Biography and History

Dr. Margaret Snyder was actively involved in women's economic and development issues in various regions of the world for more than three decades. She served as advisor to the Kenya and East African Women's Seminars, Regional Advisor of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, co-founded the African Training and Research Center for Women, and was the Founding Director of the United Nations Development Fund for Women.

Margaret Snyder, known as Peg to family and friends, was born in 1929 in Syracuse, New York. In 1950 she received a Bachelor of Arts in Social Science from the College of New Rochelle and in 1952 earned a Master of Arts degree in Sociology from The Catholic University of America. In 1953 at the age of 24, Snyder became the youngest Dean of Women in the United States. She served as dean at LeMoyne College for eight years. In 1961, she took a one year sabbatical to travel to Africa, where she worked with the Women's Africa Committee. Snyder's initial desire was to make a contribution to educational needs, promote an international student program, and stimulate her students' interest in international affairs. Due to the limited opportunities for African girls at the time, she soon began working to develop the Kenya African Women's Association, serving as an advisor and helping with preparations for the recently founded group. Their goal was "to raise the standard of Kenya women and girls through educational, social and cultural common interests."

At the end of Snyder's first year in Kenya, she chose to relinquish her deanship at LeMoyne and remained in Africa through 1964. As an adviser on organization and educational projects for the Women's African Commission in Tanganyika, she continued to work with groups in Kenya and Tanganyika, and was a member of the first Kenya and East African Women's Seminars. From 1965-1970 she was the Assistant Director, Programme of Eastern African Studies, the Maxwell School, Syracuse University and consultant to the State University of New York.

After earning a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in 1971, Dr. Snyder accepted her first position with the United Nations as Consultant for the Economic Commission for Africa Regional Programme on Advancement of Women, which she held from 1971-1978. In this position, Snyder went on several missions throughout Africa to assess conditions of women in different countries. During this period she also co-founded the African Training and Research Centre for Women (ATRCW), which laid the foundation for women's programs ( including content, research) and training, across the world.

In 1978 Dr. Snyder broadened her work and became the Founding Director of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), formerly known as the Voluntary Fund for the United Nations Decade for Women. This organization worked not just with women in Africa, but Asia, the Pacific, Latin America, and the Caribbean, creating new programs to help increase the status and education of rural women throughout the world. UNIFEM also worked with other organizations such as Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA), Women's World Banking, and the Centre for Social Development and Humanitarian Affairs (CSDHA).

From 1992-1993, Dr. Snyder was a Visiting Fellow at the Centre of International Studies, the Woodrow Wilson School, at Princeton University. She was granted a Fulbright Scholar award for the 1994-1995 academic year to go to Uganda.

Source: From the finding aid for MC096

  • Margaret Snyder Papers. 1950-2012 (inclusive), 1970-1990 (bulk).

    Call Number: MC096

    Dr. Margaret Snyder was actively involved in women's economic and development issues in various regions of the world for more than three decades. She served as advisor to Kenya and East African Women's Seminars, Regional Advisor of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Vice President of the Sirleaf Market Women's Fund, co-founded the African Training and Research Center for Women, and was the Founding Director of the United Nations Development Fund for Women. The papers document Dr. Snyder's career, the organizations she worked for, and the projects conducted to help women across the globe.

  • Margaret Snyder Papers. 1950-2012 (inclusive), 1970-1990 (bulk).

    Call Number: MC096

    Dr. Margaret Snyder was actively involved in women's economic and development issues in various regions of the world for more than three decades. She served as advisor to Kenya and East African Women's Seminars, Regional Advisor of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Vice President of the Sirleaf Market Women's Fund, co-founded the African Training and Research Center for Women, and was the Founding Director of the United Nations Development Fund for Women. The papers document Dr. Snyder's career, the organizations she worked for, and the projects conducted to help women across the globe.