Ann Levine is renowned for the mentoring and nurturing she has provided for students in all subfields of anthropology throughout her career. Since 2007 alone she has introduced more than fifty students to the rigors and joys of archeological field research at her latest research site in Montoursville, Pa. Her published work includes two edited volumes, 2009 (with Michael Nassaney) Archaeology and Community Service Learning. Miami: University Press of Florida. 1999 (with Kenneth Sassaman, and Michael Nassaney) The Archaeological.Northeast, Westport, Conn: Bergin & Garvey Press. Dr. Levine has also dedicated significant attention to investigating current gender-based equity issues for women in archaeology including 1999 Uncovering a Buried Past: Women in Americanist Archaeology Before the First World War. In Assembling the Past: Studies in the Professionalization of Archaeology, edited by Alice B. Kehoe. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press.
2011- Elizabeth Brumfiel
Dr. Elizabeth Brumfiel is Professor of Anthropology at Northwestern University. She is a leading social theorist whose works are known within the broad context of the four fields. Backed by an informed feminist theory, her pioneering works brought the study of gender to Mesoamerican archaeologists. Among her significant works are "Weaving and Cooking: Women's Production in Aztec Mexico, in Gero and M.W. Conkey's Engendering Archaeology: Women and Prehistory (1991) and her Distinguished Lecture presented to the American Anthropological Association, “Breaking and Entering the Ecosystem: Gender, Class, and Faction Steal the Show” (1992). This article broke the glass ceiling in archaeology by highlighting the central roles that gender and other social groups played in society. It is one of the most cited works in archaeology, two decades later.
Brumfiel spent most of her academic career at Albion College, where she was John S. Ludington Trustee’s Professor, a small undergraduate institution where she demonstrated the ability to be a leading figure in the field without the backing of a major research institution. There and after her move to Northwestern University, she has been a generous mentor to students and younger faculty. Brumfiel is one of the few female archaeologists working in the Basin of Mexico to be a tenured professor at a U.S. university with a doctoral program in anthropology.
Among her published works are six edited books, 2008 (wiith Gary M. Feinman) The Aztec World. New York: Abrams; 2008 (with Cynthia Robin) Gender, Households, and Society: Unraveling the threads of the past and present. Arlington, VA: Archaeological Papers of the American Anthropological Association, Volume 18; 2005 Production and Power at Postclassic Xaltocan. Pittsburgh and Mexico City: University of Pittsburgh Department of Anthropology and the Instituto Nacional de Antropología e Historia; 1994 Economic Anthropology of the State. (Monographs in Economic Anthropology, 11). Lanham, MD: University Press of America;1994 (with John W. Fox) Factional Competition and Political Development in the New World. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press;1987 (with T.K. Earle) Specialization, Exchange, and Complex Societies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Laura Nader, PhD is Professor of sociocultural anthropology at the University of California Berkeley. Her scholarship interrogates the role of dogma in law, energy science, and anthropology in village sites, national arenas, and international scales. Her scholarship has focused both implicitly and explicitly on the issue of justice, and her professional life has mirrored her commitment to eradicating inequality. In the nomination letter for the 2010 CoGEA Award, Professor Liza Grandia (Clark University), writes:
In an autobiographical interview recorded in 1989, she remarked candidly that she would “have to be perfect, because I knew that they wouldn’t hire any women after me if I weren’t.” While publishing at a breathtaking pace, she went onto mentor fifty-four primary PhD. advises (and still counting), including the late Sylvia Forman, one of the founders of the Association for Feminist Anthropology. After having three children on her own time, she eventually persuaded the provost to implement a maternity leave policy for Berkeley faculty and designed it herself. She fought to equalize women faculty salaries (including her own) to those of men in the department. Beyond these formal markers, it was perhaps in the ordinary day-to-day interactions with her colleagues in which she most proved her capability, strength of character, and acerbic wit, thereby encouraging them to welcome more women colleagues.
2009 - Constance Sutton
Dr. Constance Sutton is Retired Associate Professor of Anthropology at New York University and Fellow of the New York Academy of Sciences. Dr. Sutton is a well-regarded specialist in Caribbean and West Africa ethnography with a focus on transnational migrations/diasporic processes, represented in her edited volume with Elsa Chaney, Caribbean Life in New York City. Dedicated to the support of women, Dr. Constance has written extensively on her own family life and field work, the personal/professional life of Margaret Meade, and women in the military.
