History

The idea of creating the Alaska Women’s Hall of Fame was initiated in 2008 when the Alaska Women’s Network’s Board of Directors (AWN) discussed how it could use its web site to honor Alaska’s women as part of the upcoming celebration of Alaska’s fifty years of statehood. Two ideas were suggested: first, update the 1983 Profiles of Change, a publication by the Alaska Commission on the Status of Women and, second, establish a way to profile and honor the Alaskan women who had been involved in shaping Alaska. Members of AWN solicited ideas and support from other women’s organizations. The Anchorage YWCA offered its support, and a meeting space. A brainstorming session was held there on August 15, 2008, which was attended by women from throughout the community. It was decided to work with the UAA Consortium Library to digitize the Profiles of Change so people throughout the state could access the stories of the outstanding women described in the publication. Additionally, at that meeting it was learned that the Zonta Club of Anchorage had been working on developing a web site to house a “virtual Alaska women’s wall.” The two groups decided to collaborate and join their efforts. From that meeting, an informal steering committee was formed, composed of representatives of the AWN, Alaska Women’s Political Caucus, Anchorage YWCA, UAA, Anchorage Commission on Women and the Zonta Club of Anchorage as well as several women who were interested in the idea, but not affiliated with a particular organization. The steering committee developed the Alaska Women’s Hall of Fame, solicited nominations from across the state, 50 women were selected to be inducted on March 6, 2009 and launched the web site that hosts the biographies of the honorees. March was chosen as the annual date of the induction to coincide with Women’s History Month. The Zonta Club of Anchorage has accepted responsibility for the creation and maintenance of the web site, www.alaskawomenshalloffame.org. The digitization of the Profiles of Change was completed, with the assistance of volunteers, in February 2010. It is available through the Alaska Digital Archives at http://vilda.alaska.edu/.