Women's History Conference


Associate Director, Graduate Program in Women’s History

E-mail Tara


Since 1998 the Graduate Program in Women’s History has sponsored the Women’s History Conference, exploring all aspects of gender, women’s history and activism. Our conferences take an intersectional interdisciplinary approach to the past in order to seek solutions to today’s most pressing issues.

From the Grassroots to the Statehouse: Women’s Activism and Political Power

A Virtual Conference
Saturday, March 27, 2021

When Liberian Nobel Peace Prize winner and anti-war activist Leymah Gbowee was asked “What one thing could be done to improve the status of women and girls around the world?” Her answer was “More women in politics.” Gbowee’s response suggests that politically active women will ask the right questions and support the best policies to help women and girls achieve their full potential.

Considering all that has happened in the past year, including a global pandemic, the US presidential election and a racial reckoning, this conference asks: How much of a difference does it make to have women in positions of power and focuses on the question, “what is the potential power of women’s leadership now and in the past?”

From leadership in activist organizations and movement building, to running in local elections and ultimately becoming leaders of nations, have women done what Gbowee fervently believed is possible? When women get into positions of political power, how much do they confront, change, and shake up the status quo? Or, do we find conversely that women are forced to modify more radical positions in order to serve a broader constituency? Does the phenomenon of forced compromise and de-radicalization occur only in electoral politics or can it be found in other places where women are in positions of power?

Participants will grapple with these questions from a range of different perspectives, including examining the extent to which participation in electoral politics has or has not benefited women.


  1. 10–11:15 a.m. — U.S. Politics
  2. 11:30 a.m. – 12:45 p.m. — Transnational Politics
  3. 1–2:15 p.m. — Keynote Address: New York State Senator Shelley Mayer, hosted by Dr. Mary Dillard, Director of the Graduate Program in Women’s History
  4. 3–4:15 p.m. — LGBTQIA+ Politics
  5. 4:30–5:45 p.m. — Race and Religion
  6. 5:45–7 p.m. — Culture, Media and Political Activism