The Cape Ann Museum, 27 Pleasant St., Gloucester, will present “Redefining Women: The Impact of the Revolution on Gender Ideology,” a lecture by scholar Carol Berkin, at 1 p.m. March 7.

Berkin is a presidential professor of history, emerita, of Baruch College and The Graduate Center, The City University of New York. Following the presentation, Elizabeth Matelski, professor of history at Endicott College in Beverly, will lead a conversation between Berkin and the audience about women’s suffrage.

Colonial society based its assumptions about women’s intellectual capacities, their nature and their appropriate roles in society on three pillars: God, nature and law and custom. The American Revolution played a major role in challenging the gender ideology that resulted. The “woman question,” debated by intellectuals like Judith Sargent Murray, Benjamin Rush and Susannah Rowson, led to a new paradigm for defining womanhood. While Murray was not actively involved in the women’s suffrage movement, the questions she posed and assumptions she challenged about equality between the sexes, particularly in the areas of education and intellectual capacity, were important in terms of laying the foundation for the suffrage movement as it unfolded during the first half of the 19th century.

This program was made possible through a partnership with the Terra Foundation and the Sargent House Museum and is offered in conjunction with the exhibition “Our Souls Are by Nature Equal to Yours: The Legacy of Judith Sargent Murray,” on display at the Cape Ann Museum through March 2020. Additional funding was received from Mass Humanities through “The Vote: A Statewide Conversation about Voting Rights,” an initiative of Mass Humanities that includes organizations around the state. Mass Humanities is supported by the Massachusetts Cultural Council and is an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Berkin received her Bachelor’s of Arts from Barnard College and her Ph.D. from Columbia University where her dissertation received the Bancroft Award in 1972. She has written extensively on women’s history and on the American Revolution, the creation of the Constitution, and the politics of the early Republic. Her books include “Jonathan Sewall: Odyssey of an American Loyalist,” which was nominated for the Pulitzer Prize; co-editor of “Women of America: A History,” the first published collection of original essays in American women’s history; “First Generations: Women in Colonial America”; “A Brilliant Solution: Inventing the American Constitution,” awarded the Colonial Dames of America Book Prize; “Revolutionary Mothers: Women in the Struggle for American Independence”; “Wondrous Beauty: The Life and Experiences of Elizabeth Patterson Bonaparte”; “The Bill of Rights: The Struggle to Secure America’s Liberties”; and most recently, “A Sovereign People: The Crises of the 1790s and the Birth of American Nationalism.”

Matelski has a Ph.D. in American history from Loyola University in Chicago. Her teaching interests include American pluralism, popular culture and incorporating the digital humanities in the classroom. Most recently she created an interdisciplinary public history concentration for Endicott`s history majors. She is currently writing a book chapter on the history of global beauty culture and conducting research for a new book on American youth, fitness and the federal government. Her research interests include 19th and 20th-century American history with an emphasis in women, gender, and sexuality, public history, popular culture, race, class and urban history.

This program is free and open to the public. Space is limited; reservations are required.

For information, call 978-283-0455, ext. 10, or visit