Margaret C. Snyder
|Dr Margaret C. Snyder|
|Born||1929 (age 83–84)
Syracuse, New York
|Alma mater||College of New Rochelle
Catholic University of America
University of Dar es Salaam
Margaret C. "Peg" Snyder (born 1929) is an American social scientist with a special interest in women and economic development, particularly in Africa. She was the founding director of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM).
Snyder was born in Syracuse, New York, in 1929. As a young woman, she attended the College of New Rochelle, receiving a bachelor's degree in 1950, and the Catholic University of America, where she received a master's degree in sociology in 1952. Her M.S. thesis at Catholic University was a study of potential effects of the proposal for an Equal Rights Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. In 1953 she became dean of women for Le Moyne College in Syracuse, a position she held for eight years.
A sabbatical-year trip to Africa in 1961 changed the course of her career. Initially she expected to work on developing an international student program. After seeing the limited opportunities available to girls in Africa, she shifted her focus toward efforts to improve the status of women and girls and began working to develop the Kenya African Women's Association, which aimed to improve the status of women and girls in Kenya "through educational, social and cultural common interests." When her sabbatical year was over, she decided to give up her position at Le Moyne in order to stay on in Africa, where she served as an adviser to the Women's African Commission in Tanganyika, continued her work with various groups in Kenya and Tanganyika, and was a member of the first Kenya and East African Women's Seminars. In 1965 she became assistant director for the Programme of Eastern African Studies of Syracuse University's Maxwell School. She held that position until 1970, also working as a consultant to the State University of New York.
In 1971 she received a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Dar es Salaam in Tanzania. That same year she joined the United Nations (UN) staff as consultant for the Economic Commission for Africa Regional Programme on Advancement of Women. In that position, she participated in several missions that evaluated the conditions of women in different African countries. She also served as head of the Commission's Voluntary Agencies Bureau and was a co-founder of the African Training and Research Centre for Women, which was to become a model for similar women's programs worldwide. In 1978 she became the first director of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM). In that position she expanded the scope of her activities beyond Africa to include Asia, the Pacific, Latin America, and the Caribbean. Under her leadership, UNIFEM started new programs aimed at improving rural women's education and status throughout the world. UNIFEM worked in cooperation with organizations such as the Swedish International Development Agency, Women's World Banking, and the Centre for Social Development and Humanitarian Affairs.
Snyder retired from UNIFEM in 1989. Following her retirement, she continued to serve as senior advisor to the UN and United Nations Development Programme. She was a visiting fellow at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs in 1992-93 and received a Fulbright award to allow her to spend the 1994-95 academic year in Uganda. She is a member of the boards of directors for several universities and nongovernmental organizations.
Margaret Snyder is the author or co-author of several books, including:
- Margaret C. Snyder and Mary Tadesse. African women and development: A history. Witwatersrand University Press, 1995. ISBN 9781856492997.
- Margaret C. Snyder. Transforming Development: Women, poverty and politics. London: Intermediate Technology Publ., 1995. ISBN 9781853393020.
- Margaret C. Snyder. Women in African Economies: From Burning Sun to Boardroom. Fountain Publishers, 2000. ISBN 9789970021871.
- "Description, Margaret Snyder Papers, 1950-2005". Princeton University Library. Retrieved March 16, 2013.
- "A study of the proposed "Equal rights amendment" to the United States Constitution: with particular emphasis on its effects upon the status of women and the position of the family in America". WorldCat.org.
- "Margaret C. Snyder Biography". United Nations Intellectual History Project. Retrieved March 16, 2013.