Baylor Professors Attend Meeting on Gender Equality with Former U.S. Treasurer

Jan. 13, 2017
empower womenKimberly Kellison, Ph.D., associate professor of history and associate dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, and Heidi Hornik, Ph.D., professor of art history, attended the launch of Empowerment 2020, a movement started by former U.S. treasurer Rosie Rios to empower women leading up to the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment in 2020. (Courtesy photo)

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WACO, Texas (Jan. 13, 2017) – Two Baylor University professors traveled to Cambridge, Massachusetts, to join former U.S. Treasurer Rosie Rios in the launch of Empowerment 2020, her movement to empower women leading up to the 100th anniversary of the 19th Amendment.

Kimberly Kellison, Ph.D., associate professor of history and associate dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, and Heidi Hornik, Ph.D., professor of art history, attended the meeting at Harvard University’s Radcliffe College last month.

“The inaugural meeting of this movement brought together 100 women, stakeholders who have a seat at the table in business, education and government to inspire young women and girls to pursue those same dreams,” Hornik said. “Treasurer Rios is a strong advocate for women and girls to fill in the gaps where women are underrepresented at that table.”

The 100 women at the event came together to brainstorm and collaborate on how to improve the participation of women in the areas of business, education and government.

Speakers included the executive director of the Massachusetts League of Women Voters and representatives of the nonprofit organization Catalyst, which strives to create workplaces where people from diverse backgrounds can succeed.

“Empowerment 2020 is focused on giving women greater recognition in politics and the workplace, but there is also a strong emphasis on education,” Kellison said.

Rios’s focus on education is evident in her new project, Teachers Righting History.

“The first initiative of Empowerment 2020 is Teachers Righting History, which is an active website that provides teachers and students with a database of women who have been influential in our country’s history,” Hornik said. “This database is a product of the research Treasurer Rios compiled when deciding which women to recommend for the currency redesign project. Having women on the currency is necessary to give everyone a clear picture of the role women played in history. It is OURstory rather than HIStory or HERstory, as Treasurer Rios likes to say.”

Rios hopes to grow the movement after the initial Empowerment 2020 meeting. She plans to hold another meeting on Women’s Equality Day, Aug. 26, 2017, to which she hopes to attract 1,000 participants, Kellison said. The following year, she hopes to increase the number to 10,000. The ultimate goal is to bring together 100,000 women at the Washington National Mall in 2020, the 100th anniversary of the passage of the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote.

“The meeting focused on ways to empower women and other minorities, to push for equality and equity for all Americans,” Kellison said.

The two professors received the invitation after Rios visited Baylor University last semester. During her time on campus, Rios met with a small group of students and delivered a public lecture on her role as treasurer and the decision to include women on U.S. currency.

“My favorite thing about the event was both the energy and the synergy of the group, driven in large part by the vision and enthusiasm of Rosie Rios,” Kellison said. “I enjoyed meeting women and men from different professions, all of whom share the desire to create a more positive and a more equitable world for others.”

by Kalli Damschen, student newswriter, (254) 710-6805


Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.


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