The Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice

Women in Southern Africa Conference

“Patriarchy describes any kind of group organization in which males hold dominant power, in which males determine what part females shall and shall not play, and in which the capabilities assigned to women are relegated generally to the mystical and esthetic, excluding them from the practical and political.”
-Sissy Farenthold, in her speech "Women's Search for Peace"

In the early 1980s, Genevieve Vaughan decided to fund initiatives in the women’s movement, including women’s development abroad. She turned to her well-connected cousin, Sissy Farenthold, for suggestions on what to fund, and they began a collaboration that would last throughout the decade.

Vaughan asked Farenthold to attend the Women in Southern Africa Conference in Zimbabwe in November 1982. (Although Vaughan would later attend similar events along with Farenthold, she initially chose to stay behind the scenes.) In a July 2011 interview with Farenthold and Vaughan, Farenthold said this conference changed her perspective on women's issues, as she became more aware of women's experiences in other countries and the harsh realities of apartheid in South Africa.

The following documents include a selection of conference materials and post-conference correspondence:

Conference Programme, November 1982
Post-Conference Letter from Sally Mugabe, January 1983

More information on these documents

Farenthold and Vaughan discuss how their collaboration started in a July 2011 interview with the Rapoport Center:

View the transcript.