Women's Institute for Freedom of the Press

Women’s Institute for Freedom of the Press (WIFP) is an American nonprofit publishing organization that was founded in Washington,DC, in 1972. The organization works to increase communication between women and connect the public with forms of women-based media. WIFP operates as both a national and international feminist network.

Women’s Institute for Freedom of the Press (WIFP)
WIFP sqlogo.jpg

Basic informationEdit

WIFP was founded in 1972 by Dr Donna Allen in Washington, DC. She was an economist, historian, and civil rights activist.[1] The organization conducted seven conferences at the National Press Club in the 1970s and 1980s on "Planning a National and International Communications System for Women".[2] WIFP held two international satellite teleconferences from the 1975 UN World Conference of Women, in Copenhagen in 1980 ("Dateline Copenhagen: A Woman's View") and Nairobi in 1985 ("Dateline Nairobi - Woman's View").[2][3] These were each four hours if international interactions between women. During the 1980 conference, women gathered in six US cities and several female delegates from other countries called in from the Second U.N. World Conference in Copenhagen. Five years later in Nairobi, groups of women came together similarly to in Copenhagen but with the addition of more countries and their delegates.[4] As of 2017, WIFP became a member of Corporate Reform Coalition, which is a group of organizations and individuals who join together to address the influence of corporate America on the country's elections through shareholder protection.[5]


When the Institute was founded, it immediately launched the periodical Media Report to Women with the subhead "What Women Are Doing and Thinking About the Communications Media." It was edited the first fifteen years by Dr Donna Allen.[6] Media Report to Women was transferred in mid-1987 to Communication Research Association Inc., where it is still published.[7] WIFP currently publishes two annual print periodicals: Voices for Media Democracy and the Directory of Women’s Media.[8][9] The first version of the Directory was published in 1975, and had 154 women's periodicals. Out of these 154, there were 24 periodicals that were published outside of the United States. Fourteen years later, the Directory contained 702 publications with 300 published outside of the United States.[4]

Issued awardsEdit

Women and Media AwardEdit

WIFP began an annual award entitled "Women and Media Award" in 2013. It which is given to women who have made exceptional contributions toward expanding female voices in the media. The recipients of this award are:

Staff and AssociatesEdit



Dana Densmore first became a board member and officer of WIFP when the organization was founded in 1972. During her time at the organization, she served as senior editor and research director. In 1968 when the women's liberation bloomed, Densmore had been a systems programmer at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. As an outcome, she worked with Roxanne Dunbar to found the feminist organization Cell 16. The two women went on to found the journal No More Fun and Games as the organization's periodical in the same year. She is also the founder, co-director, and editor for Green Lion Press. She received her B.A. in 1965 from St. John's College in Annapolis and her M.A. in 1993 from St. John's College in Santa Fe.[10]


Martha Leslie Allen has been the Institute's Director since 1985.[11] She is an activist for media democracy and the promotion of women's involvement in the media. 1973-1975 she founded and chaired Women's Media Project in Memphis, TN. Additionally, she was an organizer of the 1973 Women's Leadership Conference in Memphis. From 1978 to 1985, she served as the associate director of WIFP before taking the director position. Martha earned her Ph.D. in 1988 from Howard University in Washington, DC with a dissertation on the history of women's media. She is Donna Allen's youngest daughter.

Associate DirectorEdit

Elana Anderson, with a Ph.D. from Howard University, is on the board of directors of WIFP as well as serving as the Associate Director since 2011. Dr. Anderson is a native Washingtonian, instructor, lecturer, parent, and performance and fiber artist. She is a member of the American Guild for Musical Artists (AGMA) and the National Council for Negro Women. Dr. Anderson serves as an Associate Artistic Team Member of Chicago-based Deeply Rooted Productions.


In 1977, WIFP formed the Associate Network composed of "women who worked for media or were interested in how the media covered women and their concerns."[4] This network grew to over 800 members; some of the notable associates are listed below.


  1. ^ "American National Biography Online: Allen, Donna". Anb.org. Retrieved 2017-05-25.
  2. ^ a b "Congratulations! Women's Institute for Freedom of the Press' 45th Anniversary « GLOBAL WOMAN". Globalwomanpeacefoundation.org. 2014-06-20. Retrieved 2017-05-25.
  3. ^ McGregor, Jena (2016-06-09). "How the 'glass ceiling' became such a powerful — and problematic — metaphor". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2017-05-25.
  4. ^ a b c Burt, Elizabeth V., ed. Women's Press Organizations: 1881-1999. Westport, Conn.: Greenwood, 2000. Print.
  5. ^ "Who We Are", Corporate Reform Coalition.
  6. ^ Allen, Donna (January 1976). "What Women Are Doing and Thinking About the Communications Media". Media Report to Women. 4: 12.
  7. ^ Gibbons, Sheila (Spring 2017). "Covering All the Issues Concerning Women and Media". Media Report to Women. 45: 24.
  8. ^ "Women's Institute for Freedom of the Press". Washington Peace Center. Retrieved 2017-05-25.
  9. ^ "Dr. Donna Allen". Web.asc.upenn.edu. Retrieved 2017-05-25.
  10. ^ Love, Barbara (2006). Feminists Who Changed America 1963–1975. Urbana and Chicago: University of Illinois Press. ISBN 978-0-252-03189-2.
  11. ^ Oates, Sarah (2014-08-06). "Women Managers and the F-word (Feminism) in Journalism - American Journalism Review". Ajr.org. Retrieved 2017-05-25.

External linksEdit