School NewsFeb 3, 2023

updated Nov 13, 2023

Formidable Forum

Powerhouse schools collaborate to foreground women’s history

Miss Hall’s School partnered with Wellesley College, Saint Mary’s School, in Raleigh, North Carolina, and The Madeira School, in McLean Virginia, to present noted historian and author Dr. Elisabeth “Betsy” Griffith on Friday, February 10 at Duke University.

The brainchild of Jeannie Norris, 16-year retired Head of Miss Hall’s School, this Formidable Forum was an energized and edifying evening. Betsy presented highlights from one hundred years of women’s history — achievements, challenges, and mileposts — and told countless stories of bold black, white, and indigenous women we didn’t know. She stitched the quilt together masterfully and sisterhood was in the room!

Learn more about Dr. Griffith

Dr. Griffith is the author of the highly acclaimed new book Formidable: American Women and the Fight for Equality: 1920-2020. She has spoken extensively around the country and has been interviewed by PBS NewsHour, Bloomberg, and Diane Rehm.

Formidable tells the story of the incomplete victory brought by the Nineteenth Amendment and the ensuing hard work done by Black and white women in the century since to achieve equality. Former U.S. Secretary of State, U.S. Senator, and Presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton has called the book “an essential history of the struggle by both Black and white women to achieve their equal rights.”

The former head of The Madeira School, Dr. Griffith has been a Kennedy Fellow at Harvard’s Institute of Politics and a Klingenstein Fellow at Columbia Teachers College, and has spent her career working for women’s rights as an activist and an academic, teaching women’s history at the secondary and college levels. She has written for The New York Times and The Washington Post and currently teaches courses in women’s history at the Smithsonian.

The venue for this bold gathering — Room #209 in East Duke Building on Duke University's East Campus — was made possible by Miss Hall’s Trustee Mariel Beasley ’02, Director of the Common Cents Lab at Duke University.

It is an honor to convene alums, family, and friends of these formidable, mission-aligned schools around our shared history. Miss Hall’s was founded in 1898 to address gender inequity in education, and, 125 years later, students come from around the globe to learn from history and become the leaders our world needs.

Head of School