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An innovative collaboration of visual and performing arts and education in the unique historic setting of the former DC prison.


Event Date: 
Wednesday, January 8, 2014 - 7:30pm
Wednesday, February 5, 2014 - 7:30pm
Wednesday, March 5, 2014 - 7:30pm
Wednesday, April 2, 2014 - 7:30pm
Wednesday, April 30, 2014 - 7:30pm
Free, $10 suggested donation
W-3 Theatre

In July 1917, suffragists incarcerated at Northern Virginia’s Occoquan Workhouse initiated what became the final push toward women’s voting rights. The Workhouse Prison Museum’s five free public lectures trace the American women’s equality movement from before the Civil War to the present. The first lecture summarizes the significant steps that led to women’s right to vote. The subsequent three lectures discuss the societal, legislative and economic changes that have taken place since then. The final program challenges the consequences of these changes. This second lecture series features historians plus women who have experienced these changes first hand.

January 8 - Genesis:  Women Begin the Search for Equal Rights  (1848-1920)

Robyn Muncy, Ph.D., Associate Professor of History, University of Maryland will speak, and Lynn Garvey-Hodge will portray suffragist Mrs. Robert Walker.

Beginning in the middle of the 19th century, women like Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony advocated for the right for women to vote.  This generation of suffragists was followed in the early 20th century by an energetic group of women from all walks of life who wrote, marched, picketed, exhorted, and were sometimes imprisoned for their beliefs.  The first step toward legislative equal rights came with the passage of the 19th Amendment, ratified in 1920.   

February 5 - Years of Languish  (1920s-1950s) 
Cynthia Harrison, Ph.D., Associate Professor of History, George Washington University, will speak.  Gail Zander, Ph.D., psychologist and Nita Horton, M.S., pharmacist, will be guest panelists. 

The intense hardships experienced by women during the Great Depression were followed by unprecedented involvement in what had been exclusively men’s work during World War II.     Women took new jobs outside the home, developed new skills and were afforded new opportunities.  Following the return of men from war however, women once more were forced back into low-paying, low-profile positions.

March 5 - Years of  Hope, Turmoil and Anger (1960s and 70s)
Jeffrey McClarken, Ph.D., Associate Professor of History, University of Mary Washington, will speak. Sharon Bulova, Chairman, Fairfax County Board of Supervisors and Sherry Hutt, J.D. Ph.D., National Program Manager, North American Grave Protection and Repatriation Act, U.S. Department of Interior, will be guest panelists. 

During these decades deep cultural changes altered the role of women in American society.  Women reached out for greater fairness and equality  in the work place and at home.   They pushed to take control of their reproductive rights and to eliminate legal inequalities.  

April 2 - Breaking the Glass Ceiling (1980’s-present) 
Maggie Selwood, an Associate with the Venable Law Firm will moderate a panel including Carly Fiorina, former CEO, Hewlett Packard, and Bobbie Kilberg, President and CEO of the Northern Virginia Technology Council. 

These years saw invisible barriers holding women back from senior management positions began to crumble and access to more traditionally male roles increased.  Younger women entering the work force faced fewer barriers and more career opportunities.

April 30 - Equality:  What Does It Really Mean?
Jeanelle Evans, CEO of Strategic Interations, Inc. will moderate a panel including Rhonda Van Lowe, Legal Counsel, Rolls Royce North America, Inc, Dolly Oberoi, CEO C2 Technologies, and Carolyn Cook, CEO United 4 Equality. 

Join a discussion with three panelists about the differing ways men and women now think and feel about their work and home life.  Should there still be gender-specific roles in contemporary society? 

The Workhouse Prison Museum opened to the public in 2009.  Now housed in Building 9, the museum was created to preserve the history of the District of Columbia’s Correctional Complex at Lorton from its opening in 1910 until the last prisoner left in 2001. The Museum is an activity of the Workhouse Arts Foundation, Inc., the non-profit organization that operates the Workhouse Arts Center.

This lecture series is made possible through the generous support of EnviroSolutions, Inc.

Ticket Required: