2013 SMU Women’s Symposium minds the age gap March 6

SMU Women's Symposium 'Mind the Age Gap' logoFor its 48th anniversary, the SMU Women’s Symposium is using a new format to explore age-old questions about the differences and common ground among generations.

Associate Professor of Management and Organizations Ellen Jackofsky and senior art history major Bekah Boyer will participate in a moderated discussion on this year’s theme, “Mind the Age Gap.” The Emmie V. Baine Lecture event will take place during lunch on Wednesday, March 6, 2013, in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballroom.

This year’s event promises to be “a very different kind of symposium,” says Karen Click, director of the SMU Women’s Center for Gender and Pride Initiatives. “I visit many different women’s organizations in Dallas, and most of their membership is over 60. They want my help in reaching out to younger women.”

But those efforts are hindered by “a feeling of incapability” shared across generations, Click says. “Younger women are worried about taking on the responsibility of keeping up the push for women’s rights. Older women are worried that their experience no longer matters. When women should be uniting to tackle issues, we’re stuck reinventing the wheel.”

This year’s event will focus on how those gaps affect the community, Click adds. “We see this specifically as an issue impacting Dallas, so we decided not to seek national speakers.”

> Find a complete list of 2013 SMU Women’s Symposium events

“We believe that each generation of women has something different to contribute,” says senior political science and management major Pooja Patel, co-chair of the Symposium’s CORE student planning committee. “By trying to minimize the ‘gap’ or disconnect between them, women’s groups in Dallas will be stronger and more effective.”

A variety of Symposium interest sessions will address topics ranging from the generationally shifting barriers to reproductive rights to how age affects women’s perceptions of appropriate (and inappropriate) fashion choices.

The Symposium is the oldest continuously running program of its kind in the country and attracts hundreds of community leaders, high school students and college students, faculty and staff members each year. And for some participants, including CORE co-chair Kimberly Elmazi, it’s a family legacy.

“All three of my elder sisters participated in CORE during their time at SMU,” says Elmazi, a junior political science and international studies major. “Eight years after my third eldest sister graduated from SMU, I joined the committee as a first-year. Now I’m a co-chair.”

More about the Symposium Student Planning CORE Committee

Elmazi is especially looking forward to the interest session “The Incredibles: Can You Have It All? Gender Roles and Reproductive Rights” because one of her sisters will be a speaker. “It’s funny how things have come full circle,” she says.

The Symposium will also recognize the winners of its 2013 Profiles in Leadership Awards and Gail Reese Ward Excellence in Mentoring Award. The recipients are:

Profiles in Leadership Awards

Gail Reese Ward Excellence in Mentoring Award

For more information, contact the Women’s Center for Gender and Pride Initiatives, 214-768-4792.

Kelsey Reynolds (’14) contributed to this article.

Learn more at the SMU Women’s Symposium website