on the web at

OWA Founding Membership at the SF Art Institlute 1973 (photo: Jeremiah Bragstad)

Our History

by Inge Horton   

In the early 1970's, the Women's Movement in the United States gained momentum and helped women to become aware of their unequal status in society and pursue change. Women's studies courses at universities, popular magazines like Gloria Steinem's Ms. for Women, and demonstrations for equal rights all caused women to question the validity of male role models and rules in society and to demand equality.

The unequal situation of women in the male-dominated field of architecture was brought to light in a long and well-researched article by Ellen Perry Berkeley in the respected architectural magazine, Architectural Forum, in September 1972. The article gave many examples of overt and covert discrimination of women in architecture, landscape architecture and planning, most noticeable in lower pay and less opportunity for promotion than for men. Encouraged by the examples of other women's professional organizations around the country, women architects started to get together in support of each other and to overcome their second-class professional status.


New History Forum

Jean Nilsson
The OWA is already preparing for our 50th Anniversary in 2022. We now have a History Forum on our website available as a place for members to post and share information and ideas related to the group’s history or the 50th Anniversary book project. Use this link to let us know if you have materials, suggestions, or a piece of history you’d like to share:

Add you thoughts on the History Forum here

OWA Portfolio Pages

Many artifacts of the organization are stored as portfolio pages on the OWA Admin Profile page. They include:

OWA Group Photos
OWA Posters
OWA Pamphlets
OWA Logos
OWA Stationary

Special Events and Publications

OWA 10th Anniversary Brochure

15 page booklet of event

Tour of Residences Design by Women architects

The 1985 OWA Tour Committee was lead by Cindy Bustamante, chair, and included C.B. Crump, Mary Ledezma, Mimi Pennell, and Charlotte Strem

Location Marin County and Napa Valley October 6, 1985. The booklet has 15 pages and there is a poster (to be added later).

Architectural Tour '86

OWA 20th Anniversary Year

OWA 30th Anniversary Year

OWA-AIA reception and Exhibition

OWA Architecture and the City Exhibition: Building the City

OWA Architecture and the City Exhibition:
Urban Vitality

40th Anniversary Year Events

40th Anniversary
History of OWA

Jean Nilsson, Ed.

40th Anniversary Symposium

40th Anniversary Exhibition

In conjunction with the Symposium

40th Anniversary Gala

Recurring Events and Publications


Group Photos

1973-1975; 2002-present
OWA Newsletter Archive

OWA Retreats

share this page
visit us on facebook
copyright © 2018 owa-usa.org