Constance Sutton’s contributions to anthropological knowledge and theory – which have encompassed work on transnationalism, New York City’s diversity and ethnic dynamics, changing organization of work and political consciousness in Barbados, family and kinship, and Caribbean studies – have not only given visibility to women as a focus of research, but have also consistently acknowledged and highlighted insights gained from the work of women scholars and writers who have preceded and followed her in these domains. Further, as a member of various committees and councils at NYU, she was able to gain support for initiatives that changed the status and benefits of women faculty.
One of Sutton’s most important contributions to the encouragement of young women in the field was her organizing, with Eleanor Leacock, the New York Women’s Anthropology Conference (NYWAC) in the early 1970s to bring together graduate students and women faculty to critically examine anthropological writings from a feminist perspective and challenge the sexist academic practices women students and professionals faced. NYWAC later morphed into the International Women’s Anthropology Conference (IWAC), an NGO in consultative status with the UN’s Economic and Social Council that sought to influence international policies.
Dr. Margaret Conkey is Professor of Anthropology at the University of California-Berkeley, where she has taught since 1986. Dr. Conkey was a member and chairperson of COSWA in 1975. She is also the president-elect of the Society for American Archaeology.
Dr. Conkey has dedicated her career to support and promote women within our discipline as well as truly initiating feminist archaeology with her 1984 article with Janet Spector, Archaeology and the Study of Gender. The article created the place and voice for the study of women in the past as well as initiating the discussion of women's position in our discipline. One of the letter of supports on her behalf calls her "the preeminent American feminist archaeologist of our time."
Another letter of support indicates that "thinking about Meg, "squeaky" is not the first word that comes to mind but a "wheel" is exactly what she is – moving issues, no matter what bumpy road is ahead, always looking forward, having a goal, a sense where the discipline needs to go to be productive, lively, and humane towards its students and practitioners."
Dr. Conkey's life has always been a source of inspiration to women (and men) working toward careers in anthropology and archaeology. She has encouraged her students and colleagues to "spread the word and rattle the cages of complacency in the classroom, in the field, in the profession, and in academia more generally."
2007 - Joan Gero
The Committee on the Status of Women in Anthropology is honored to present the 2007 Squeaky Wheel award to Joan Gero. Joan has dedicated her career to exposing inequality and attention to gender, with particular attention to spotlighting issues of feminist concern within the current practice of archaeology. Her article “Socio-politics and the woman-at-home ideology” (1985, American Antiquity 50(2):342-350), was one of the first publications to highlight the inequities and expectations faced by female archaeologists. Her groundbreaking volume Engendering Archaeology: Women and Prehistory (co-edited with Margaret Conkey), transformed archaeology by destabilizing assumptions about men's societal contribution, making investigations of ancient women's marks on the archaeological record and gender in past cultures an accepted part of the sub-field. Specifically, Joan challenged Paleoindian researchers' ideas about the primacy of hunting and butchering as male activities, as well as their resistance to recognize women's tools and roles. In addition to her contributions to feminist archaeology, Joan has also been a vocal actor with regard to the global politics of archaeology. Presently, she serves as the World Archaeological Congress' Senior North American Representative on the congress planning team, as well as Head Series Editor for the One World Archaeology book series. Joan will be retiring this year from American University after ten years of service at American and 13 years teaching at the University of South Carolina. Throughout her tenure, Joan remained an active mentor and valued colleague. Her office door was always open, and her wit, sage advice, and enthusiasm for anthropology never faded.
