Author Barbara Ehrenreich to Keynote at U of U Women’s Week

Feb. 24, 2005-Women’s Week at the University of Utah, Feb. 28 through March 4, is centered on the theme “Will Work for Change-Being Nickeled and Dimed in America” and will explore issues surrounding minimum wage, policy decisions, effective mentorship, earning a living wage, access to education and what aids women in obtaining greater financial security.


Barbara Ehrenreich, author of “Nickel and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America,” will give the Women’s Week keynote address on Wednesday, March. 2, at 10 a.m., in the Olpin Union Ballroom on the University of Utah campus. A book signing will follow. The event is free and open to the public.


Ehrenreich’s best-selling book chronicles her experiences going “undercover” as a minimum-wage worker-as a waitress, hotel maid, house cleaner, nursing home aid and WalMart salesperson-in Florida, Maine and Minnesota. Her purpose? To see whether her wages would cover her expenses. Her experiences revealed much about working conditions and the lives of low-income workers. Her book raised questions about minimum-wage laws, exploitation of vulnerable workers and management and corporate responsibility.


Prior to Ehrenreich’s address, the Women’s Week Committee and the U’s Presidential Commission on the Status of Women will present the sixth annual Linda K. Amos Award to an individual for Distinguished Service to Women at the University of Utah. The award recognizes a female staff or faculty member who has selflessly given time and energy to improve the educational and/or working environment for women at the U.


The Women’s Week Community Service Project, an annual tradition, will be a family information fair on dental care resources, which will be held on Monday, Feb. 28, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m., at the Sorenson Multicultural Center, located at 855 W. California Ave. To donate dental care products contact Sunny Gibson at 801-585-2430.


As part of Women’s Week, “Nickel and Dimed,” a play by Joan Holden, based on Ehrenreich’s book, and directed by University theatre student Carin Jean White, will be performed at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, located at 138 W. Broadway, in downtown Salt Lake City. A benefit performance of the play will be held on March 1, with a reception at 5 p.m., the play at 7 p.m. and a discussion with Barbara Ehrenreich at 9 p.m. Proceeds from the evening will be contributed to the Women’s Resource Center at the University of Utah. Tickets for the benefit performance are $25. Free tickets for the March 2 and 3 performances, to begin at 7 p.m., are required. Tickets for all of the performances may be obtained at all ArtTix outlets, including the U of U Union Main Desk, or by calling 801-355-ARTS (2787).


“My Women of Color Friends,” new paintings by Women’s Week featured artist V. Kim Martinez, an assistant professor in the U’s Department of Art and Art History, will be exhibited at the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center from March 1 through 3. The exhibit will then move to the U of U Women’s Resource Center, room 293 of the Olpin Union Building, where they will be on display until March 31.


A campus/community panel, “From Paycheck to Reality Check,” will be held Thursday, March 3, at noon, in the U of U Marriot Library’s Gould Auditorium. Panelists from the campus and community will address work and wage issues and offer insight into how women can achieve greater financial stability. The panel will be moderated by Lisa Flores, director of the University’s Ethnic Studies Program and associate professor of Communication. Panelists will include Leisha Langston, economist, Utah Work Force Services; Karen Shaffer, human resource project manager, UniShippers; Diana Thomas, executive director, The Single Mom Foundation; Lorna Vogt, director, Utah Progressive Network (UpNet).


Women’s Week is presented by the Office of the Associate Vice President for Diversity and the Women’s Week Committee. Sponsors include the Office of the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs, Office of the Senior Vice President for Health Sciences, Office of the Vice President for University Relations, the Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, the Sorenson Multicultural Center, University Marketing & Communications and the U of U Women’s Resource Center.


Women’s Week at the University of Utah recognizes and celebrates the historical and contemporary contributions of women. For more than two decades, the annual event has created a forum for the campus and community to discuss issues that affect all women. All Women’s Week events, except for the March 1 benefit performance of “Nickel and Dimed,” are free and open to the public. For more information on Women’s Week, go to www.womensweek.utah.edu/2005/ or call 801-581-7659.

Media Contacts For This Story