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Women on Wednesday
Women on

Fall 2012
St Cloud State University | Women's Center

Events and Programming

The Vagina Monologues
7:00pm Atwood Ballroom
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Sunday, February 15, 2009

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Women on Wednesday Fall 2012
Creating Solutions: The War on Women Must Stop

Download Program Guide (pdf)

Atwood Theatre 12:00 pm- 1:00 pm

Women on Wednesday Fall 2012 Schedule

Creating Solutions: The War on Women Must Stop

Over the last two years, there have been shocking examples of attacks on women’s rights. Rape has been redefined using less strict criteria, in order to make it more difficult for women to have abortions. Planned Parenthood has been defunded in some states, limiting accessibility to affordable services for birth control, STD testing and abortion. A budget was proposed that would cut over $750 million from the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children, a program of the federal government that supports low-income pregnant women, breast feeding women and children under the age of five. Women’s rights activist Sandra Fluke was called a “slut” and “prostitute” by right-wing talk radio host Rush Limbaugh because she dared to voice support for no-cost birth control.

This well-documented political, economic and social assault on women’s rights has become so radical and widespread, that it has been popularly termed the “War on Women.” It’s taken some in society by surprise because of its seeming swiftness and its depth of disrespect for the autonomous and legitimate choices women make. But the recent anti-woman actions by
Congress and state legislatures across the country have demonstrated over and over that there is a forceful element in U.S. culture that seeks to control women’s lives and choices.

This Women on Wednesday series is designed to inform our campus and community about policies and laws that put women’s rights—and lives— at risk. Our presenters will examine the key issues at stake, their history and motives. The series will also highlight solutions for supporting the full political, economic and social rights of women in the U.S. Given the current anti-woman climate and the vast amount of anti-woman legislation, 2012 is a decisive election year. Your votes in this election will determine whether women’s rights are supported or taken away.

mp3September 19, 2012
The Freedom to Marry: What’s at stake for people in Minnesota

A broad coalition of organizations and community and business leaders has formed in Minnesota in response to the proposed constitutional amendment to stop gay marriage from ever being legal in this state. This coalition is founded on a strong belief in the power of marriage. The belief that marriage and family are about love and commitment, working together, bettering the community, raising children and growing old together is at the core of their efforts. In summary, marriage matters. To all.


  • Robynne Curlee is a Minnesota native who began her community organizing career through the Women’s Resource Center at the University of Minnesota- Morris. She is currently the Regional Organizing Director–North Metro for MN United for All Families. Curlee’s experience includes serving as the community organizer and executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota and program coordinator with the Nonprofit Voter Engagement Network. She is also a licensed secondary social studies teacher and spent a year and a half teaching in Thailand and India. Curlee is motivated to vote no on the marriage amendment and works on the campaign because she would someday like to have the freedom to get married. She lives in St. Paul with her partner of 3 ½ years, Abby, their dog Kona, and cat Mini.

mp3 September 26, 2012:
Women’s Leadership on Voting Rights

The League of Women Voters is a non-partisan political organization that encourages informed and active participation in government and influences public policy through education and advocacy. After careful study and discussion, the Minnesota League of Women Voters chose to oppose the Voter ID constitutional amendment that will be voted on by the electorate in November 2012. Come learn more about voting rights, women’s leadership and the League’s reasons for opposing photo ID requirements.


  • Laura Fredrick Wang is the Executive Director of the League of Women Voters of Minnesota. She has been with the organization since 2006, first serving as the Public Policy Coordinator. Frederick Wang is a graduate of Metropolitan State University and is currently a Masters in Public Affairs candidate at the University of Minnesota’s Humphrey Institute. She has worked previously in public policy and community organizing in the nonprofit sector, for federal, state, and city government, as well as managing political campaigns.

mp3 October 3, 2012:
Immigration Reform in the Lives of Asian Pacific Island Women

Immigrant Asian women are vital contributors to the economic and cultural health of our communities. Conversely, as outlined in a position paper by NAPAWF on Immigration Reform, immigrant Asian women are often at the bottom of the economic ladder and, thus, at risk of sexual harassment, exploitation and discrimination. Further, some of the longest wait times for entry into the U.S. are for family members from China, India and the Philippines. In fact, six out of the top ten countries with the most backlogs are in Asia, and Asians comprise 32 percent of all family-based immigrants. The need for immigration reform overall, sensible and humane enforcement strategies and access to social services and support for all immigrant and refugee women will be discussed.


  • Miriam Yeung is the Executive Director of the National Asian Pacific American Women’s Forum (NAPAWF). She guides the country’s only national, multi-issue, progressive organization dedicated to social justice and human rights for Asian and Pacific Islander women and girls in the US. With offices in NYC and DC, and chapters in 11 cities including St. Cloud, MN, NAPAWF’s current priorities include winning rights for immigrant women, organizing nail salon workers for safer working conditions, conducting community-based participatory research with young API women and ending human trafficking.

mp3October 10, 2012:

The data is crystal clear; women running for elected office are far more likely to author and support legislation that expands women’s rights and their interests than men. This fact has served as a catalyst for the development of initiatives and organizations committed to electing progressive women and supporting women’s rights.