2006 - Sandra Morgen* | Obituary
The Committee on the Status of Women in Anthropology is honored to present the 2006 Squeaky Wheel award to Sandra Morgen. Sandi has worked tirelessly for women in society and women in anthropology through her research on women's health, reproductive justice, welfare and now, on tax politics in the U.S. entitlements. Her first book “Women and the Politics of Empowerment” is a classic volume detailing women's organizing at work and in the community. Her second volume, published by the AAA, “Gender and Anthropology” represents a collective effort to integrate gender into the anthropological curriculum. Her most recent book “Taxes are a Women's Issue” builds on extensive policy work on welfare reform and has profound implications for policy in this country. She also brought together welfare researchers to produce the AAA statement on welfare reform. Sandi has served as a founding member and President of the AFA (Association for Feminist Anthropology) and is now President-Elect of the SANA (Society for the Anthropology of North America). Sandi is currently a faculty member in Women's Studies at the Pennsylvania State University. She previously served as Director of the Center for the Study of Women and Society at the University of Oregon. She is highly regarded as an excellent mentor and supportive colleague
2005 - Not given
2004 - Adrienne Zihlman
The Committee on the Status of Women in Anthropology (COSWA) is pleased to announce that the recipient of the 2004 Squeaky Wheel Award is Adrienne Zihlman of the University of California Santa Cruz. In her many publications, including over 50 articles and a volume edited with ME Morbeck and A Galloway entitled The Evolving Female: A Life History Perspective, Zihlman directed attention to an examination of women in evolution. She has written extensively on gender differences in many aspects of physical anthropology including morphology and locomotion; women in human origins; woman as gatherer; life history of great apes; and the roots of sociality. Her continued efforts have been responsible for ensuring that an evolutionary perspective of humans includes women's contributions.
Zihlman is a former chair of her department and vice president of the California Academy of Sciences. She is a fellow of the AAAS and the California Academy of Sciences. In addition to her scholarly work, Zihlman has received the UC Santa Cruz award for excellence in teaching. Many students have benefited greatly from Zihlman's excellent teaching and mentoring. COSWA is honored to recognize the contributions of Adrienne Zihlman with this award.
2003 - Sue Kent
The Squeaky Wheel Award is to be awarded posthumously this year to Susan Kent. Kent's research on foraging societies focused on both equalities and structural inequalities of all kinds, including gender. As an ethnoarchaeologist she was always aware of the nuances of differences between different classes of people. She organized a session on gender in African prehistory and edited a book from the session papers (Gender in African Prehistory) at a time when this topic was just beginning to become respectable. For many who contributed papers, it was a new topic and an exciting challenge to organize and consider data in a new way. Her service in AAA included membership in COSWA, to which she gave her usual devoted attention. Kent was a mentor to women students at many universities, not just Old Dominion University where she taught, and was always generous with her time, experience and advice. Her own personal network of anthropologists in all subfields was vast, and she helped connect students into it. The award will be presented at the COSWA session presentation on Children in Anthropological Studies and Mothers in Academia on Friday from 8:00-11:45 am at the Annual Meeting in Chicago.
2002 - Carole Crumley
Carole Crumley is a professor at UNC at Chapel Hill, where she has spent her career examining evidence of social inequality in the archaeological record. Through her extensive fieldwork in the US, France, Israel, Italy, Ireland and Spain, she has examined hierarchy and stratification, and done groundbreaking work in climate and paleoenvironments, a field overwhelmingly dominated by male researchers. Former students comment on Crumley's role in shaping their success, and commend her as a dynamic and charismatic mentor, especially helping women graduate students succeed in areas where few women have dared to tread. She has a good record of grantsmanship and publication, recently editing Historical Ecology, Heterarchy and the Analysis of Complex Societies and New Directions in Anthropology and Environment: Intersections. She recently was elected to the archaeology seat on the AAA Executive Board, and formerly served the AAA as the secretary of the AAA Executive Board and chair of the Nominations Committee. For her service to the AAA, her advocacy on behalf of generations of students and her pioneering research, COSWA is pleased to honor Carole with the 2002 Squeaky Wheel Award
2001 - Naomi Quinn
For 20 years, Naomi Quinn has sought to improve gender and social equity within the discipline of anthropology and in university employment in general. She served on a National Academy of Sciences Committee on the Employment of Women and Related Social Issues (1981-87) and participated in the AAA Committee to Study the Academic Employment of Women in Anthropology (1982-1993), which resulted in the publication of two major examinations of gender relations in anthropology: "A New Resolution on Fair Employment Practices for Women Anthropologists," published in Signs (co-authored with Carol Smith); and "Academic Employment of Women in Anthropology," published in the Oct 1994 Anthropology Newsletter (co-authored with Michael Burton, Patty Jo Watson and Cynthia Webster). She led a COSWA-sponsored informational session for department chairs on the issues of sexual harassment in academia at the 1998 AAA Annual Meeting and published a subsequent piece in the Anthropology Newsletter.
