The Association for Women in Communications is the one organization that recognizes the complex relationships that exist across communications disciplines. Modern communicators must demonstrate competence in varied disciplines and be able to network and make career moves across the broad spectrum of communications fields. Disciplines represented within the association include print and broadcast journalism, television and radio production, film, advertising, public relations, marketing, graphic design, multi-media design, and photography. The list is continually growing as the profession expands into the newer media.
The Association for Women in Communications has its roots in a college honorary society – Theta Sigma Phi. “Theta Sig” was born on the campus of the University of Washington in Seattle on April 8, 1909. Founded by seven students as The National Honorary Fraternity of Women in Journalism, its membership was composed of journalism majors with outstanding grades. The organization gradually expanded to other college campuses and to other professionals, including reporters, authors, publicists, advertising and radio copywriters, and journalism teachers.
Theta Sig first came to San Antonio during the mid-1930s as an alumnae chapter, but was unable to thrive. In September of 1947, the San Antonio Alumnae Chapter started “promoting” itself – with Sally Fox doing most of the work. The first luncheon meeting was held in October, with Doris Killingsworth as President and Otillie Immel Parrish as Secretary of the interim chapter. On March 1, 1948, the San Antonio Alumnae Chapter, with 13 founding members, was formally recognized by the national group.
Theta Sigma Phi changed its name to Women in Communications, Inc., in 1972, and opened its rolls to men. In 1988, the National Headquarters was relocated from Austin to the Washington, D.C., area. It became the Association for Women in Communications in 1996.
The founding principles of Theta Sigma Phi serve as touchstones for AWC today: to promote the advancement of women in all fields of communications, to work for First Amendment rights and responsibilities of communicators, to recognize distinguished achievements, and to promote high professional standards throughout the communications field.
Nationally, the group represents 3,000 members in the fields of contemporary communications, including print and broadcast journalism, marketing/sales, public relations, advertising, audiovisual production, communications education and research, graphic arts, photojournalism, telecommunications and multimedia, computer/Internet, technical writing/communications, business communications, fund development, publishing and communications law. The list continues to grow as the profession expands into new media.