Tag Archives: Womens Rights

Start the discussion: perspectives on women’s rights


On Monday (March 31) the College hosted a panel discussion titled “Transnational Perspectives on Women’s Rights as Human Rights.” With over 100 in attendance,  working with the Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio, the College gathered five women panelists from Puerto Rico, Serbia, Ukraine, India and Jamaica to discuss challenges and issues in the lives of women and girls all over the world.

The discussion was moderated by Gina Messina Dysert, Ph.D., Dean of Ursuline’s School of Graduate and Professional Studies and Mary Frances (Mimi) Pipino, Ph.D., Director of the Ursuline Studies Program. Topics covered included the impact of globalization on women, breaking gender stereotypes, finding a common ground across World cultures and the definition of feminism. See the entire panel discussion below.

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Celebrate Women’s History Month with International Women’s Panel March 31


The College is hosting a panel discussion titled “Transnational Perspectives on Women’s Rights as Human Rights” at 6 PM March 31 in the Mullen Little Theater, 2550 Lander Road, Pepper Pike, Ohio 44124. The discussion is free and open to the public and will be followed by a dessert reception.

“The theme for Women’s History Month 2014 is Women of Courage, Character and Commitment. Ursuline College, through its women-focused identity and mission, seeks to educate and encourage such women and prepare them to participate bravely and passionately in a global society,” Mary Frances Pipino, Ph.D., Director of Ursuline College’s Ursuline Studies Program, said.

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Dean of Graduate and Professional Studies serves as panelist at United Nations’ 58th Commission on the Status of Women


Originally posted on businesswire.com

In their continuing efforts to promote awareness of issues facing mothers worldwide, American Mothers, Inc.® will host two panels at the upcoming session of the United Nations’ 58th Commission on the Status of Women. “The Feminization of Poverty” and “Women and HIV” will take place at United Nations Headquarters in New York on March 11, 2014.

American Mothers, a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization seeking to honor mothers and represent mothers’ issues, holds consultative status with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations.

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Celebrating International Women’s Day 2014


International Women’s Day is celebrated on March 8 every year. Take time today to remember the progress and sacrifices women have made, and still make everyday, to better the world. Don’t forget to also celebrate, admire and show gratitude to influential women in your own life.

Below are some of the Ursuline Marketing Department’s favorite quotes about women, social justice, education and empowerment. Today, please share your favorite quotes about women, empowerment, education and the like on social media using the hashtag #WomensDay2014.

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An Ohio Historic Marker celebrating Victoria Claflin Woodhull stands in front of the Homer Public Library.

Did you know? First woman candidate for the U.S. Presidency was from Ohio

An Ohio Historic Marker celebrating Victoria Claflin Woodhull stands in front of the Homer Public Library.

An Ohio Historic Marker celebrating Victoria Claflin Woodhull stands in front of the Homer Public Library.

Who would have guessed that the first woman to run for the U.S. Presidency (1872), a nationally known campaigner for women’s suffrage and social justice, was born in the tiny community of Homer, Ohio?

Probably very few until the people of Homer had the foresight to erect an official Ohio Historic Marker in front of their library, reminding us of Victoria Claflin Woodhull and her commitment to women’s rights.




The main intersection in Homer, Licking County, Ohio

The main intersection in Homer, Licking County, Ohio

Homer, Ohio:  It’s a sleepy little place at the crossroads of two secondary rural highways and the Otter Run Fork of the Licking River, not far from where I was born and raised.  In just a few minutes, you can drive through this unincorporated community in Licking County, past the post office and the handful of clapboard commercial buildings at the intersection.  You might glance at the old brick school building that sits back a bit from the highway and, as you near the edge of town, you can see the United Methodist Church, an ancient cemetery, and the modern library where the historical society meets regularly.  This is, and was, quintessential Ohio farm country.


