A selection of materials showing the work of the North Dakota Commission on the Status of Women. Includes letters from attorneys on the legal status of women in North Dakota, a political and civil rights comparison between men and women in the state, a summary report of the Commission's work, and a history of the Commission itself.
In North Dakota, the Business and Professional Women's clubs (BPW) and the American Association of University Women (AAUW) asked Governor William Guy to establish a commission on the status of women. He did, but the commission had no budget, not even to pay for the travel of members or the printing of their report. The commission's first chair was Agnes Geelan who was also chair of the North Dakota Workmen's Compensation Bureau. The Vice-Chair was Dagny Olson, a court reporter, former clerk of the state Senate, member of BPW, and later president of the North Dakota Federation of Republican Women. The Commission met in January 1964, and its committees met throughout the spring. On July 17 and 18 the commission sponsored a conference in Bismarck attended by 220 women and men. Others sent letters to the commission expressing their interest in reforming law and custom to give women greater opportunities. The Commission gathered and analyzed statistics, listened to citizen's comments, and examined state laws. The Commission filed a report with Governor Guy on December 12, 1964 and made recommendations to the legislature for specific bills to address women's inequality. They met with success in several categories: the law exempting women from jury duty was repealed (1967); an equal pay law was passed by the legislature (1965); and the law limiting women's labor including denying women overtime was repealed (1965, 1976).