Webinar Recap: After 100 Years, the Lessons and Tactics of the Suffragists Still Apply

It was a lively hour-long conversation with an academic and two authors, but how could it be otherwise when the topic was women’s roles in politics, especially in this electrifying election year?

The guests were Lucinda Robb and Rebecca Boggs Roberts, authors of the new book The Suffragist Playbook: Your Guide to Changing the World (PenguinRandomHouse), a literal how-to manual describing how women won the right to vote 100 years ago. The lessons they learned then about gender and race in politics can still be applied today by motivated activists, male and female.

The discussion was moderated by Schar School Associate Professor Bonnie Stabile, director of the Gender and Policy Center, and took place October 15. See the recording of the conversation.

The authors are longtime friends from powerful political families, so they know their stuff. Robb is the daughter of former Virginia governor Chuck Robb (D), a former Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Schar School, and Lynda Johnson Robb, daughter of president Lyndon Johnson. Roberts is the daughter of journalists Steve and Cokie Roberts, the longtime correspondent for NPR.

In discussing one of the tactics of advancing a political agenda—in this case, winning the right to vote—as outlined in the book, Robb said, “It’s the radicals who move the goal posts and the moderates who move the ball.”

In explaining how and why to engage a wider audience to the cause, Roberts stressed the importance of "figuring out how to make the movement palatable to a population that wouldn't have necessarily embraced it."