Symposium to discuss status of equality for women in the world

The 2012 Oakland Symposium, with the theme “Empowering Women in the Global Community,” will take place on March 21.

Hosted by Oakland University Student Congress, the day-long event will feature a keynote speaker and several panels dedicated to discussion of women’s status around the world and ways to better it.

Samantha Wolf, OUSC legislative affairs director and one of the event’s principal organizers, discussed how the idea for the event came about.

“We want to show that there’s still an issue that women and girls are treated negatively on all continents and then inspire a motivating thesis that we can actually still do something about this,” she said. “We can solve the problem through economic, social (and) cultural issues.”

The event kicks off at 9 a.m. with a keynote address by Sheryl WuDunn, Pulitzer prize-winning author of “Half the Sky,” a book depicting the struggles of women in Africa and Asia.

“She’s a phenomenal speaker and definitely a human rights leader,” Ben Eveslage, OUSC president, said. “I think it will be really great to be able to listen to what she has to say.”

Following the keynote, attendees will be given the opportunity to attend a number of panel discussions. Morning panels include “Not for Sale II,” a discussion of sex trafficking and a dissection of the social challenges for women in the 21st century.

During the lunch period, there will be a panel on women’s disability issues.

The first session of the afternoon panels will feature a discussion of the social and political status of women in various areas of the world.

The second panel will be a discussion of legal issues.

The second set of the afternoon sessions includes the topics of politics and media, religion and poverty.

Wolf talked about the importance of the panels.

“Everyone thinks we’re equal, but in reality it’s not,” she said. “It would be cool to highlight all the things that women have to do and what students at Oakland University can do.”

Following th

e panels, interested students can attend “OU Dream Day,” described as a chance for attendees to network with panelists and discuss their aspirations.

“I know sometimes you go to events and you think, ‘well look at all these amazing, esteemed individuals that are able to speak to me about all these different topics, but how did they get to where they’re at?’” Eveslage said. “This is the opportunity for students to be able to ask these people those questions.”

Evening activities begin with a dinner open to donors and a limited number of students.

The dinner will feature talks from Harpreet Saluja, vice president Eaton Corporation; Carolyn Woznicki vice president global purchasing Johnson Controls; and Mamatha Chamarthi, vice president and chief Information officer Consumers Energy.

It will focus on how women can break through barriers to advancement in business.

The evening will conclude with Grizzposé, an event featuring fashion, talent and music.

Money raised in all events will go towards building a school in India.

Students can register online at

For more information contact Samantha Wolf at (248) 370-4290, or email her at [email protected]



Contact staff reporter Kevin Graham via email at [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @KevinGraham88