Chatham University

Promoting women's leadership and gender equity through education, research, and outreach.

The Women's Institute continues the legacy of Chatham University's historic commitment to women's leadership and gender equity.
We serve as a hub to draw together the university's broad range of gender initiatives, resources, and academic programs. Through education, research, and outreach, we work across campus and into the community promoting social, political, and economic equality.

Women leaders thrive at Chatham University.
We were ranked in the top three schools nationwide for aspiring women leaders. And TIME Magazine named Chatham's most famous alumna, the environmental pioneer Rachel Carson '29, one of the most powerful women of the 20th century.

Recent women leaders hosted by the Women's Institute include:

Inside the Classroom

As a fully gender inclusive university, we continue our historic commitment to advancing the causes of women's leadership, empowerment, and gender equity in the classroom. Our academic initiatives build on our history of innovative education while maintaining our values and helping students become the social change makers of the future.

Academic Programs Supported by the Women's Institute

Women and Gender Studies Program

Women's & Gender Studies Program

Students can major and minor in Women's & Gender Studies.

Women's Leadership Certificate Program

Women's Leadership Certificate Program

Students in any major can add a certificate in Women's Leadership.

Women's Leadership Course

Women's Leadership Course

All students can take "Women's Leadership in the 21st Century."

Outside the Classroom

The Women's Institute sponsors a wide variety of activities outside the classroom for graduate and undergraduate students interested in women's leadership and gender equity. We recognize that gender intersects with other power structures, including race, class, sexual identity, national origin, religion and more – and therefore our feminism is intersectional. Honoring Chatham's values of inclusion, diversity, and respect, we use a social justice lens to practice gender equity and center those in our work who have historically been most marginalized.

▶ Women's Leadership Living Learning Community

  • The Women's Institute provides special programming for the LLC, housed in historic Laughlin Hall (take a tour!), and students plan activities and events that promote women's leadership and gender equity on campus and in the community.

▶ Student Scholarships

The Barbara Stone Hollander '60 Student Leadership Award is granted to a female Chatham student for a hands-on practical experience in leadership development related to a program outside the academic track in the areas of government internships, community involvement, or like programs.

▶ Lecture and Film Series

  • The Barbara Stone Hollander '60 Lecture in Women's Leadership brings nationally recognized women to campus each year to work closely with students and give a public lecture. Learn more »

  • The Women's Institute Distinguished Speaker Series hosts leading women in their fields. Learn more about a recent Distinguished Speaker event »

  • The Just Films Series is a collaboration of the Women's Institute, Gwen's Girls, Women & Girls Foundation, Women's Law Project, and YWCA Greater Pittsburgh. Monthly screenings of documentaries about gender and social justice are followed by panel discussions featuring local experts and activists. Learn more »

▶ Student Clubs & Programs

  • The Women's Institute sponsors the Chatham Feminist Coalition. Learn more »

  • We co-sponsor many student-initiated lectures and events on campus every year. Tell us your idea!

  • We co-sponsor programs with campus partners such as the Office of Multicultural Affairs, Alumni Relations, and Career Development.

▶ T.G.I.F. (Talking About Gender Issues Fridays)

  • Weekly coffee and cookie hour open to all students, faculty, and staff; hosted by the Women's Institute to discuss gender issues in politics, current events, pop culture, and campus happenings.

▶ Gender and Sexual Violence Prevention

The Women's Institute convenes the Gender and Sexual Violence Prevention Committee of the Diversity and Inclusion Council. We are also involved in policies and programs promoting a diverse and welcoming campus climate for LGBTQIA+ students.

  • The Chatham Men's Project engages men and male-identified students and faculty in regular dialogue sessions about masculinity, culture, and the role men can play in creating change around violence. A collaborative project of the Women’s Institute and the Office of Student Affairs.

  • Green Dot is a national bystander program that aims to reduce rates of personal power-based violence. This is any violence where a person uses power to harm another; including sexual assault, dating and domestic violence, and stalking. This program empowers our community – students, faculty, and staff – to take small actions that can make a big difference in making our campus community safe. Green Dot has been proven to reduce rates and raise awareness of personal power-based violence. Chatham launched Green Dot in Spring 2018 by conducting faculty and staff overview talks and is moving into the launch phase with students in Fall 2018.

