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Lecture aims to focus on women's issues

By Megan Jackson
On September 9, 2005

“When the World Takes Care of Women, Women Take Care of the World,” is the message Jane Roberts wants University of Memphis students and staff to get September 13 in room 311 of the University Center.

The objective of the lecture is to raise consciousness of womens’ rights and address how it affects society.

Roberts was invited to speak at The U of M by Elokin CaPece, a graduate student in women’s studies and research.

“I was bringing Jane here before I started at The U of M through the Women’s Action Coalition (WAC), which has had long connections with The University,” CaPece said.

She knows Roberts personally because her active history.

Roberts was nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for her involvement in creating 34 Million Friends of UNFPA, or the United Nations Population Fund, a global fund established in 1971.

“When I told the department about Jane coming, they were excited as I was,” she said.

The organization’s mission statement, found on, is “ reduce poverty and to ensure that every pregnancy is wanted, every birth is safe, every young person is free of HIV/AIDS, and every girl and woman is treated with dignity and respect.”

As of Sept. 5, 34 Million Friends has made nearly $2.7 million since its formation in 2002.

Nele Hempel, director of womens’ studies and a German professor at The U of M, feels the message is important and needs an audience.

“Her organization aims to make men and women aware of the issues,” Hempel said. “This is not just a global issue, but an American one as well.”

Shara Clark, a junior journalism major, agreed.

“I think it is a very important issue. It is best for people everywhere and it is universal,” she said.

Some people think there are more important matters at hand than family planning.

“It’s just not as important as other stuff,” said Joel Revalee, a junior physics major. “When you put it in perspective, family planning just does not compare.”

Awareness of the plight of women in the world is the main focus for Tuesday’s guest lecture.

“She’s raised resources and spread information for something (she is) passionate about just by telling people about it,” CaPese said.

Hempel agreed.

“It is a matter of raising awareness,” she said. “I hope people come out and form their own opinions.”

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