April, 6, 2011

LDS Women and Equal Rights

I am currently taking a class where we discuss women and their place in social and political spheres. Primarily we discuss feminist theory in France but oft times we discuss Anglo-American ideals of feminism in comparison or contrast.

 American women were ahead of French women in fighting for their right to vote. On July 19-20, 1848 in Seneca Falls, New York, women gathered to debate of the significance for the allowance for women to receive the right to vote.

Courtesy of

Many Latter-day Saint women not only attended this conference, but were encouraged to attend by the Prophet Brigham Young. These women associated closely with Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton. One more prevalent sister, Susa Gates, was fortunate enough to host these two ladies within her own home. Other Latter-day Saint women who participated in the convention at Seneca Falls were Elmina Shepard Taylor, Emmeline B. Wells, Romania B. Pratt Penrose, Aurelia Spencer Rogers and many others.

Elmina Shepard Taylor was a founding member of the National Council of Women and the first general president of the Young Ladies National Mutual Improvement Association, as well as the founder of Young Woman’s Journal.  Elmina worked tirelessly for equal rights and opportunities for women both inside and outside the Church.

Since working at the Education in Zion Gallery and hearing stories of these women and how they were encouraged by prophets Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, I have been ecstatic to find that education and equal opportunities for women have always been a high priority for the Church. Stories within the gallery, like the women at the Seneca Falls Convention of 1848, tell of many Latter-day Saints who sacrificed for the greater opportunity of future generations.

– Brittany Dahlin, Education in Zion Gallery Educator, Art History Major