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Episode 122


Utah Women's History

Show Notes

10/22/2019 | 57 Minutes

Katherine is the Historical Director at Better Days 2020, a Utah Women’s History non-profit organization honoring the Suffrage anniversaries in the next year. She spent formidable years in Germany, seeing a world and a way of life outside of the familiar. Learning about world history and feeling a personal connection to the past has been an important element through her entire life and dictates her current pursuits. It is through learning history that we learn to empathize.


Education: German Studies and International Relations undergrad, a master’s degree in Public Policy, and a Ph.D in American History. As she describes, slowly working on her dissertation on The Rhetoric of Mormon Women’s Suffrage Petitioning. Let’s be honest, Katherine is incredibly smart and accomplished. 


Early settler women in Utah were among the first women to ever cast ballots in the United States, and the only group of women from whom Congress took voting privileges away. So how did Utah Women protect their voting rights and connect with national Women’s Suffrage leaders? 


  • Hiking and Traveling, taking advantage of landscapes out west. And the places she’d like to travel to the most are the places she’s barely scratched the surface on traveling. Istanbul, for example, tops her list because of the layers upon layers of artists and influences from cultures visible in the architecture and life. 

  • Anything German / Austrian. She lived in Germany as a child – her dad was a German History professor, and studied German as an undergrad. There’s a familiarity there for her and she loves the dependable and punctual way of life. 

  • Connecting with People: As a “Historian in Training,” she likes to understand people stories and finding out why things are they way that they are. 

  • Learning new stories about people, learning about the people where you live: Katherine now lives in Utah and is fascinated learning about the process women fought for to pass the 19th Amendment (Congress can’t withhold voting rights based on gender), how that process somewhat converged on Utah. We share many stories about this process and about these fascinating women in our nation’s history. 

  • A desire to change the way we think about the past. A drive to know why things are the way they are, how we got to now. More than knowing names and memorizing important dates, understanding the stories of those who came before is the best way to learn empathy and put it into practice among all people around us.  


  • The layout and execution of museums. Granted, museums are limited by the articles they have access to, but many times museums and exhibits are a collection of stuff, and not as much a unifying story. Ben prefers that museums tell him where to go, he wants to make sure he sees everything. Do you meander through a museum, or is there a better way to tell the story in the museum. The Holocaust museum does this wonderfully. 

  • When people refer to Suffragists as “Suffragettes” – the former term is the correct term. The latter term has both a diminutive feel to it, as well as a radical connotation to the women in the UK fighting for similar rights, and eventually accepting the slang that was given to them. If we want to honor their efforts, we should call them what they called themselves, Suffragists. 

  • Benevolent sexism: Her non-profit is sending a statue of Dr. Martha Hughes Cannon, and while they’re feeling supported, the reaction they get from the majority of male representatives is, “Yes, I love women. I’m so nice to women. Let’s let you have this.” Kind of tone. All types of people should be represented in our public iconography. 



Episode transcript coming soon.

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