Bella Mezzacapo photojournalist
For hundreds of years, women have faced adversity in society and in our world. In fact, it has been over 100 years since the ratification of the 19th Amendment, yet we still have not had a female president. With that, there are fewer than a quarter of Congresspeople who women are. Because of these, many women want to make a difference, raise awareness, and tell the story of women’s suffrage throughout the years.
On the evening of March 1, April Young Bennet came to speak in the Governor’s Room in the Overman Student Center. The lecture was held by the Altruistic Alliance of University Women alongside Kathleen Flannery, the Vice President of University Advancement at Pittsburg State University.
“I have the pleasure of serving as Vice President for University Advancement here at Pittsburg State University, and we’re very excited to host Ms. April Young Bennett today,” Flannery said. “We celebrated the 19th Centennial back in 2020 and [Young Bennet] was supposed to come and join us in March of that year. And of course, you all know what happened. So, we are very excited that three years later she’s chosen to join us. I’d also like to take a moment to thank the Women’s Studies program here on campus as well as the Boylan Foundation. The Boylan Foundation has supported women in government since its inception in 2001. And we, in fact, have hosted many speakers ranging from Laura Bush to now Ms. April Bennett.”
April Young Bennet is the author of the Ask a Suffragist book series, host of the Religious Feminism podcast, and a blog writer for the Exponent Two. She began studying the lives of suffragists to back up claims in favor of her fight for gender equality within her modern day patriarchal religious community.
With that, she was an organizer for the activist organization, Ordained Women, and an advocate for better state and federal laws that affect children and families addressing the wage gap, healthcare, education, and juvenile justice. April began the Religious Feminism podcast to help feminists of different faiths share ideas and collaborate towards common goals.
During the lecture, Young Bennet not only discussed historical events of women’s suffrage, but she told stories of her own experiences as well.
“I want to tell a little bit about a time when I tried to change the world, or at least a teeny tiny part of the world that I’m involved in,” Young Bennet said. “So, several years back, I marched with hundreds of women to what’s called the Priesthood Session of General Conference in my church. It’s a worldwide meeting. Only men are invited. And so, me and several of my female peers marched over there and tried to get in. Church leaders refused to let us in, but they offered us a compromise. So, for the very first time, they broadcast this man-only meeting over the internet so that everyone could listen, even us women. We stood outside the building in the rain, listening on our phones, while men and boys marched past us and went inside the nice, warm, clean building. While we stood outside in the rain, I was listening through my phone and I heard one of the highest ranking members of my church explain to the men that they were broadcasting this publicly for the first time, because, as he said, ‘these subjects are of equal concern to men and to women,’ which was a pretty funny thing to say to a male-only audience.”
April Young Bennet has taken the time to try and change the world just as many other women and suffragists before her. For more information on women’s suffrage and how it has an impact on women today, check out the Ask a Suffragist book series or Young Bennet’s podcast, Religious Feminism.