Victoria and her sister Tennessee were born in Homer, respectively in 1838 and 1845, to Roxanna and Reuben Buckman Claflin. Local legends abound about the Claflin family – that they were poverty-stricken, that the children only sporadically attended school, that Roxanna was a clairvoyant, that Buck burned down his own gristmill to collect insurance money, and that the family was semi-nomadic, using the children to sell homemade patent medicines, practice faith healing, and tell fortunes as part of their travelling medicine show.


Also according to local legend, community members “encouraged” the Claflins to leave Homer by raising funds at a benefit so that the family could join Buck who had been run out of town for alleged insurance fraud.  Can’t you just picture those scenes?  Do you think the fundraiser was held in the old town hall?  Or the church?


VictoriaInPrintWhatever the circumstances of her childhood in this minuscule town and what sounds to be an unusual family, Victoria rose above hardship to follow the courage of her convictions, some of which were considered exceptionally radical in the 19th century.  Many of her achievements were, and are, truly inspirational.





Victoria’s achievements (SOME of them):

  • First woman to run for the U.S. Presidency (1872) representing the Equal Rights Party (She lost to Ohioan and Civil War General Ulysses S. Grant.  After all, the amendment granting women the right to vote would not be ratified for another 48 years!)
  • First American woman to address Congress (1871)
  • As two of the first women stockbrokers in history, she and her sister Tennessee Claflin opened Woodhull, Claflin and Company on Wall Street in 1870 with the backing of railroad tycoon Cornelius Vanderbilt
  • Published the very successful Woodhull and Claflin’s Weekly newspaper promoting a plethora of social justice issues
  • Leading membership in the National American Woman Suffrage Association and International Workingman’s Association


Victoria’s advocacy:

  • Woman suffrage
  • Equal educational opportunity for women (how keenly must she have felt her lack of it?)
  • Women’s right to control their own health decisions, including birth control
  • Labor reform including an 8-hour workday
  • Divorce law reform
  • Free love (can’t you just hear the consternation of the people of post-Civil War Ohio over that?)


Homer, Licking County, Ohio

Homer, Licking County, Ohio

So, the next time you drive through a tiny little burg, or across a lonely countryside, and see an Ohio Historical Marker, take a moment to stop and read it.  Who knows what rich, complex heritage it will reveal about a place that may seem quiet and unassuming?  I always appreciate the inspiration these marker stories provide, as well as the commitment of the community members who did the research, writing, and fundraising to bring you an important message about their/our heritage.



Like to know more about Homer, Ohio?  Visit the Homer Public Library at http://www.homer.lib.oh.us


Like to know more about Victoria Claflin Woodhull?  Visit the:

National Women’s History Museum at http://www.nwhm.org

National Women’s Hall of Fame at http://www.greatwomen.org

New York Times obituary at http://www.nytimes.com/learning/general/onthisday/bday/0923.html

Ohioana Library Association at www.ohioana.org

Ohio Center for the Book at www.ohiocenterforthebook.org

Ohio History Central at www.ohiohistorycentral.org

Ohio Memory at www.ohiomemory.org

Remarkable Ohio at www.remarkableohio.org

Women Working, 1800-1930, Harvard University Library Open Collections Program, at http://ocp.hul.harvard.edu/ww/woodhull.html


Our own Ursuline College Besse Library for access to published biographies.

women's suffrage

Women and the Right to Vote

women's suffrageAlice Paul is one of my personal heroes. She dedicated her life to establishing equal rights and led some of the most crucial political achievements in history for women.  If you haven’t seen Iron Jawed Angels, the HBO movie starring Hilary Swank as Paul, you should drop everything and do so immediately.  It is a brilliant film that reminds us of the incredible struggle for women’s right to vote and the sacrifices of the Suffragettes.

The film details Paul’s strategy, personal sacrifice, and willingness to put her life on the line for women’s suffrage.   I often stop and wonder, “what would I put my life on the line for?”  What would you?

Today, we take for granted that we have the right to vote and have forgotten the torture – and I mean that literally – that women experienced simply because they demanded that right.  Many of us find our selves too busy to show up for the vote or unconcerned about issues we think do not affect us (believe me, every issue does affect us!).  I can only imagine Paul’s response to such complacency.

As we prepare to head to the polls on November 5th, while some women wont show up; others will be refused the right to vote.  New controversial photo ID laws in Texas and Pennsylvania discriminate against minorities and low-income voters.  Women are surely one of the affected groups – if married or divorced a different last name on identification could keep them from casting their ballots.

Wendy Weiser, director of the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center told TIME that “A full 34% of women don’t have documents proving citizenship with their current name on it.  Why do we have such strict limitations on what kinds of documents people can have when they need to vote?”  These are important questions, and although we may think the fight for voting rights is over, there is much work to be done.

When you are considering whether or not you should vote on November 5th, take time to remember that the women before you fought – nearly to the death – so you would have this right.  Recognize that there are women in our country who will be denied their right to vote based on discriminatory laws.  And, of course, acknowledge that women around the world continue to struggle for their human rights of which voting is surely one.  Cast your ballot in their honor and consider how you might act against continued injustice against women and other oppressed groups.    While we may not put our lives on the line, we can certainly continue to work for justice.

Gina Messina-Dysert, Ph.D. is Dean of Graduate and Professional Studies at Ursuline College.

After the Lecture: Women in Labor

As we approach our annual Labor Day celebration, we prepare to honor the contributions workers have made to the social, political, cultural and economic strength of the United States.

For many women, of course, “labor” has a dual meaning . . . and these dual meanings are a source of endless debate, handwringing, scrutiny and guilt-inducing diatribes as we (“we” meaning women in general, and our society as a whole) collectively agonize over the role of women (especially women who are mothers) as workers in and out of the home. Often, it is no longer the issue of “choice” to work outside of the home (and the reality is that for many women of color, and women of marginal economic status, it NEVER was a choice), as recession and the increase in households headed by women, or in which women are the primary breadwinners, make such work a necessity. But the conversations with respect to the intersection of women’s work as mothers and household managers, and women’s work as doctors/lawyers/journalists/   teachers/nurses/engineers/servers/managers/and so on continue to rage (and enrage) many of us.

The fact is, women’s place in the workforce outside of their home-work is not going to change. The genie’s out of the bottle . . .the horse is out of the barn . . .you can’t unring that bell . . . pick your cliché. The real challenge is the ongoing work of recognizing the social and institutional barriers to balancing work and family (rather than making individuals feel  it’s simply their personal failure), undoing essentialist ideas of what constitutes “men’s” work and “women’s” work, of the artificial division of labor by gender, of ideas such as dads are “babysitting” their children when left alone with them, while moms are . . . doing what they are supposed to be doing—being moms.

There is a reason that across cultures, across space and time, that formal education has excluded or been withheld from the marginalized—the poor, the dark-skinned, the female: it is the recognition of the powerful and transformative qualities and the significant economic, social, and political opportunities that education offers. Ursuline College was founded on and dedicated to the proposition that the access to education is the best way to empower women and encourage their growth as leaders.

Sheryl Sandberg’s observations in Lean In about the need for women to develop skills of advocacy, voice, and negotiation— which includes ability to problem solve, to analyze and synthesize information, and to communicate effectively—aligns well with the learning outcomes of our curriculum. But our institution takes that one better—we inculcate a sense of social responsibility and examination of values as essential to producing truly well-educated graduates, ones prepared to take their place in the world not just as workers, but workers who make a difference. And while some may be reluctant to acknowledge it, the “f” word is applicable here . . .yes, feminist values have been, are, and always will be aligned with justice, equality, and advocacy—for self and for others, for all workers and for all those who seek work and cannot secure it. And commitment to and action informed by those values will ultimately make the question “Should women work outside the home?” as incomprehensible as “Are you sure the earth is round?”

This post was written by Mary Frances Pipino, Ph.D., Director of the Ursuline Studies Program.