From Suffrage to Power: Reflections on Women's Citizenship (Afternoon Session)
The Diane and Adam E. Max Conference on Women's History
Sun, March 1, 2020 | 2–5 pm | $10 (free for Members)


The Diane and Adam E. Max Conference on Women’s History

Now in its fifth year, the Diane and Adam E. Max Conference on Women's History is the cornerstone of the Center for Women's History's public and scholarly programs. The 2020 conference contemplates the legacy of the 19th Amendment in its centennial year. Scholars, journalists, jurists, and activists will consider the suffrage movement in all of its forms and complexity and explore the ways in which women have organized for full freedom and citizenship in the 100 years since ratification. The conference coincides with our exhibition on the same themes, Women March, opening Feb. 28 in the Joyce B. Cowin Women’s History Gallery.

2020 CONFERENCE: From Suffrage to Power: Reflections on Women’s Citizenship

Sun, March 1, 2020 | 9 am–5 pm | $10 (free for Members)

One hundred years ago, the ratification of the 19th Amendment enshrined the voting rights of women in the United States Constitution. The struggle for suffrage had begun over 70 years earlier, and had, at different moments, united and divided American women across lines of race, region, class, and religion. Ratification in 1920 represented a significant but incomplete victory: White supremacist laws and violence still kept many women from voting, while discrimination in employment, public service, health care, and the courts kept women from achieving full and equal citizenship. As Supreme Court Justice Robert H. Jackson declared in 1947: “The 19th Amendment gave women the right to vote and that is all it gave them.” 

For advocates of gender equity then, the 19th Amendment was “a beginning, not an end,” as Jackson’s successor on the bench, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, said. On the centennial of suffrage, the Center for Women’s History explores the struggles for women’s equality in all their forms and complexity, from the beginnings of the abolitionist and suffrage movements through the present. 




2:05 PM 
Brittney Cooper, Rutgers University and author of Eloquent Rage: A Black Feminist Discovers Her Superpower (2018)


2:45 PM 
Full Freedom for Women? The 1960s and Beyond: As one of the many radical movements that gripped the 1960s, women’s liberation sought to fulfill the promise of the 19th Amendment and secure the full political, legal, and social equality of women. In practice, the category of “women” was crosscut by race, class, sexuality, and national origin, resulting in different and sometimes competing definitions of equality. This panel explores how diverse groups of women furthered the expansion of citizenship from the 1960s to the end of the century and how they contended with the limits they faced.


Keisha N. Blain, University of Pittsburgh and author of Set the World on Fire: Black Nationalist Women and the Global Struggle for Freedom (2018)
Blanche Wiesen Cook, John Jay College and the Graduate Center, CUNY and author of the three-volume biography of Eleanor Roosevelt (1992-2016)
Premilla Nadasen, Barnard College and author of Household Workers Unite: The Untold Story of African American Women Who Built a Movement (2015)
Vicki Ruiz, University of California, Irvine and author of From Out of the Shadows: Mexican Women in Twentieth-Century America (10th anniversary edition, 2008)
Rebecca Traister, New York magazine and author of Good and Mad: The Revolutionary Power of Women’s Anger (2018)


4:00 PM 
Marching Forward: Reflections on the Past, Present, and Future: “The Future is Female” has become a popular slogan for the feminist movement of the 21st century, appearing on T-shirts, protest signs, and internet banners. This aspirational future, free of gender oppression, will be built upon two centuries of women’s organizing for suffrage and legal equality. This panel evaluates the most pressing feminist issues of our time in light of the historical legacies of women’s collective action. Drawing lessons from the past to illuminate the path forward, panelists discuss contemporary struggles against gender violence, immigration restriction, labor abuses, and more.


Fatima Goss Graves, president and CEO, National Women’s Law Center
Kate Clarke Lemay, historian at the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution and curator and author of Votes for Women: A Portrait Of Persistence (2019)
Mae Ngai, Columbia University and author of The Lucky Ones: One Family and the Extraordinary Invention of Chinese America (2010)
Irin Carmon, New York magazine and CNN contributor and co-author of Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg (2015)


For more information or to purchase a ticket, please visit or call (212) 485-9268.

Major funding for the Center for Women’s History provided by Claudine and Fred Bacher, James Basker and Angela Vallot, Joyce B. Cowin, Deutsche Bank, Diana and Joseph DiMenna, The Robert and Mercedes Eichholz Foundation, The Estate of Jean Dubinksy Appleton, Susan and Robert Klein, Diane and Adam E. Max, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Jean Margo Reid, Pam and Scott Schafler, Eric J. and Daria L. Wallach, Susan Waterfall, Leah and Michael R. Weisberg, and The Women’s Travel Group.


The Robert H. Smith Auditorium at the New-York Historical Society, 170 Central Park West, New York, NY 10024


Admission is free for New-York Historical Society Members; advance reservations are required to guarantee seating.
Please note that there are separate registrations for the morning and afternoon sessions. Please purchase a ticket to both the morning and afternoon sessions if you plan on attending the entire conference.

By phone: Please contact New-York Historical’s in-house call center at (212) 485-9268. Call center is open 9 am–5 pm daily.
Online: Click on the orange “Buy Tickets” button at the top of this page.
In person: Advance tickets may be purchased/reserved on site at New-York Historical’s Admissions desk during museum hours.

Advance purchase is required to guarantee seating. All sales are final; refunds and exchanges not permitted. Programs and dates may be subject to change. Management reserves the right to refuse admission to latecomers. Program tickets do not include Museum Admission unless otherwise noted.

Image credit: Sievers Studio, League of Women Voters, 1920. Missouri History Museum


Creative: Tronvig Group