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Society & Culture

Drexel’s Vision 2020 Presents Women 100: A National Celebration of American Women

February 24, 2020

A 3D rendering of the "Seat at the Table" exhibit. Photo credit: Dome.
A 3D rendering of the "Seat at the Table" exhibit. Photo credit: Dome.

2020 marks the centennial anniversary of the ratification of the 19th Amendment, which guaranteed women the right to vote. To celebrate the momentous occasion, and plan for the continuation and progression of gender equality, Drexel University’s Vision 2020 is presenting the largest 19th Amendment centennial celebration in the country, throughout 2020.

The national celebration, called Women 100, is presented by Vision 2020, a non-partisan national women’s equality coalition headquartered at the Institute for Women’s Health and Leadership (IWHL) housed in the Drexel University College of Medicine. Women 100 will feature a years’ worth of programming to look backwards and forwards at women’s equality, including special events and a massive voter mobilization effort to encourage record-breaking women voter turnout in the 2020 national election.

“Vision 2020 was created by the Institute for Women’s Health and Leadership more than a decade ago with a focus on the year 2020 and the 100th anniversary of American women’s voting rights, the first significant step towards women’s equality,” said Vision 2020 Founder and President Lynn Yeakel, who is also the IWHL director and Betty A. Cohen Chair in Women’s Health for the College of Medicine. “Our tag line from the beginning has been ‘Equality in Sight.’ Through Vision 2020’s Women 100 celebration, we will commemorate the centennial milestone and set the agenda to complete the unfinished business of women’s equality.”

The first major project of Vision 2020’s Women 100 celebration is “A Seat at the Table,” an interactive exhibition focused on women’s suffrage and its ties to today’s social movements.

“A Seat at the Table” will be on view at the Kimmel Center for the Performing Arts from March 1 through Sept. 30. It is presented in partnership with the Kimmel Center Cultural Campus.

The exhibition is just one of many different educational and cultural events that will be presented by Vision 2020 this year, both in Philadelphia and across the country. All the Women 100 programming will explore and expand the conversations and public awareness of the unfinished business of gender equality.

An example is Spring Breakthru, which will take place from March 20 through March 22 at the Kimmel Center. Undergraduate students from across the U.S. will participate in programs delving into issues of intersectional feminism, civic engagement and social justice. They will gain tools and resources to return to their campuses as advocates for gender equality and social change. 

That event will be followed by the Women’s Leadership Forums on April 1, which will also be held at the Kimmel Center. Well-known panelists speaking about gender equality and shared leadership will speak at three panels: “An Historical Look at Active Women’s Citizenry,” “Women’s Leadership in Our Time” and “The Unfinished Business of Women’s Equality: Leadership for the Future.”

In June, Women 100 will host the SHE Leads Road Rally from June 19–20. Vintage cars and busses with women at the wheel will travel from Philadelphia to Seneca Falls, New York, the site of the 1848 Women’s Rights Convention, which sparked the suffrage movement. The caravan will stop in Scranton to be welcomed by women’s equality supporters on its way back to Philadelphia. The finish line will be the Queen Lane Campus of Drexel University College of Medicine, the home of Vision 2020.

Later in the summer, the Toast to Tenacity™ event on Independence Mall will be held on National Women’s Equality Day, Aug. 26, to celebrate the 100 years since women won the right to vote. The event will feature speakers, music and a tribute to the suffragists who worked to secure the passage of the 19th Amendment.

This fall, Women 100 will honor historical and present-day trailblazing women through the Celebrating Women ceremony on Sept. 16 hosted in the Kimmel Center’s Verizon Hall. And the results of its voter mobilization effort, which will encourage voter registration throughout the year, will be reported following Election Day on Nov. 3.

By setting the national agenda and sparking conversations across the country to achieve social, political and economic equality between men and women, Vision 2020, as led by Yeakel in the IWHL, will further position Drexel as a leader in the field, through a college that grew from institutions including the world’s first medical school for women. 

“Over the years, the Institute for Women’s Health and Leadership has launched important programs to advance women’s health and women’s leadership,” said Yeakel. “Those include Conversations about Women’s Health, the Sex & Gender Research Forum, the Woman One Award and Scholarship Fund and Vision 2020, among others. All the programs carry forward the trailblazing legacy of Woman’s Medical College of Pennsylvania, a predecessor of Drexel University College of Medicine.”