Teleconference for women’s issues first of its kind

Dan Berglund

Organizers of the National Teleconference for Women in Higher Education say their event has developed a life of its own.
“It has really taken off,” said Rusty Barcel¢, conference chairman and vice president for multicultural affairs at the University. “The reaction to the conference has been encouraging and validating.”
The teleconference, which takes place March 27-29 at the Ted Mann Concert Hall on the West Bank, is designed to examine women’s issues heading into the next century.
“We wanted to raise awareness of issues for women and develop an action agenda for change,” said Anita Rios, teleconference coordinator. These issues, she said, involve both work and life issues for women in higher education.
Keynote speaker for the conference is Johnnetta Cole, presidentially distinguished professor of anthropology, women’s studies and African-American studies at Emory University. Hillary Rodham Clinton will provide opening remarks via videotape.
More than 400 people have already registered for the conference and pre-conference at the University, and Rios expects the total number of participants to exceed 750 before the March 1 registration deadline. National participation is hard to estimate, she added, but over 160 satellite sites have been established nationwide.
Topics for the teleconference will be determined by caucuses taking place at the University and three other regional sites in Texas, California and Virginia. Two teleconferences will then be broadcast live to all the satellite sites.
Organizers say the technologically advanced event is the first of its kind.
“I don’t think any other conference has done this before,” Rios said. She added the conference is the kind of forum needed to be created for everyone’s voice to be heard.
Barcel¢ said given the University’s rich history in women’s issues, it is the perfect location to host the teleconference.
“We had the country’s first women’s center in 1958 and continue to be a national leader in women’s issues,” said Barcel¢. She added the University’s 150th anniversary is the perfect time to highlight how far women have come — and how far they have yet to go.

Dan Berglund welcomes comments at [email protected]