Women's Achievements and Global Health on the Agenda for October Events

by Sommer Spector, NOW National Action Center Staff

As part of the extended October weekend that is the World March of Women 2000, NOW is planning a conference in Washington, D.C., leading up to and following the March for an end to violence against women and poverty. (See more on the March.) Two symposiums will look back at women who made a difference over the last century and look toward the future of women's health around the globe.

On Oct. 12-14, NOW, the Women's Institute for Sport and Education (WISE) and the White House Millennium Council will hold "A Century of Women: The National Symposium of Recognition" to highlight the contributions women have made over the past century. The conference will break on Sunday for the World March of Women 2000 and reconvene on Monday, Oct. 16, for the Women's International Symposium on Health (WISH).

Attendees at "A Century of Women" will participate in workshops and help develop position papers on the needs of women in 2000. On Saturday leaders from 17 different fields will be honored at a recognition dinner.

Honors will be given to women whose accomplishments and resolve most echo Susan B. Anthony's words: "Forget conventionalisms; forget what the world will say, whether you are in your place or out of your place; think your best thoughts, speak your best words, looking to your own conscience for approval."

"That's really the heart of the women selected," says Laurel Dagnon, the executive director of WISE. "They have taken a lot of chances for us all."

WISE inducted NOW into the Sports Hall of Fame in 1995. Other inductees of WISE's Hall of Fame include: Georgia O'Keeffe for art and architecture; Mother Jones for labor; Ella Fitzgerald for performance; Madeleine Albright for government and public service; Sandra Day O'Connor, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Janet Reno for law; Maya Angelou for literature; Ms. Magazine for media; and Bella Abzug, Geraldine Ferraro and Carol Moseley-Braun for politics.

On Monday, following the World March of Women 2000, the Women's International Symposium on Health takes place. WISH is a joint venture between the NOW Foundation and WISE, featuring speakers, workshops and roundtables on issues affecting women's health worldwide.

WISH will have an intergenerational theme, including a focus on young women's health, participation in sports and tobacco use. The NOW Foundation continues to work on these important issues through its Women's Health Project. Most recently the Women's Health Project has addressed issues such as body image and the impact of tobacco, alcohol and fashion advertising on women's health, particularly in the Love Your Body Day campaign.

Established in 1991, WISE is a leading organization in developing women's platforms on equality in health, athletics and education. WISE promotes scholastic and professional growth with an eye on helping women attain leadership roles in society. The organization achieves its goals by providing scholarships for young athletes and through symposiums with historical and contemporary perspectives.

The White House Millennium Council was established in 1997 by President Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton as a co-sponsor of projects that welcome the millennium by envisioning the future and honoring the past. NOW is pleased to partner with both WISE and the Millennium Council to help commemorate the millennium through women's accomplishments.

"D.C. will be the place to be in October with all of the exciting events taking place," says NOW President Patricia Ireland. "A Century of Women, the Women's International Symposium on Health and the World March of Women 2000 promise to send participants back to their communities re-energized, focused and ready to elect a government that is responsive to women's and girls' needs."

As registration and other information on the symposiums becomes available, NOW will post it at www.worldmarch.org.

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