WMU News

Pivotal event in women's rights movement re-enacted

March 9, 2004

KALAMAZOO--Activities for Women's History Month at Western Michigan University begin with faculty members from the Center for Women's Studies re-enacting events surrounding a pivotal moment in the women's rights movement.

"Tempest in a Teapot: Planning the Seneca Falls Convention," will be staged in the Lee Honors College Lounge at 5 p.m. Thursday, March 11. The performance is free and open to the public. It re-enacts the events leading up to the July 1848 convention, which launched the woman suffrage movement in the United States.

Other events planned for Women's History Month are screenings of the film "Iron-Jawed Angel," chronicling the life of Alice Paul, at 7 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, March 16-17, in Room G-0111 of Moore Hall, and the Women's Studies Symposium Friday, March 26, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., in Room 3041 of Moore Hall. The symposium will feature papers presented by several joint-appointed faculty members and women's studies instructors. All events are free, open to the public and sponsored by the Center for Women's Studies.

Feminists Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Lucretia Mott were the principal organizers of the Seneca Falls Convention in Seneca Falls, N.Y. At the convention, it was Stanton who read the Declaration of Sentiments, which calls for equal rights for women. The document is modeled on the Declaration of Independence, modified to address the inequity of the treatment of women in 19th century America. While the Declaration of Independence reads, "...all men are created equal," the Declaration of Sentiments reads, "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal."

More than 70 years after the Seneca Falls Convention, women finally gained the right to vote. The 19th Amendment to the Constitution was ratified in 1920, granting women suffrage. Only one of the women who signed of the Declaration of Sentiments in 1848 lived long enough to vote in the presidential election of 1920.

Media contact: Thom Myers, 269 387-8400, thom.myers@wmich.edu


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