Chatham University faculty are experts in the scholarship and pedagogical practice of promoting women's leadership and gender equity. The Women's Institute provides continued professional development and consultation on issues of gender equity in the classroom and beyond.

Women's Institute Affiliated Faculty

More than 1/3rd of Chatham's faculty are affiliated with the Women's Institute. Learn more »

Visiting Scholars

Each year the Women's Institute hosts Visiting Scholars working on cutting-edge gender research. Learn more »


The Scholar-in-Residence works closely with students and gives public lectures. Learn more »

Research Support

▶ Research and Conference Funds

The Women's Institute has limited funding to support faculty and student research on topics related to women's leadership and gender equity. We also have a small pool of resources to support conference attendance to present findings. Contact the Women's Institute for details »

▶ Pittsburgh Gender Scholars Consortium

The Pittsburgh Gender Scholars Consortium (PGSC) is a collective of scholars from universities across Southwestern PA working on women, girls, gender, and sexuality. The consortium hosts writing retreats, brown bags, social events, and more. The Women's Institute provides administrative support. Learn more and get on the mailing list »

▶ Annual Gender Symposium

An annual gender symposium pulls together cutting edge scholars with community leaders to bridge theory and practice related to women, girls, gender, and sexuality. Learn more »

Public Scholarship

Our director regularly presents invited talks in the community about issues related to women, girls, women's leadership, and gender equity. Recent topics include:

  • "On Mother's Day: The Status of Women, Girls, and Gender Equity," Westminster Speaker Series.
  • "#MeToo and Lessons from the History of Anti-Gender Violence Activism," Labor and Employment Relations Association.
  • "Gender and Inequality in the Age of Neoliberalism," Humanities Center Marx@200 Series, Carnegie Mellon University.
  • "Repression and Resistance: The Legacy of Tera Hunter's 'To 'Joy My Freedom'," A Symposium on Black Feminist Histories, University of Virginia.
  • "Gender, Underwear, and the Body," Frick Art and Historical Center.
  • "Taking Stock of Women's Status in the Post-Election Era," American Association of University Women.
  • "Gender Equality in the 21st Century," Longwood at Oakmont Lecture Series.
  • "Gender and Those Killer Heels," Frick Art and Historical Center.
  • "Gender, Neoliberalism, and the Fight for the Public Good," Sarah Lawrence College.
  • "Gender and the History of Toys, 1950s-1970s," Heinz History Center, Pittsburgh.


Chatham University Rea House

Chatham University ranked in top 3 in nation for women's leadership



Chatham University Chapel and view to downtown Pittsburgh

Chatham recognized as one of the top "Admired Institutions for Women's Empowerment"



