The Feminist Research Group started as a small group of psychology graduate students who felt it was necessary for feminist students to encourage feminist knowledge and who viewed a graduate student conference as a great way to do so. These students contacted Dr. Charlene Senn – a faculty member in the psychology department – who helped them with the initiative. Dr. Senn remained the faculty advisor until 2008, at which point Drs. Betty Barrett and Amy Fitzgerald accepted that role.
For the first 10 years of its existence (1999-2009), FRG was a group of mainly graduate students (with a few undergraduates) who organized a graduate student conference which occurred every May on the University of Windsor campus – The FRG Conference. The conference provided an opportunity for graduate students and exceptional undergraduate students to present their feminist research.
The conference was multidisciplinary with participants and attendees from all types of disciplines – Psychology, History, English, Communication Studies, Dramatic Arts, Social Work, Women’s Studies, Music, Biology, and more.
Initially the conference began small as a one day affair and remained so for its first four years. It then expanded to two days and finally to three days, with one day of workshops and two days of presentations. The three-day conference had two invited keynote speakers – one on each day. These special guests were usually women who had conducted outstanding work for women, either directly in the community or through their academic research. Additionally, the second keynote speaker was always an alumna of the FRG conference. On the Friday night of the conference weekend, FRG always hosted an evening social event with food for attendees.
In 2009, after our tenth conference, the group, decided to change direction while adhering to the original goal of encouraging feminist knowledge. Since 2009, FRG has become a research group which encourages feminist knowledge by holding various events such as inviting feminist speakers to address the wider community, holding books clubs around feminist books, as well as providing opportunities for feminist researchers on campus to share, discuss, and find support. FRG continues its traditions to this day.