March 15, 2023


*Note: The livestream recording of this event is available here.

University President Dr. Peter Kilpatrick is launching his Presidential Speaker Series at The Catholic University of America on March 21 with a conversation on women and gender from a Catholic perspective with Abigail Favale. The discussion, which is open to the public, begins at 6 p.m. in Heritage Hall and will be followed by a reception.

Favale, a professor at the McGrath Institute for Church Life at the University of Notre Dame, will draw on her recent book The Genesis of Gender: A Christian TheoryFree copies of the book will be available at the event.

“I want to help Catholics feel confident in having meaningful conversations about gender in a time of great confusion and polarization and conflict,” said Favale, who has an academic background in gender studies and feminist literary criticism. “I really hope that the people who come are hungry for real conversation and want to go deeper.”

The new series, which will be ongoing, intends to foster dialogue in the University community on important and challenging topics.

“I'm hugely honored to be the inaugural speaker (of this series),” said Favale. “I've given a lot of talks at a lot of amazing universities, but this is the national Catholic University; it’s a big deal.”

Favale encouraged people with all perspectives on the topic to bring their questions and thoughts to the event.

“Anyone who is willing to engage with goodwill is welcome,” said Favale. “We need to learn how to talk about this, to have charitable and substantive conversations about this, because it's affecting real people.”

Favale uses multiple resources from the Catholic Church to provide a deeper understanding on gender. 

“There's just this treasure trove in Catholic thought and tradition,” she said. “I think the Catholic Church is carrying the torch on the dignity of the body in our culture right now in a way that no one else is.”

Favale said having this conversation during Women’s History Month, celebrated every March, is appropriate since the gender debate hinges on the question “What is a woman?”

“What does Women's History Month even mean? Who are we celebrating at this point?” said Favale. “Because right now, our culture seems to be very confused about how one can answer that question. The fraught territory seems to be the territory of women, that's where the battle lines are drawn.”

For a list of Women’s History Month events at the University, visit here