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Northeastern University

Cabral Center

40 Leon Street

Boston, MA 02115

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Here we are: 100 years after women gained the right to vote and decades after second wave feminism exploded on the scene, and still sexist double standards are applied to candidates, still nowhere near equal representation in local and national government, and still no woman president. Feminism is seemingly everywhere – from the Women’s Marches to the righteous rage of #MeToo and #TimesUp – and yet gender inequity and hate continue to pervade civic life.

This upcoming election is arguably the most consequential in recent memory. Following on the heels of the election of Trump and his reign of racism, xenophobia, and misogyny, the stakes couldn’t be much higher. Basic civil rights are on the ballot as, indeed, is the future of democratic governance and the rule of law. But there are signs of hope amidst the wreckage: the 2018 midterm elections ushered in the most diverse group of congresspeople in US history, and strides were made in local races across the country. On-the-ground activism is energized, and women are leading the resistance: registering voters, running candidates, fighting voter suppression, knocking on doors, and tweeting up a firestorm of protest. Social media itself has been both a site of subversion (e.g. digital feminist hashtags) and a tool of authority (e.g. Trump’s tweets).

Expert panelists and participants in this interdisciplinary symposium will consider how gender and feminist activism should inform our thinking about the upcoming elections. We will look at how feminists might engage social movements, digital spaces, and broader communities in trying to effect social change. Panels will invite conversations about new forms of media in the hands of feminist activists, historical perspectives on gender and electoral politics (in celebration of the anniversary of suffrage), mainstream media coverage of elections through the lens of gender, and leveraging the unprecedented visibility of women (particularly women of color) in both electoral and grassroots politics. Throughout the day, we will promote an active dialogue among scholars, activists, journalists, and community organizers in a broad discussion of both the limitations and potentials of electoral politics for enacting substantive feminist transformations.

This is the seventh annual Women's History Month Symposium presented by the Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program at Northeastern University, supported by the Northeastern Humanities Center. The day begins with a keynote speech by Zerlina Maxwell of MSNBC and Siriux XM and continues with panels on #DigitalFeminism: Organizing Resistance Online (Katherine Grainger, Catherine Knight Steele, Carmen Rios) and #StillWePersist: Organizing Resistance on the Streets and on the Hill (Tamar Carroll, Duchess Harris, Amanda Renteria).

Check-in begins at 9:00 am and breakfast will be served. The day kicks off at 10:00 am with a welcome from the organizers and the Dean of the College of Social Sciences and Humanities at Northeastern. A keynote speech by Zerlina Maxwell starts at 10:15 am until lunch, then panels begin at 1:00 and will run through the day until 4:45 pm. A reception will follow.

Contact wgss@northeastern.edu for more information.

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Northeastern University

Cabral Center

40 Leon Street

Boston, MA 02115

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