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

deadline for submissions: 
December 9, 2019
full name / name of organization: 
Graduate Program in Women's History at Sarah Lawrence College
contact email: 


22nd Annual Women's History Conference at Sarah Lawrence College

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

Friday and Saturday, March 27-28, 2020

December 9, 2019

Free and Open to the Public

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. In anticipation of another U.S. Presidential election in 2020, 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 to running in local elections to ultimately attempting to become 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?

We hope that participants at this conference 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.

We welcome proposals that go beyond the category of “women” to include the powerful activism of LGBTQ populations, disability rights activists, and immigration activists, to name just a few of the perspectives that we are hoping to engage with through this conference. Panels with an international focus and /or grassroots activism are particularly encouraged.

Panels may include but are not limited to:

Organizing from the Ground Up: Grassroots Political Action

Women's Access to Power and Decision Making in African Countries

Violence and Intimidation against Women in Politics

Politics and the US Civil Rights Movement

Media Narratives of Women in Politics

Trans Focused Political Action

LGBT Communities and Access to Political Power

Women’s Participation in Political Campaigns from Global to Local

Race, Gender and the 19th Amendment

Suffrage Campaigns

Uses of Gender in Political Campaigns

Women Heads of State in Asia

Women's Education and Political Participation

Political Empowerment: Women and Public Policy

Disability Representation in Politics

Gender and the Politics of the Middle East

The Complicated Legacy of Aung San Suu Kyi

Women's Contributions to Caribbean and Latin American politics

Proposals should be no more than two pages. Please include a description of each presentation and a one-page C.V. for each presenter. Proposals for panels are especially welcome but we will also consider individual papers. Creative work is not only welcomed, but encouraged. Email submissions are preferred.

Deadline: December 9, 2019

Send proposals to:

Tara James