Activities & Organizations

Series shows the power of women in history


The panel discussion “Women’s Activism Then & Now” was the first event of the year for The Friends of Women’s Studies and Women’s Gender & Sexuality Studies. | Emily S. Chambers/The Daily Cougar

The Friends of Women’s Studies and Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies programs held their first event of the Barbara Karkabi Living Archives Series on Monday afternoon.

The event began with the discussion “Women’s Activism Then and Now” by panelists Frances Miriam “Poppy” Northcutt, State Representative Senfronia Thompson, Sarah Slamen and Rebecca Robertson with moderation by Nancy Sims.

Northcutt, the first woman to work in NASA’s Mission Control Center on the Apollo program, said it is important that college students be involved in what is going on in the country.

“You’re going to inherit the world, so you might as well start now,” Northcutt said.

Throughout the discussion, the panelists discussed women in Houston in the 1980s, how the male and female dynamic has changed throughout time and what they thought about the candidates for governor. Social media and women’s reproductive rights were big topics throughout the night.

“Sarah Slamen said that 60 percent of men and women her age are in favor of reproductive rights, but only 20 percent of millenials are active in supporting it, and that said to me that I need to be more active and engaged and talking to friends and family,” said accounting graduate student Katie Berend.

With Thompson on the panel, who has served longer in the Legislature than any other woman or African-American in Texas history, the audience heard stories from 1972, “the year of the woman,” in which “women paved the way and left big tracks.”

Human development junior Autoosa Abadi said it is important that students learn how the government works at an early age.

“If you know how the voting process works, then you can put in an effort to create a change,” Abadi said.

The second part of the night was a walk-through by archivist Vince Lee of the Carey C. Shuart Women’s Archive exhibit, “Collective HER-Story: A Mosaic Masterpiece.”

The exhibit is made up of cases displaying letters, photos and memorabilia of women who have made history in Houston in areas like politics, in which a letter congratulating Annise Parker for winning the mayoral race is displayed. Other cases displayed women’s accomplishments in arts and entertainment, health and science, social services, business and journalism and many more.

These records collected during the years document how women have impacted not only Houston, but the world.

“Collective HER-Story: A Mosaic Masterpiece” is displayed on the first floor of the M.D. Anderson Memorial Library, and will run from Oct. 14 to March 2, 2014.

To find out about upcoming events in the Barbara Karkabi Living Archives Series visit

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