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Tuesday, May 2, 2017

In the Beginning.....

My primary purpose for founding The Delta Kappa Gamma Society was to empower women educators. Because of the climate in the United States and some European countries toward women who had JUST been given voting rights, I knew it was risky to form an all-female organization. I also knew that women teachers were sometimes marginalized and not given deserved opportunities. They were often passed over for career advancements that were awarded to men who were frequently less qualified. Women teachers were watched and criticized if they were deemed to be morally, spiritually, and intellectually imperfect--because they were unmarried and did not have a “man” to direct and protect them. Many--men and women--did not trust a group of women to make decisions for themselves and their intent. I saw that there had to be changes for the sake of women teachers, changes that would be slow and very painful, if they occurred at all. Because a woman was not allowed to teach if she married, teachers were often lonely. Some did not marry because they were the sole support for aging parents, for example. I realized that women needed the safety of a group of other women to support and encourage them. And I knew that encouragement and sense of worth were essential to lifting the spirits of teachers and to improving the delivery education. 

That is the reason we Founders formed secretly and gave the organization the accoutrements of a social sorority--a Greek name, membership by invitation, secret meetings, symbols, a song, an identifying membership pin--most of which survive to the present. The cultural norm in 1929 was for women to convene for social purposes. Presently, the parts of the Delta Kappa Gamma Society that grew from social sorority practices are unifying because they represent the long advancement of professional women educators, but they are not the reason for being a member of the longest and largest professional organization of women educators. 

Now, it’s safe to be part of an all-female organization, to meet openly, to speak out about women’s concerns and to make decisions for ourselves without fear of being dismissed from one’s job, being ostracized, or punished. Women educators hold leadership roles in their professions and communities. I like to think that Delta Kappa Gamma helped them to reach this status more quickly and solidly than was possible without the support of the organization. 

I am proud of the fact that Delta Kappa Gamma Society International is international, survives and thrives, and continues to improve educators’ lives, schools, and communities. Just remember that one voice can make a difference and that many voices make a better difference. 


  1. This was so interesting. I'm so glad it was shared.

  2. How truly remarkable that Annie and the founders would make a substantial stand for women educators! Such determination is truly laudable!!! Thank you for giving me insight into what had to have been a tremendous impact for those young women educators joining the ranks of DKG.


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