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PAULA BACHMAN-WILLIAMS

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Birth Date: 1949

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Date submitted: October 24, 2006
Gift: Brick Paver - small
Location on plaza map: B4
Areas of Achievement: Activism, Agriculture, Education
 
Paula Bachman-Williams was born July 14, 1949 and raised on a diary farm in Ulysses, Pennsylvania, where she worked the farm with her father. She was attracted to veterinary medicine but at the time it was not an option for women as a career. Vet schools openly (and legally) discriminated against women in admissions. Instead, Paula became a biology teacher. Even biology was not as open to women students then as it is now.

In the late 1960s there were few women science majors in college, not least because faculty members discriminated against women. Later, Paula experienced discrimination and unequal treatment from the school administration where she taught. Nevertheless, she stayed with teaching and with science. She has been teaching science since 1971.

Paula’s feminist activism formally began with her involvement in the National Organization for Women (NOW). Already as a mother of young children, she started a NOW chapter in Douglas, Arizona in 1981 and continued in Tucson NOW since 1984. She has held many different leadership positions in the chapter. She has organized and participated in marches and protests on women’s issues, primarily reproductive rights.

Paula is particularly active in the struggle for a woman’s right to control her reproductive life. She considers choice absolutely critical if women are to become equal partners in society. She firmly believes that society will be more just only when women and men share leadership equally. She tries to be a significant role model to the girls she teaches and the women who hear her speak and watch her activism, so that they can see, by her example, how their lives can be different as equal partners in society.