LAWRENCE – Sarah Weddington, the lawyer most known for her role as one of Jane Roe's defense attorneys in Roe v. Wade, will be the speaker at the 2012 Emily Taylor and Marilyn Stokstad Women's Leadership Lecture, sponsored by the Hall Center for the Humanities.
Her lecture, "Some Leaders Are Born Women," will be at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 27, at Woodruff Auditorium in the Kansas Union. The event is free and open to the public, and a reception will follow.
Women, Weddington will argue, are often the people who have key skills for top leadership positions, yet few women hold these high-profile titles. The lecture will examine the historical factors that have contributed to this situation, the perfect "fit" today of what women have to offer and what is needed to enhance personal leadership.
Barbara Ballard, Kansas state representative and one of the organizers for the Women's Leadership Lecture, noted the timeliness of bringing Weddington to KU to lecture on this topic. "Ms. Weddington argued Roe v. Wade, and today the most prominent issue in women's rights is contraception. We are still fighting about women's issues. Weddington played an important role in the life of women when she visited campus for the first time over 20 years ago, and now she will defend the importance of women having control over what happens in their lives."
Weddington received her law degree from the University of Texas School of Law and is a distinguished alumna of McMurry University in Abilene, Texas. She holds several honorary doctorates and has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the Margaret Sanger Award from Planned Parenthood, the National Public Health Hero Award, and the International Athena Award, which is presented to individuals who have achieved a high degree of professional excellence and have assisted women to develop their full potential by opening up leadership opportunities. She also served three terms in the Texas House of Representatives and as general counsel of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
The Emily Taylor and Marilyn Stokstad Women's Leadership Lecture is named for two women who were prominent leaders at KU. The fund they established supports lectures by prominent women on women's leadership issues. Contributions to the fund can be made through KU Endowment.