University of Rochester

EVENT: Forum Examines Women's Progress over the Last Century

October 5, 2005

Suffragist Susan B. Anthony did not live to see the result of her fight for women's right to vote; she died 14 years before the 19th Amendment to the Constitution allowed women to cast their ballots in 1920. How would Anthony evaluate women's achievements since then?

A panel of nationally known women leaders will consider "What Would Susan Say? Wise Women Reflect on Their Lives and Women's Progress" during a forum sponsored by the Susan B. Anthony Center for Women's Leadership at the University of Rochester. The forum is scheduled during Meliora Weekend, the University's annual tradition of celebrating homecoming, alumni reunions, and parents' weekend together.

"Legal rights have given women more opportunities and the chance to establish equality, but they are not equality itself," notes Nora Bredes, director of the Anthony Center. "There are still social, legal, and educational issues where women lag in full equality. Why do women hold only 15 percent of the seats in Congress, and why does the pay gap between men and women widen once women have children?"

Bredes will moderate the forum at 1:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 21, in the Interfaith Chapel on the University's River Campus. The program is free and open to the public. The panelists are leaders in higher education, the arts, government, and public policy:

  • Sheila Blumstein, Albert D. Mean Professor of Cognitive and Linguistic Sciences, Brown University. Blumstein joined Brown in 1970 as an assistant professor of linguistics and served as department chair and dean of Brown College before being tapped as Interim Provost and Interim President. She received her bachelor's degree in linguistics from the University of Rochester in 1965 and is a member of the University's Board of Trustees.
  • Sara Paretsky, social activist and author of bestselling detective novels. Paretsky, who has an MBA in finance and a doctorate in history, moved to Chicago in the late 1960s to do community work. She created the female detective V. I. Warshawski and co-founded Sisters in Crime to help other women writers. Paretsky was named a "Woman of the Year" by Ms. Magazine in 1988 and received the Mark Twain Award for contributions to Midwestern Literature in 1996.
  • U.S. Rep. Louise Slaughter. Congresswoman Slaughter is serving her tenth term in Congress. She is the first woman to be the ranking member on the House Committee on Rules. She serves on the Democratic Steering and Policy Committee and was named to the Select Committee on Homeland Security in 2003. Slaughter was co-chair of the Congressional Caucus for Women's Issues during the 108th Congress and co-authored the Violence Against Women Act in 1994.
  • Patricia Williams, James L. Dohr Professor of Law, Columbia University. The recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship, popularly known as "the genius award," Williams has served on the advisory council for the Medgar Evers Center for Social Justice of the City University of New York. Her highly regarded first book, The Alchemy of Race and Rights: A Diary of a Law Professor, is an autobiographical work illuminating some of America's most complex problems.

    Each of the panelists also will be honored with the Susan B. Anthony Legacy Award for leadership in her field during a luncheon at noon in the River Room of the Interfaith Chapel. Both the discussion and luncheon are open to the public.

    The event is part of the center's annual Stanton/Anthony Conversations, a series of forums on women's rights issues named for suffragists Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. The 2005 program kicks off a yearlong tribute to Anthony's work and legacy that will culminate with next year's Conversations. March 13, 2006, will mark the 100th anniversary of Anthony's death.

    Though the Conversations discussion is free, registration is required. The luncheon cost is $35. For information on registration, reservations, and parking, contact the center at (585) 275-8799. Information about the center can be found online at