Helen Kreider Henderson

Areas of Achievement: 
Higher Education

Honored By

Honored by: Friends & Colleagues
Date submitted: October 24, 2006
Gift: Leaf Tile, Medium

Helen Henderson was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and graduated from Syracuse University with a major in anthropology. In 1958, she went to the University of California at Berkeley where she obtained a master's degree in anthropology. There, she met and married Richard Henderson, also an anthropologist, and together they worked in Onitsha, Nigeria for approximately two years. Helen is the mother of two sons, Kevin Henderson and Michael Henderson, who were born 5 months before she completed her Ph.D. dissertation, "Ritual Roles of Women in Onitsha Ibo Society" in June 1969, a work her male dissertation advisor at the time accurately labeled a 'feminist study.'

Helen taught anthropology at Wellesley College beginning in 1968, but left the east in 1972 to move to Tucson, Arizona where she worked as an applied anthropologist in the Office of Arid Lands Studies at the University of Arizona, and later joined the Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology (BARA) there, focusing on women's work in Africa. Countries where she conducted research include Egypt, Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad, Kenya, Mauritania, and Botswana. Her field experience concentrated on food security, and she conducted various kinds of socioeconomic surveys.

At BARA, Helen obtained a number of grants from the Agency for International Development (USAID), which enabled graduate students and faculty from eleven universities in the American West to conduct research on women's work around the globe. Helen regularly taught a "Women in International Development" course in the UA Anthropology Department, focusing on problems related to women's work. She is the author/editor of a book entitled "Gender and Agricultural Development."