She was the first dean of women at Northwestern University, founder of the World's Woman's Christian Temperance Union, and first president of the National Council of Women.
Frances Willard defended women being public speakers:
"The masses of the people have forsaken God's house, and solace themselves in the saloons or the Sunday newspaper.
But the masses will go to hear women when they speak.
Every woman who leads a life of weekday holiness, has the Gospel in her looks, however plain her face and dress may be, has round her head the sweet Madonna's halo, in the eyes of every man who sees her.
She speaks to him with the cadence of his own mother's voice. The devil knew what he was doing when he exhausted sophistry to keep woman down and silent ...
Men have been preaching well nigh two thousand years, and the large majority of the converts have been women.
Suppose now that women should share the preaching power, might it not be reasonably expected that a majority of the converts under their administration would be men?
Indeed, how else are the latter to have a fair chance at the Gospel? ... Why, then should the pulpit be shorn of half its power?"