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The Women’s Program in Action, 1979-1984: Contract Services

King County Archives Series 1905, Women’s Program contract services files, documents how King County helped fund services to women and girls in the county by contracting with community agencies.

A Range of Services

Services provided by the contracting agencies during the late 1970s and early 1980s included:

    • After-school programs
    • Arts programs
    • Battered women’s shelters
    • Counseling (career and personal)
    • Day care (children’s and adult)
    • Emergency and transitional housing
    • Employment education and training
    • Job readiness and placement
    • Legal advocacy and services
    • Senior centers
Programs were targeted to address the needs of specific groups:

    • Disabled women
    • Displaced homemakers
    • Rape victims
    • Rural women
    • Single and teen mothers
    • Teen prostitutes
    • Victims of domestic abuse

Types of records maintained by the Women’s Program coordinator include cost accounting records, program narratives, correspondence, and program materials from contracting organizations, some of which are shown below.

YWCA program flyer.
Series 1905, Box 5, Folder 32.

Displaced Homemakers

One group of women targeted at this time were “displaced homemakers.” These were women who, because of spousal death, disability or divorce, found themselves needing to work outside the home for the first time ever, or for the first time in many years. In 1979 the Women’s Program, with funding from the King-Snohomish Manpower Consortium, contracted with local community colleges to provide job training in nontraditional fields to groups of these women.



Local newspapers featured the training program during the summer of 1979. Top: Seattle Post-Intelligencer, July 1979. Series 1901, box 2, Folder 16; Center and bottom: South King County community newspapers, September 1979. Series 1901, Box 2, Folder 10.

Services to minority women

Some programs specifically targeted African-American, Chinese, Latina and Native American women. Southeast Asian refugee women, who had been arriving in larger numbers in Washington State since 1975, were a particular program focus.

Some of the contracting organizations serving minority women with Women’s Program funding (1980s). Series 1905, Box 4, Folder 1; Box 2, Folder 12; and Box 4, Folder 25.


Non-traditional job alternatives for women. Series 1905, Box 1, Folder 21.

Previous: Chronology

Series 1905, Box 5, Folder 20.


Series 1905, Box 5, Folder 19.

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