Women Speaking Up

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Women Speaking Up tells the extraordinary story of women’s participation in the first Parliament of World’s Religions, held during the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair (officially called the “World’s Columbia Exposition). During the 17-day Parliament, audiences numbering in the thousands gathered in one of 2 huge halls to listen to keynote speeches. Of the 200 speakers, twenty-one (or 10%) were women. Nineteen women gave courageous and provocative addresses, and two organizers gave opening and closing platform talks. This was an astonishing happening in an era when women were discouraged, and even ridiculed for speaking in public. This could, arguably, be considered as significant as the first women’s rights convention held 45 years earlier in Seneca Falls.
Women Speaking Up tells the story in three parts.  Part One sets the stage by giving context. Part Two focuses on the women—clergywomen, scholars, Jewish women, domestic partners, international visitors, progressive reformers, a woman of color and privilege, and a matriarch. Part Three provides the women’s addresses. Taken from 1893 and 1894 records, these comprise a complete collection never before available.


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