In the spring of 1776, Abigail Smith Adams warned her husband John of a “Ladies’ rebellion” (“we will not hold ourselves bound by any laws in which we have no voice or representation”) if women’s concerns were not recognized at the nation’s founding.
The future U.S. president mocked his wife and dismissed her pleas. But Abigail’s words proved prescient, as generations of women have fought for equality and demanded justice. In this program, we’ll take a look at some of the history you didn’t learn in school and explore how contemporary feminist activism has challenged and changed us.
Rhea Hirshman, a freelance writer and editor, is also an adjunct professor of women’s and gender studies at UConn Stamford and has been a visiting instructor at Yale and Wesleyan. Deeply involved in women’s liberation activities including community education, reproductive rights advocacy, and the arts, she has been recognized for her contributions by the Connecticut chapter of Veteran Feminists of America. She founded a feminist bookstore in New Haven, has produced and hosted a weekly feminist radio show, does frequent public speaking, and for several years, wrote a gender issues column for the New Haven Register.