Dorothy R. Steffens, 78, executive director in the 1970s of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, died of a neurological ailment June 17 at her home in Silver Spring.

Mrs. Steffens, a resident of the Washington area off and on since the early 1940s, was a former educator and economist. She was executive director of the Fund for Open Information and Accountability in the late 1970s and retired in 1984 as conference director of Haverford College.

Mrs. Steffens was a graduate of the City College of New York in her native New York. She received a master's degree in education at Temple University, where she also was an assistant professor of education.

She began her career in Washington as an economist with the National War Labor Board. She moved to Philadelphia in the mid-1940s to do organizing work there for the United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America.

Mrs. Steffens, an active member of the Religious Society of Friends, or Quakers, returned to Washington in the late 1950s to be program director for the Friends Committee on National Education.

She also was training director in Washington for the National Council of Negro Women and staff director in 1966 of the White House Conference on Children and Youth.

She accompanied her husband to a teaching assignment in Nigeria in the late 1960s and was an educational consultant to the Peace Corps.

She also was executive secretary of the Nigerian Women's Committee and a delegate to the United Nations African Women's Seminar in Ghana.

Mrs. Steffens lectured on women's and development issues at international conferences and wrote for magazines and professional journals. As executive director of the peace organization, which had campaigned for an end to the Vietnam conflict, she attended the 1975 signing of the peace accord between Vietnam and the United States.

Survivors include her husband, Jerome Steffens of Silver Spring; two daughters, Heidi Steffens of Silver Spring and Nina Steffens of Ketchum, Idaho; and three grandchildren.