The Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice

World Congress of Women Meeting in Moscow

“Ironically, it was not until I journeyed almost 6,000 miles from my home in Houston to Moscow that I finally heard a male head of government speak directly to women and recognize the power and significance of our international women’s movement.”
-Sissy Farenthold’s unpublished op-ed "Women, Glasnost and Gorbachev", 1987

The opening ceremonies to the World Congress of Women in Moscow. The man in the dark suit (middle) is believed to be Mikhail Gorbachev. Photographer unknown.

In 1987, the World Congress of Women was held in Moscow, and its theme was “Toward 2000 without nuclear weapons.” While not an official Women for a Meaningful Summit event, several women involved in the organization, including Margarita Papanderou and Sissy Farenthold, attended. Papandreou gave a speech, representing WMS.

President Gorbachev delivered the event’s opening address. Farenthold noted in an op-ed piece entitled “Women, Glasnost and Gorbachev”, that Gorbachev’s speech was the first time a male head of state had acknowledged the efforts of the women’s peace movement. She sent this op-ed to the Los Angeles Times; however, it was rejected.

LA Times Rejection Letter, August 1987
Women, Glasnost and Gorbachev, op-ed, c. August 1987

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