Women’s Week will promote mentoring

March is Women’s History month, and universities across the nation are putting on special events focusing on women’s issues. This week is the annual Women’s Week at the U.
This year’s theme is “Learning through Giving: Mentoring Young Women.” Throughout the week, the U will present speakers, events and activities centered around bringing women together from different generations to create a multi-layered dialogue about mentoring and finding one’s passion.
“We’re having an event that brings together women from different generations to have a moment of mentoring,” said Susie Porter, director of gender studies. “This year we hope to connect U students with opportunities to be mentored or to work as a mentor.”
Porter said the theme of mentoring young women is particularly important in Utah. The wage gap between genders in Utah is the third largest in the nation, and the high school drop-out rates for women are in the bottom third nationwide. Utah is also below the national average for percentage of female college undergraduates.
The activities kick off Monday with a concert at David P. Gardner Hall. Musicians from Salt Lake City and Seattle will join U singers in playing the works of Hildegard von Bingen.
Kim Hackford-Peer, associate director of gender studies at the U, said Hildegard was one of the first women to seriously compose music, and she engaged in a great deal of mentoring with other women.
Throughout the week there will be panel discussions, film and documentary screenings and lectures about women and mentoring. A community march against sexual violence will take place on Thursday. The march is part of “Take Back the Night,” an internationally recognized event aimed at increasing awareness about crimes against women.
New to the activities this year is the announcement of the first Dolores C. Huerta award in recognition of young women’s grassroots activism. Huerta, a lifelong community activist, received an honorarium for a speaking engagement from the U but returned the money, asking that it be used to establish a scholarship for young women.
“We are thrilled to be able to honor Huerta,” Porter said. “[She] has been an inspiration to many of us who work for community empowerment.”
Recipients of the award will be young women engaged in a semester-long community project and will receive $1,000.