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10 courageous women in AFSC’s history


“I came upon a sort of people who held that women have no souls, adding in a light manner, ‘no more than a goose.’ But I reproved them, and told them that was not right; for Mary said, ‘my soul doth magnify the Lord.”  Journal of George Fox (1646)

Quakers’ views on the rights of women have, since the 17th century, been regarded as progressive. Quakers have long promoted education for girls as well as boys, including in the field of medicine, and encouraged women to adopt a more public persona. When AFSC was established in 1917, women were integral to the formation and mission of this service organization. The first meeting of Friends to discuss the creation of a “national headquarters” and the development of meaningful service work for young Friends included, among its 12 contributors, three women. The minutes of that first gathering stated that “girls as well as boys should be united for service.” It is with that goal in mind that the AFSC has always operated.

This International Women's Day, we pay tribute to and offer a brief picture of some of the AFSC staff and advisors whose courage, strength, and wisdom helped foster peace and social justice throughout the world.

A message of good deeds
Rebecca Janey Timbres Clark, 1896-1999When Rebecca Timbres arrived in Warsaw in the winter of 1921...
Lifting the curtain of race
Crystal Bird Fauset, 1894-1965Born in Princess Anne, Maryland, Crystal Bird Fauset spent most of...
Telling the AFSC story of change
Mary Hoxie Jones, 1905-2003Born in 1905 in the suburbs of Philadelphia, Mary Hoxie Jones was the...
Evacuating children from war
Alice Resch Synnestvedt, 1908-2007 and Mary Elmes, 1908-2002Both born in 1908, Alice Resch and...
Teaching toward a world without war
Elizabeth Gray Vining, 1902–1999A Philadelphia native and member of Germantown Monthly Meeting,...
Supporting school desegregation in Mississippi
Constance Curry, 1933-Constance (Connie) Curry grew up in Greensboro, N.C., and studied political...
A counter narrative from inside Vietnam
Marjorie Nelson, 1941-An Earlham College graduate born in Indiana to Quaker parents, Marjorie...
Creating an international women’s movement
Saralee Hamilton, 1945-2006Raised by her mother in Glasgow, Pa., a coal-mining and farming region,...
Dekha Ibrahim Abdi died from injuries sustained in a car accident.
Preventing civil war at home, transforming conflict worldwide
Dekha Ibrahim Abdi, 1964-2011Dekha Ibrahim Abdi was born in 1964, in Wajir, Kenya, near the Somalia...