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61st IFLA General Conference - Conference Proceedings - August 20-25, 1995

Round Table on Women's Issues

Annual Report 1994

Pat Darter
Equal Opportunities Commission
Overseas House
Quay Street
Manchester M3 3HN
Fax: (44-61) 8351657
is Chair of the Round Table on Women's Issues.

Mary Biblo

University of Chicago Schools
Rowley Library
1362 East 59th Street
Chicago, Illinois 60637
Fax: (1-312) 7020248
is Secretary.

Since its formal establishment as a Round Table in 1993, the Round Table on Women's Issues has moved quickly to implement its proposed plan of activities.



The Round Table's first brochure was produced by Suzine Har Nicolescu (USA), Suzanne Hildenbrand (USA) and Mary Biblo. Its production was one goal established by the Round Table.

Survey of Library Associations

The Round Table received funds to carry out a survey amongst national library associations of their equal opportunities policies and to discover if they did any monitoring as far as their women membe rs were concerned. The project is being supervised by Sandra Parker at the University of Northumbria in the UK. Early in 1994 questionnaires were sent out, and at the time of the conference only 20 r eplies had been received. Reminders will be sent to those not replying. Responses so far have ranged from the very helpful to the totally negative. Dependent upon the final trawl of documentation rec eived, there is a possibility of the project being extended to devise model guidelines which hopefully would be adopted by IFLA.

Round Table Newsletter

Members received newsletters mailed by colleagues within their countries/areas: 1) Argentina, Silvia Cecilia Anselmi; 2) North America, Mary Biblo and Suzanne Hildenbrand; 3) Finland and the Baltic c ountries, Leena Siitonen; 4) Sweden, Eva Trotzig; and 5) UK and other European countries, Pat Darter. The membership database is being handled by Leena Siitonen, who also prints the mailing labels. Y oko Taguchi (Japan) is responsible for editing and preparing the Newsletter.

Havana Programme

Visit to Cuban Women's Federation

When she spoke to the session in Barcelona, Marta Terry, Second Vice-President of IFLA and Chair of the FMC, suggested that as part of the Havana Conference, the Round Table might like to arrange a m eeting with the Cuban Women's Federation. The visit took place at the elegant headquarters where participants were met by one of the Directors, Carmen Nora Hernandes, who, together with librarian, Me rcedes Verdeses Vazquez, gave an interesting and informative talk on the work of the FMC. Although based on earlier (pre-revolutionary) women's groups, the organization dates from 1960 and today has over three million members. Equality between the sexes was one of the aims of the Revolution, and in particular women have benefitted from the emphasis placed by the State on literacy and health care . Women now make up 39% of the work force and 61% of what was described as the "highly trained". Current interests of concern are the lack of awareness amongst young women on women's issues and the n eed to safeguard women's rights, and also the growing problem of prostitution.

Open session

The Round Table on Women's Issues presented a programme attended by approximately 70 delegates, meeting under the theme, "Women in the World of Information". The Round Table's first brochure was dist ributed to participants who indicated an interest in joining the Round Table. The following papers were presented:

How Long Do Women Have to Wait?

How long do women have to wait to beam fully licensed citizens? The advancement of women is a process of our own activity and official actions such as making laws and statutes, arranging national/loc al discussions and studies about equality. The mental process, women's collective and individual consciousness, is also a complicated question. Finland is a country which has long experienced the fac t that the majority of women also work full-time outside the home. Partly due to this fact, the position of women in Finland is quite good, but women's salaries are still lower than those of men, and women are not as yet so highly regarded as men. The paper discusses the process of interaction between women's activities and those of society in formulating the present situation. As examples are u sed the libraries of Finland: 90% of its library staff is female, and the great majority of library directors are also women. How this influences library policy, working methods and working atmospher e is considered.

The Status of Library Women in Japan

The paper outlines two surveys conducted under the aegis of the Research Committee on the Problems of Librarians, Japan Library Association. The first survey was a membership survey of JLA, which was carried out by a feminist group in 1987. The second one (conducted in 1992) covers the temporary workers in the public libraries in Osaka. The discriminatory status of female library personnel in Ja pan is revealed through those two studies. The paper also covers FLINT (Feminist Librarians' Network), its origin, rationale, activities and problems.

Setting Up a Women's Studies Library

The paper provides details on access, use, collection policies, cataloguing and classification, staffing, weeding, preservation, and funding for women's studies collections at women's centres or libr aries.

Programas de govierno y publicaciones sobre la mujer en Cuba