Women make up more than half of the world population, 70 percent of the world’s poor, and 65 percent of the world’s illiterate.
A majority of refugees, migrants, domestic laborers and victims of sexual and physical violence are also women.
Though the “fairer sex” has certainly made strides toward socio-economic equality over the past three decades, there remains a stark contrast between the male and female experience across the globe. SUU Women’s Week will offer seminars, films, panels and activities all designed to bring these realities to understanding – and hopefully, progress.
Women’s Week, which actually runs March 2-4 and 9-11, is unique, according to Women’s Week Chair Shobha Gurung, in that it “brings community workers, students and scholars together and provides a platform to share and disseminate knowledge, information and experiences.”
The week’s overarching theme, “Ways of Knowing, Ways of Being,” will also be complemented by a daily topic for each of the six days of Women’s Week.
These daily themes of envision, educate, empower, evolve, engage and enlighten, will bring many well-known local, national and international scholars together to share their experiences and visions about gender’s role in many social, economic and political issues.
Highlights of the week will include a convocation lecture from Lori Arviso Alvord, the first Navajo woman to become board certified in surgery; a keynote address from Mary Romero, professor of justice studies and social inquiry at Arizona State University; and a “Lighten Up” panel presented by SUU professors Sage Platt and Patricia Paystrup.
Of particular note to the local crowd will be opening remarks from SUU Vice President for Student Services Donna Eddleman and former vice president for student services at SUU Georgia Beth Thompson at 9 a.m. on opening day, March 2.
Participation for all events is open to the public and is free of charge.
Although Women’s Week is now one of the great events on SUU’s campus, it wasn’t always so. In the early years of Women’s Week at SUU, there were few participants. According to Shobha Gurung, Women’s Week chair, the enrollment in the event increased from four students in 2008 to more than 80 students in 2009.
Gurung credits the growing success of the event to the increasing demands for recognition of women’s issues. “Women’s Week is vital for recognizing women’s historical struggles, challenges, and contributions as we seek empowerment in social, political, and economic rights. It connects us locally and globally, and affirms our collectivity and sisterhood,” she says.
Women’s Week falls during a very appropriate time, as March is Women’s History Month, with International Women’s Day on March 8. SUU’s festivities will be replicated in various forms across the globe in consideration of the issues facing women today.
Students interested in Women’s Week can sign up for upper or lower-division credit earned through attending various activities throughout the week. This credit is available to all students. More information is available on the Women’s Week website.