USC Sumter's Rowlett Contributes to Book Celebrating 100th Anniversary of Women's Suffrage
Sumter, SC (09/08/2020) — Women's right to vote celebrates its 100th anniversary this year. In honor of women's suffrage, the Johns Hopkins University Press recently released "Suffrage at 100 - Women in American Politics since 1920". The press' website describes the book as exploring "why women's access to, and influence on, political power remains frustratingly uneven, particularly for women of color and queer women. Examining how women have acted collectively and individually, both within and outside of electoral and governmental channels, the book moves from the front lines of community organizing to the highest glass ceiling."
The book, edited by Staci Taranto and Leandra Zarnow, highlights women's participation in US government and politics over the past century and includes chapters contributed by 22 scholars. One such contributor is Dr. Bianca Rowlett an assistant professor of history at the University of South Carolina Sumter.
Originally from Green Forest, Arkansas, Rowlett attended Arkansas Tech University and graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science in Biology. She was then accepted to the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, where she began to pursue a Master of Science degree with a focus on Molecular Biology. After a year in the program, Rowlett decided the lab was not where she wanted to be. She took a break from school and worked in banking before finally returning to earn her Master of Arts in History in 2007. In 2014, Rowlett went on her to earn her PhD in history and in 2016, Rowlett was hired to teach history at USC Sumter.
Rowlett's chapter in "Suffrage at 100" focuses on Dr. Jeane J. Kirkpatrick who was appointed by President Ronald Reagan as the Permanent Ambassador to the United Nations in 1981. Until that time women were not widely known for planning, creating, or implementing important foreign policy directives. Kirkpatrick, a political science professor at Georgetown University, was the first American woman appointed to the position of Permanent Ambassador to the U.N., as well as the first female to serve on the National Security Council (NSC) and the National Security Planning Group (NSPG). This chapter emphasizes the accomplishments of America's first female diplomatic powerbroker by analyzing her contributions to both foreign and domestic politics.
Though rejected by modern feminists due to her affiliation with Republican politics and her opposition to the methods, ideology, and policies promoted by feminist organizations, Kirkpatrick saw herself as a feminist who supported gender equality, specifically, the advancement of women in American politics, diplomacy, and society. Her influence and leadership helped break through gender barriers that previously prevented women from attaining the highest of diplomatic positions, thus paving the way for female secretaries of state from both parties including Madeleine Albright, Condoleezza Rice, and Hillary Clinton. Overall, Kirkpatrick's contributions to foreign affairs and domestic politics make her an iconic figure that should be highlighted in any study dedicated to the history of women and American politics.
To learn more about "Suffrage at 100 - Women in American Politics since 1920" or purchase the book, visit the Johns Hopkins University Press website jhupbooks.press.jhu.edu.
For more information about Dr. Bianca Rowlett or the University of South Carolina Sumter, visit uscsumter.edu.