Yates, Barbara A. (1933-2017) | University of Illinois Archives
Barbara A. Yates (1933-2017) was a Professor of Education Policy at the University of Illinois. Professor Yates served as the Associate Director of International Programs and Studies before becoming the founding Director of the Women and Gender in Global Perspectives Program (formerly Women in International Development) in 1980.
Barbara Ann Yates was born on October 14, 1933, in Troy, New York, to John Gardinier Yates and Marion Haines Yates. Professor Yates received her Bachelor of Arts (1955) and Master of Arts (1956) in Economics from the University of California, Berkeley. After completing her MA, she joined the U.S. Foreign Service (1957-1962) and worked in Cambodia, Indonesia, and the Belgian Congo. She earned her pilot's license while in Cambodia. Yates left the Foreign Service in 1962 after becoming disillusioned about its mission and lack of advancement opportunities for women. Upon returning to the U.S., Yates completed a Ph.D. in Comparative Education at Columbia University in 1967. She joined the faculty as an Assistant Professor of Education Policy at the University of Illinois in 1966. Yates was promoted to Associate Professor of Education in 1969 and Professor of Education Policy in 1982.
Professor Yates's research interests included education equality and career opportunities for women in Indonesia, the Caribbean, and the Congo as well as the history of mission education in the Congo (19th and early 20th century). Notably, Professor Yates's research interests informed her campus service and activism. In 1971, she joined a handful of other women professors on campus and founded the University Women's Caucus, which advocated for pay equity, fair recruitment practices, daycare facilities, and additional leadership opportunities for women on campus. In 1976, Yates joined other women faculty members, including Professor Berenice Carroll, and wrote the proposal that led to the establishment of the Office of Women's Studies in 1978. Yates was also a key leader in the organization and funding of the Women in International Development (WID) Program, which promoted research as well as curriculum and program development related to women in developing countries. She served as the founding director from 1980 to 1985.
Professor Yates retired from the University of Illinois in 1988. Upon retirement, she created the Barbara A. Yates International Research Award for the Women and Gender in Global Perspectives Program to support graduate student research. After retiring, Yates enjoyed competitive walking and bridge.
Barbara A. Yates died on August 11, 2017, in San Diego, California.