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U of U Women’s Week 2007 Explores Matters of Motherhood

Feb. 27, 2007 — “When we women offer our experience as our truth, as human truth, all the maps change,” writes American author Ursula Le Guin.

Women’s Week 2007 at the University of Utah (the U), to be held next week, March 9 through 15, will explore the changing map of motherhood through shared experience of its challenges, complications and new definitions. All Women’s Week events are free and open to the public.

“Women’s Week is a yearly experience at the U when women and men who are academics, students, and community members come together to celebrate women’s achievements and map out the work we women still have ahead of us,” explains Gerda Saunders, associate professor and associate director of the U’s Gender Studies Program and chair of the Women’s Week Committee.

“This year, Julianne Malveaux and Susan Douglas will offer their truths about the unfinished business of motherhood. Campus and community experts will contribute to the conversation in a panel discussion, a film and discussion, an art exhibit, and the recounting of personal experiences in the Mommy Monologues.”

Authors Julianne Malveaux and Susan Douglas will deliver the Women’s Week keynote addresses on Wednesday, March 14 at noon and Thursday, March 15 at 7 p.m. in the Olpin Union Salt Air Room, respectively.

Recognized for her provocative, progressive and insightful observations, Dr. Julianne Malveaux, an economist, author and commentator, has been described by Cornel West as “the most iconoclastic public intellectual in the country.” Her contributions to the public dialogue on issues such as race, culture, gender, and their economic impacts, are helping to shape public opinion in America.

As a writer and columnist, her work appears regularly in USA Today, Black Issues in Higher Education, Ms., Essence and the Progressive. Her weekly columns have appeared in numerous newspapers across the country including the Los Angeles Times, the Charlotte Observer, the New Orleans Tribune, the Detroit Free Press, and the San Francisco Examiner.

Well-known for appearances on national network programs, Malveaux is a charismatic and popular guest on a variety of shows. She appears regularly on CNN, BET, as well as on Howard University’s Television show Evening Exchange. She has appeared on To The Contrary, Politically Incorrect, O’Reilly Factor and stations such as C-SPAN, MSNBC and CNBC. She has hosted talk radio programs in Washington, San Francisco and New York.

Prior to Malveaux’s address on Wednesday, the Women’s Week 2007 Committee and the U’s Presidential Commission on the Status of Women will present the ninth 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. This year’s recipient is Kathy Brook, former director of the U Women’s Resource Center.

Susan Douglas is the Catherine Neafie Kellogg Professor of communication studies at The University of Michigan and chair of the department. She is author of The Mommy Myth: The Idealization of Motherhood and How it Undermines Women; Listening In: Radio and the American Imagination, which won the Hacker Prize in 2000 for the best popular book about technology and culture; Where The Girls Are; and Growing Up Female with the Mass Media.

She has lectured at colleges and universities around the country, and has written for The Nation, In These Times, The Village Voice, Ms., The Washington Post and TV Guide, and was media critic for The Progressive from 1992 to 1998. Her column “Back Talk” appears monthly in In These Times.

Douglas has also appeared on The Today Show, The CBS Early Show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, Working Woman, CNBC’s Equal Time, NPR’s Fresh Air, Weekend Edition, The Diane Rehm Show, Talk of the Nation, Michael Feldman’s Whad’ya Know and various radio talk shows around the country.

Where the Girls Are was widely praised and chosen one of the top ten books of 1994 by National Public Radio, Entertainment Weekly and The McLaughlin Group.

Book signings by the King’s English Bookshop will immediately follow both keynote addresses.

This year’s Women’s Week art exhibit will be held March 5 through March 16 in the Bailey Exhibition Hall of the College of Architecture, 375 S. 1530 E., on the University of Utah campus. The 2007 exhibit will feature the work of Alice Perrault, whose experience as the mother of a six year-old son born with quadriplegic cerebral palsy and epilepsy is the focus of her work. An exhibit reception will be held Monday, March 12 in the Bailey Exhibition Hall from 4 to 6 p.m. Hours for the exhibit are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The Women’s Week feature film will be Mother Superior, a short film exploring the impact of methamphetamine use among women with children in Utah. As an Official Selection of the 2007 Sundance Film Festival, Mother Superior was one of 71 short films selected from 4,445 submissions. The film was produced and directed by two emerging young filmmakers, Alex Mack (19) and Diana Montero (20), who made Sundance history as the youngest filmmakers in the 2007 festival. This 22-minute Spy Hop documentary explores a side of motherhood many people don’t see. The feature film will be screened on Friday, March 9 at 7 p.m. in the Olpin Union Theater, 200 S. Central Campus Drive, and will be followed by a discussion with the filmmakers and Theresa Martinez, an associate professor of sociology and assistant vice president for academic outreach at the University of Utah.

An information table will be set up at the March 9-15 Women’s Week events, providing information on and collecting donations for the Crisis Nursery, which is a 24-hour center providing free respite and emergency childcare.

Women’s Week will also present the Mommy Monologues, a production exploring a wide range of voices and experiences related to motherhood. Selected by a panel of judges, the submissions consider experiences related to motherhood within the context of race, ethnicity, class, gender expression, sexuality, social constructions of motherhood, working, unemployed and single mothers, women who have chosen not to have children, lesbian/bisexual/gay parents and mothering in a religious context. The “Mommy Monologues” will be performed on Monday, March 12 at 7 p.m. at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts auditorium, 410 Campus Center Drive. A reception will follow.

A campus/community panel, “On the Clock,” will be held Tuesday, March 13 at noon in the Olpin Union East Ballroom, 200 South Central Campus Drive. Panelists from the campus and community will discuss the successes and pitfalls of women and mothers balancing life in the workforce and how the traditional roles of women are continually being challenged.

Leo Leckie, executive assistant to the Associate Vice President for Diversity anticipates Women’s Week 2007 to be a thought-provoking, multifaceted look at motherhood. “We’ve invited filmmakers, artists, economists, scholars and writers to explore the complexities around the identities and representations of motherhood in the 21st century,” he says.

Women’s Week is presented by the Office of the Associate Vice President for Diversity and the Women’s Week Committee. Sponsors include the College of Architecture, 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 and University Marketing and Communications.

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. For more information on Women’s Week, visit or call the Office of the Associate Vice President for Diversity at 801-581-7659.