Discussion on Women in Power in History


On Tuesday, March 16, Phi Alpha Theta and history professors hosted Women in Power in History. The speakers discussed how women in history have negotiated power and leadership throughout the years. The panelists spoke on a few women in history that have exerted power in different ways. 

This discussion is one of many events hosted by SRU in honor of Women’s History Month, a month dedicated to celebrating the history of women who have made an impact and difference in our communities, nation and world. 

The speakers during this event were Carlis White, Melissa Ford, Paula Rieder and Alan Levy who are all professors in SRU’s History Department. The three professors spoke about the impact of Cleopatra VII, Harriet Tubman, Eleanor of Aquitaine and Bella Abzug. 

Each speaker spoke about the history of each woman and their impact on power and leadership. They explained how power is often perceived as a masculine and dominate narrative so it was important to speak about the women who were in a position of power. The panelists challenged the listeners to think differently than our traditional conceptions about the term “power”. 

“Knowing the history of women and their struggle whether it’s women in power, or a politician, or your mother is important,” said Ford. “Knowing that they have struggled for you and nothing about where we are today is guaranteed or inevitable. I grew up with Hilary Clinton who has been a huge political female figure and so understanding what she went through and continues to go through makes you understand and appreciate more.” 

Some additional topics discussed regarding women include motherhood and family, women on U.S. dollar bills, gender roles, femininity and the perception of these women in power during their time.  

“Knowing what women are capable of doing, knowing what they have gone through in times past, knowing and demanding their rights in the future is something that’s just a crucial thing with regard to social justice for the future,” said White. 

“I think it’s really great and horrifying to see the change and lack of change over time,” said Ford. 

Phi Alpha Theta will be hosting Imagining Modern Babylon: Mass society, politics, and media in Victorian London on March 25. This event will set up the discussion of the following event about the life of Jack the Ripper.  

To join Phi Alpha Theta, students can search the organization on CORE or email Ford at melissa.ford@sru.edu.

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Morgan is an integrated marketing communication major. This is her second semester on The Rocket staff as assistant campus life editor. Previously, she was part of the Women’s Lacrosse team at SRU for two years and was an editor for her high school yearbook sophomore to senior year. After graduation, she hopes to work on a marketing team in the DMV area. Outside of The Rocket, Morgan is also on staff for the athletic communication department.


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