In her own scholarly activity, Naomi Quinn has helped to make the focus of psychological anthropology more gender-sensitive. She also has promoted feminist psychological anthropology and increased our understanding of reproduction issues in their social context. She has helped ensure that feminists have a voice in anthropology and was the co-founder of the Association of Feminist Anthropology, a thriving section of the AAA.
In addition to her role as a researcher, scholar and advocate, Naomi Quinn has been a personal mentor and champion for other women in the discipline, including in contexts where overt hostilities and subtle sexism have created tense working conditions for her peers. Her personal courage has been a model to others; her generosity of spirit has helped younger colleagues persevere through difficult times. One of her nominees noted the inadequacy of the name "Squeaky Wheel" as an award for Quinn, for "Naomi Quinn deserves a 'Great Blazing Trumpet and Fiery Chariot Award.'" However, until such an award is created, we are pleased to make this modest commendation on behalf of grateful colleagues.
2000 - Roger Sanjek
Throughout his career, Roger Sanjek has worked to improve gender equity in our profession. As an early member of COSWA, he advocated the status of women in anthropology and evaluated the position of women in the 1978 American Anthropologist article, "The Position of Women in Major Departments of Anthropology 1967-1976." He helped formulate the 1979 AAA resolution mandating COSWA to periodically monitor and report on the status of women in American departments of anthropology. In 1981 he co-authored an AAA resolution - which was adopted by the AAA - to Implement the 1971 Resolution on Fair Practices in Employment of Women.
In his own scholarship he has been equally mindful of issues of gender, ethnic and class equity, whether as part of his earlier work in West Africa or his more recent work with Gray Panthers and in Elmhurst-Corona, Queens. As editor for Cornell University Press he has played an active role in acquiring and publishing the work of female anthropologists.
1999 - Carol Kramer
Carol Kramer is awarded the 1999 Squeaky Wheel award in recognition of her career long commitment to equity for women in anthropology. Carol Kramer has been a leader with a clear but quiet voice in issues involving gender equity within anthropology for more than 20 years. She was also a member of the Ruth Benedict Collective in the 1970s. In 1979, while teaching at Lehman College, CUNY, she was a part of a group that drew up a resolution calling on the AAA board to reverse their disavowal of the 1972 Resolution on Fair Practices in Employment of Women. The group, also including Roger Sanjek, Rayna Rapp, Carole Vance and Glenn Peterson, was able to enlist over 150 sponsors of the resolution was passed with an overwhelming voice vote in the AAA meeting of December 1980. This resolution was narrowly passed in a mail ballot. The resolution was responsible for immediately censoring five departments. Departments continue to be reviewed, with unfair practices still being noted in the AN.
In 1986-87, drawing on resources available in an NSF funded Visiting Professorship for Women at the U of Arizona, Kramer initiated and conducted the first survey of gender equity on women within archaeology, covering the period between 1976-86. Miriam Stark, then a student at the U of Arizona, worked as a research assistant in this project. The survey demonstrated that whereas the number of women was increasing in archaeology graduate programs and as tenured faculty members, there was a decline in the number of women at each subsequent career stage, with significant drops from graduate school admission to completing the doctoral degree, to being hired in tenurable positions and achieving tenure. The results of the survey were published in the December 1988 AN, (p.11-12). The effective methods taken in this study inspired a number of subsequent studies in other aspects of archaeology, at Arizona and elsewhere.
1998 - Louise Lamphere
In 1998, the Squeaky Wheel Award was presented to Louise Lamphere (U New Mexico) for her lifelong work for the equality of women in anthropology. Lamphere was the co-editor, with Michele Zimbalist Rosaldo, of Women, Culture, and Society the first volume to address the anthropological study of gender and women's status. In the 1970s, after being denied tenure at Brown U, Lamphere brought a class action suit against Brown. She won an out-of-court settlement that served as a model for future suits by others. Roger Sanjek, in his review of the history of the AA's resolution on the employment of women, cites her tenure suit as one of the key events that clarified issues in the employment of women in anthropology and led to the resolution. Her nominator for this award notes that her actions were "extraordinary time-consuming and personally costly for her... and as such, it represents a great personal sacrifice in the interests of improving employment conditions for women in our field." Lamphere's suit has been immortalized in drama. Lamphere has continued to be a leader in advocacy for women in anthropology. She has taken a number of opportunities to highlight the contribution of women to anthropology, including her 1989 Distinguished Lecture for the American Ethnological Associate reviewing the legacy of Elsie Clews Parson.