Ruth Wynn Woodward (RWW) Chair

A.J. Withers is the Ruth Wynn Woodward Junior Chair of the Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies Department (2022-2024) and an activist and scholar working towards decolonial social justice.

RWW Chair Background

In 1984, with a grant from Secretary of State and matching funds from private donations, an endowed chairship in Women's Studies was established. Private donors included Mrs. Mary Twigg White and Mrs. Elizabeth Russ, daughters of Ruth Wynn Woodward; the Vancouver Foundation; and many other individuals and groups.  The Canadian government, through the Office of the Secretary of State, established five regional chairs across the country in women's studies with an endowment fund at Mt. St Vincent University, Laval University, Ottawa-Carleton Universities (joint chair), University of Manitoba-Winnipeg (joint chair) and Simon Fraser University.

Who was Ruth Wynn Woodward?

The chairship was named for Ruth Wynn Woodward, one of British Columbia's outstanding women. Through a lifetime of public service and personal accomplishment, she demonstrated the importance of the work of women to Canadian society. As well as raising three children, she was director and vice-president of Woodwards' Stores Ltd., owner/operator of Woodwynn Farm, a founding director of the Junior League of Vancouver, and president of the Women's Auxiliary of Vancouver General Hospital. Ruth Wynn Woodward was also BC’s Chatelaine from 1941-1946, her husband William Culham Woodward was BC’s Lieutenant Governor.

Ruth Wynn Woodward Chair Endowment Fund

Faculty support and outreach

Donate to this fund

Past Occupants of the RWW Chair

  • Dr.  Guldana Salimjan, 2019 - 2022 (Jr. Chair)
  • Dr. Lucas Crawford, Poet and Queer Humanities Scholar, 2015 - 2017 (Jr. Chair)
  • Dr. Tiffany Muller Myrdahl, feminist urban geographer, 2012 - 2015 (Jr. Chair)
  • Dr. Dana Mohammed Olwan, critical race theory and Muslim feminst scholar and activist, 2011 - 2012 (Jr. Chair)
  • Dr. Thea Cacchioni, sociologist and activist, 2010 - 2011 (Jr. Chair)
  • Dana Claxton, interdisciplinary artist, 2009 - 2010
  • Dr. Afua Cooper, historian, writer, 2008 - 2009
  • Elizabeth Philipose, political scientist, 2005 - 2006
  • Louise Chappell, political scientist & senior lecturer, Spring 2005
  • Dr. Sue Wilkinson, psychologist, 2002 - 2004
  • Dionne Brand, poet, novelist and essayist, 2000 - 2002
  • Dr. Sunera Thobani, sociologist and activist, 1996 - 2000
  • Dr. Vanaja Dhruvarajan, sociologist, 1994 - 1995
  • Dr. Hilda Ching, scientist, 1990 - 1991
  • Dr. Marjorie Griffin Cohen, economist, 1989 - 1990
  • Daphne Marlatt, writer and literary critic, 1988 - 1989
  • Rosemary Brown, politician, 1987
  • Dr. Susan Penfold, psychiatrist, 1985 - 1986

For several years, the department offered RWW post-doctoral fellowships. Other programs funded by the RWW endowment include a traveling speaker series; local, national and international conferences; a bi-annual women's studies retreat for instructors from colleges and universities in BC and the Yukon; and sponsorship and co-sponsorship of invited speakers on campus and in the community.

RWW Invited Speakers have included Nicole Brossard, bell hooks, Evelyn Fox Keller, Joy Kogawa, Teresa de Laurentis, Maria Mies, Himani Bannerji, Madhu Kishwar, and Marilyn Waring, among others.

The Ruth Wynn Woodward Chair enables us to make short-term appointments in areas where we lack faculty and to give courses in addition to those we are required to offer.  As well, it provides the resources to host conferences and to invite high-profile speakers to address issues of current interest and concern. Below is a listing of some of the activities we have undertaken.

Past Conferences sponsored by the Ruth Wynn Woodward Endowed Chair: