Wendy Davis, former Texas state senator and 2014 candidate for Texas governor, will deliver the keynote address in SMU’s 2017 Women’s Symposium Wednesday, March 8.
“We invited Wendy Davis to be our keynote speaker because she was a major advocate for women during her time in the Texas Senate and during her gubernatorial campaign,” said Aurora Havens, Women’s Symposium co-chair and a senior engineering major. “We believe she is an inspiration to all women, especially in Texas.”
The theme of the student-planned 2017 symposium, “My Body, Not Their Politics,” will focus on the politics surrounding issues such as sexual violence, reproductive justice, and women and politics.
“The theme addresses issues women face as well as the current political climate,” Havens says. Sachi Sarwal, a junior electrical engineering major, is also co-chair.
An attorney and long-time public servant, Davis served on the Fort Worth City Council from 1999 to 2008. She represented District 10 in the Texas Senate from 2009 to 2015, but made her mark nationally with an impassioned 11-hour filibuster in June 2013 that delayed passage of a bill restricting abortion regulations in Texas. She ran for governor on the Democratic ticket in 2014, losing to Republican Greg Abbott.
In 2016, Davis launched a new initiative, Deeds Not Words, designed to train and equip young women to make changes in their communities.
More than 500 attendees are expected to attend SMU Women’s Symposium, created in 1966 as part of the University’s commemoration of its 50th anniversary. One of the longest running events of its kind, the symposium has challenged, changed and broadened women’s perspectives on campus and in the community.
The symposium is open to the public from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. at Hughes-Trigg Student Center. Discounted registration is offered to SMU faculty, staff and students. Visit www.smu.edu/womsym for registration. Registration is requested by Wednesday, March 1, 2017.
— Nancy George