Women in Education Award


Women in Education Award
Honoring female unionists

The CFT established its Women in Education Award in 1981 to honor AFT/CFT locals and individual members for promoting the rights of women and issues of gender equity within an educational workplace.

Today, the Women in Education Award honors female members who exemplify the essence of the integral and crucial roles that women play in all aspects of our union’s culture, the union movement in general, and specifically the union movement within an educational setting. The award is presented biennially at the CFT Convention.

All locals are invited to submit nominations for the Women in Education Award on behalf of one or more of their deserving female unionists who have demonstrated leadership and made significant contributions in any or all of the following areas:

  • serving and empowering students in ways that build up the next generation of workers and unionists;
  • participating in campus, professional, community, and political activities that strengthen local union solidarity, capacity, and power;
  • engaging in efforts to improve societal understanding of the purpose and need for unions locally, statewide, or nationally.


2019  Arlene Inouye United Teachers Los Angeles, Local 1021
2018  Sandra Larsen Petaluma Federation of Teachers, Local 1881
2017  Melinda Dart Jefferson Elementary Federation of Teachers, Local 3267
2016  Gemma Abels and Theresa Sage Morgan Hill Federation of Teachers, Local 2022
2015  Alisa Messer San Francisco Community College Federation of Teachers, Local 2121
2012  Velma J. Butler AFT College Staff Guild-Los Angeles, Local 1521

Article CFT Convention

Women in Education Award: Sandra Larsen, Petaluma Federation

A woman’s place is in her union, Morgan Hill Federation of Teachers President Gemma Abels told attendees at the CFT Convention before introducing this year’s winner of the Women in Education Award, Sandra Larsen, president of the Petaluma Federation of Teachers, who led a successful strike last spring, the first in the union’s history.