image Mayor's Gender Equity Commission

Mayor's Gender Equity Commission Announces Executive Committee Election Results



Upcoming Events

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Sep 25

+ Add to Calendar 09/25/2019 6:00PM 09/25/2019 8:30PM 15 Barbara Stone Hollander '60 Lecture in Women’s Leadership
Women Supporting Women in Politics: The Legacy of EMILY’s List
**Join us for the reception at 6:00** **Program begins at 7:00**Featuring Betsy Crone ‘67, one of the Founding Mothers of EMILY’s List. in conversation with: Ashleigh Deemer ‘05, Co-Founder, Women for the Future of Pittsburgh Marita Garrett, MAP ‘15, Mayor, Wilkinsburg, PA Betsy Crone graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science from Chatham and holds a master’s degree from Eagleton Institute of Politics, Rutgers University. Recently retired from her career as a fund-raiser, she has been a leader in expanding financial contributions to political and non-profit organizations. She has worked to advance the rights of women and to ensure that women political candidates have strong financial resources in their campaigns. She is particularly proud of her role as a “founding mother” of EMILY’s List, a fund-raising network working to elect pro-choice Democratic women to office. Betsy planned, designed and implemented fund-raising campaigns, including special events, membership drives, large donor development programs and strategic audits. She helped organizations expand individual donor activities and trained fund-raising professionals and volunteers. Politics was always a strong interest. During college summers she interned for Senator Joseph Tydings of Maryland and then began her professional career working for Matt Reese, a pioneer in political consulting. In Washington, DC, she raised funds for numerous organizations advancing legal and women’s rights, protecting women’s health, fighting for a cleaner and safer environment, and improving local social services. Her clients included National Women’s Political Caucus, ERAmerica, Women’s Legal Defense Fund/now National Partnership for Women and Families, Alliance for Justice, Ovarian Cancer National Alliance/now Ovarian Cancer Research Fund Alliance, League of Conservation Voters, and District of Columbia Bar Pro Bono Center. In the political arena, she worked with Democratic Party organizations in Washington and Democratic women political candidates across the country running for Senate, House of Representatives, Governor and other state and local offices. As a native of Baltimore, MD, she is pleased to have worked in Senator Barbara Mikulski’s campaigns. Betsy has been recognized by Chatham with the Cornerstone Award for Public Service, by EMILY’s List as “The Maker of the List” and received a Mentor Award from the Public Leadership Education Network, of which Chatham is a founding member. Ashleigh Deemer is a co-founder of the political action committee, Women for the Future Pittsburgh. Having run for officer herself, she knows what women are up against-- especially those striving to break the mold and create change. Women for the Future has raised and contributed nearly $60,000 to progressive women candidates since 2017. Most of Women for the Future’s endorsed candidates have gone on to win seats across the region, from school boards to the state Senate. In her professional life, Ashleigh spent 7 years staffing Pittsburgh City Council, working on important community projects and break-through legislation. She is most proud of the work she did to pass paid family leave legislation for all city employees, as well as legislation that created and funded Pittsburgh’s Gender Equity Commission. Since losing a 2017 grassroots run for City Council, Ashleigh now focuses on advocating for clean air, safe drinking water, and strategies to address the climate crisis. She currently serves as the Western Pennsylvania Director for a statewide environmental organization. Ashleigh is a 2005 graduate of Chatham College and recently completed her Master’s degree at Carnegie Mellon University’s Heinz College of Information Systems and Public Policy. She served as a 2019 Practitioner in Residence for the Pennsylvania Center for Women & Politics’ NEW Leadership Program, and enjoys staying engaged with the Chatham University community. She has been recognized as “Who’s Next in Politics” by The Incline and was awarded the “Spirit of the 19th Amendment” Award by Celebrate & Share.Marita Garrett was sworn in as Mayor of Wilkinsburg, after serving on Wilkinsburg Borough Council from 2014-2018. In her role as Mayor, she has re-established the Public Safety Forums, which is a monthly series that highlights updates in the Wilkinsburg Police Department and provides an opportunity for community members to express their safety concerns. While on Council, Mayor Garrett started “Wilkinsburg Community Conversations” an initiative to connect and empower residents to work together for neighborhood improvement. Since then, Marita founded CIVICALLY, an umbrella nonprofit that focuses on literacy programming, building healthy communities through free fresh produce distribution and health education, and the Free Store Wilkinsburg -where donations of new and slightly used material goods are available to residents and families. Ms. Garrett is the co-owner and managing partner of Admintrinsic, a for-profit company that provides a wide range of outreach and engagement services to non-profits, and mid-level corporations. She has successfully coordinated small business educational events, the 2016 Wilkinsburg Vacant Home Tour, Dollar Bank’s first ever 2017 Black History Month Celebration, as well as, the Program Facilitator for Coro Pittsburgh’s Women in Leadership Program and Launch Wilkinsburg Building on her mission of promoting women empowerment, Marita is the co-host of Shattered Glass Podcast, where stories of extraordinary women shattering the glass ceiling are highlighted. She was featured in Pittsburgh Magazine’s Women & Business, September 2018. Ms. Garrett received a Bachelor’s in Psychology from the University of Pittsburgh. She continued on to receive a Master’s in Psychology from Chatham University where she has been a panel speaker on several occasions for the Center for Women and Politics. She has been recognized for her diligence in civic and community engagement by numerous organizations and media outlets such as the, Pittsburgh Magazine’s 40 Under 40, City Paper, The Incline’s “Who’s Next in Politics”, NAACP – Greater Pittsburgh chapter, and named, “Young Democrat of the Year” from the Allegheny County Democratic Committee in 2017. Currently, she serves as Immediate Past Chair of the Congress of Neighboring Communities (CONNECT) as well as on the advisory boards for Emerge Pennsylvania, Allegheny Regional Asset District (RAD), National Leaders Council – Pittsburgh chapter, and Pittsburgh Cultural Trust’s Strategic Partnerships & Community Engagement Advisory Committee, among other organizations. In 2017, she was selected to attend the NextCity Vanguard conference held in Newcastle, Australia. Additionally, Ms. Garrett has served on panels at the Brookings Institution and United Nation’s World Urban Forum 9. Beckwith Auditorium, Buhl Hall Melody Harris

Barbara Stone Hollander '60 Lecture in Women’s Leadership
Women Supporting Women in Politics: The Legacy of EMILY’s List

**Join us for the reception at 6:00** **Program begins at 7:00**Featuring Betsy Crone ‘67, one of the Founding Mothers of EMILY’s List.


Just Films - Pushout

This screening is in conjunction with Gwen's Girls Black Girls Equity Alliance Summit. Just Films participants may attend the screening at n


Just Films - We Exist: Beyond the Binary

What if the world told you that you do not exist? For many gender non-confirming individuals this is the reality. The impact of that reality


See more women's leadership and gender equity events »


Women's Business Center logo

Center for Women's Entrepreneurship logo

Pennsylvania Center for Women and Politics logo

Women's & Gender Studies program

Chatham has been empowering women for almost 150 years. When the Pennsylvania Female College (now Chatham University) was founded in 1869, women were frequently blocked from higher education. Despite many gains in the years since, women still face persistent social, political, and economic inequalities.

Today, Chatham University maintains its leadership role and historic commitment to women's education and gender equity. In 2014, the Board of Trustees established the Chatham University Women's Institute, which launched in 2015 with the hiring of inaugural director, Dr. Jessie Ramey. Its purpose on campus is to ensure the thoughtful continuation of the resources Chatham has – and will continue to have – in enhancing education for women and gender equality in all aspects of campus curriculum and campus life.

The Women's Institute provides a range of activities and opportunities for students, faculty, alumnae, and the community and helps support and coordinate the Center for Women's Entrepreneurship, Women's Business Center, Pennsylvania Center for Women & Politics, and the Women's and Gender Studies Program.


Jessie Ramey, PhD

Jessie B. Ramey, Ph.D.

Director and Associate Professor, Women's and Gender Studies • (412) 365-1446

Jessie B. Ramey, Ph.D., is the Founding Director of the Women's Institute at Chatham University and Associate Professor of Women's and Gender Studies. She is a historian of gender, race, working families, and U.S. social policy. Dr. Ramey was named one of the top "people to know" by the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette; one of "5 People Making Pittsburgh a More Livable City for All," by NEXT Pittsburgh; and was invited twice to President Obama's White House to discuss education policy. Pittsburgh City Council appointed her as an inaugural member of the Gender Equity Commission, and she serves on the Mayor's Task Force on Women in Public Art. Read more.

Melody Harris

Melody Harris

Program Coordinator • (412) 365-1578

Melody Harris has a background in event planning and program support in the philanthropic and non-profit sector. At Grantmakers of Western Pennsylvania, she worked with the region's foundation community. A graduate of Edinboro University and Leadership Pittsburgh, Melody has taught as an adjunct in women's studies at Carlow University. She has also served on the board of the Pittsburgh chapter of GLSEN (Gay, Lesbian, Straight Education Network) and the junior board of the Andy Warhol Museum.

Affiliated Faculty

Contact us for more about how you can get involved with women's leadership and gender equity at Chatham University. Learn more »

Visiting Scholars

Specify a designation for areas supporting women's leadership and gender equity when you give to Chatham to support our students. Learn more and apply »

Scholar in Residence

The Scholar in Residence works closely with students in classes, small groups, and gives public lectures. This position is by invitation only. Learn more »


Chatham University Women's Institute
Woodland Road
Pittsburgh, PA 15232
(412) 365-1578

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