One such organization, womenwinning, is the only non-partisan, pro-choice women’s organization with both a state and federal Political Action Committee (PAC) in the state of Minnesota. Their mission is to encourage, promote and support pro-choice women’s leadership in all political parties and at all levels of public office, from Park Board to President of the United States. We are pleased to include a session that outlines a successful solution to the problem of the underrepresentation of women in elected office.


  • Lauren Beechman is the executive director of womenwinning. She joined womenwinning in January of 2012. As one of Minnesota’s most successful political fundraisers, Beechman comes to womenwinning from her position as Minnesota Finance Director to United States Senator Al Franken. Prior to that, she raised nearly $5 million for a womenwinning-endorsed congressional campaign in 2010 – placing the candidate as among the top Democratic challengers nationwide for the election cycle. Beechman began her political career working as Deputy Finance Director on Senator Franken’s 2008 campaign and also worked on Mayor Chris Coleman’s 2009 campaign. A Saint Paul native, Beechman attended Cretin-Derham Hall High School and graduated from the University of Saint Thomas. She brings an extensive background in Minnesota politics and fundraising to this position.
  • Susy Bates joined womenwinning in February 2011. She guided the creation and implementation of the Political Recruitment and Training program where in 2011 alone, Bates led the organization to an undefeated record in 5 Special Elections wins for open seats to the Minnesota Legislature. Prior to her work at womenwinning, Bates was a Regional Field and Political Director for 2 Congressional Districts for the Margaret Anderson Kelliher for Governor Campaign where she helped secure a major party endorsement for the first time for any woman running for Governor in Minnesota. Bates then transitioned as the CD 5 Regional Field Director to the DFL Coordinated Campaign following the endorsement and managed operations for Mark Dayton during the recount in Hennepin County. Prior to her work in Minnesota, she served as a Regional Organizer for Planned Parenthood in Iowa and as a Field Organizer for the Iowans for Hillary Campaign. Originally from Denver, Colorado, Bates attended the University of Colorado in Boulder where she received a double degree in Journalism and Women and Gender Studies.

mp3October 17, 2012:
Reproductive Health Care for All

The need for family planning and reproductive health care for any woman who wants it has been woven into the fabric of health care service in this nation. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention calls family planning one of the ten greatest public health achievements of the Twentieth Century, both for its impact on women and its effect on the health and well-being of parents, children, and families. In spite of these important successes, the Minnesota Legislature and Congress have attacked Planned Parenthood, the nation’s largest provider of mainstream health care including gynecological exams, contraceptive supplies, education and counseling. Why? Learn more about the history and future of women’s reproductive health choices.


  • Tim Stanley has been working in the pro-choice movement for nearly 20 years starting with NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota as a graduate student intern and ending in a successful ten-year career as Executive Director. During his decade as Executive Director of NARAL Pro-Choice Minnesota, he became a leader in the NARAL affiliate network that culminated with service on the Board of Directors of NARAL Pro-Choice America. Presently, Stanley is the Executive Director of the Planned Parenthood of Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota Action Fund. In this role, the native New Englander provides oversight to the affiliate’s legislative advocacy efforts, in addition to its work to educate and mobilize voters for reproductive health and freedom. In a parallel role, Stanley is the Senior director of Public Affairs, leading a dedicated and energetic team to develop and implement organizing and political strategies that advance public policy supportive of affordable health care and reproductive health and freedom.

mp3March 24, 2012:
Maintaining a Strong Violence Against Women Act

The Violence Against Women Act was first passed in 1994 with strong bi-partisan support in both chambers of Congress. Unfortunately, after two reauthorizations with strong bi-partisan support, the U. S. House of Representatives passed a version of the bill opposed by policy advocates fighting sexual assault and domestic violence because of exclusionary language. The National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women, a coalition of a large and diverse group of national, tribal, state, territorial and local organizations, and individuals, has been urging Congress to “swiftly pass a VAWA that includes all victims.” As this brochure goes to print, VAWA has not been reauthorized by the 112th Congress. Join us as policy experts discuss the reasons for the controversy and the details of one of the most important pieces of legislation affecting services for women in the U.S.


  • Donna Dunn became the Executive Director of MNCASA in July, 2006. Prior to this, she served as the program manager of the Sexual Violence Justice Institute, the criminal justice arm of the coalition. An activist in the movement to end violence against women, Dunn has over 20 years of experience in community based private non-profits. She was the director of Victim Services of Dodge/Fillmore/Olmsted Community Corrections and served as the Sexual Assault Program Director for the state of Minnesota. Dunn has lectured on team collaboration and sexual assault response across the U.S. She believes that multidisciplinary collaboration brings together the community forces that need to be working in tandem to stop violence against women. Dunn is a graduate of Gustavus Adolphus College and Vanderbilt University.
  • For over a decade, Rebekah Moses has been active in the anti-violence and anti-oppression movements. She strives to practice liberation-based advocacy: a human-rights approach to intersections of sexual and domestic violence (S/ DV) and all forms of structural oppression. In 2012, she joined the Minnesota Coalition for Battered Women as a Program Manager for policy and public affairs. Prior to MCBW, Moses worked at the Kansas Coalition Against Sexual and Domestic Violence where she coordinated the statewide implementation of the Family Violence Option’s federal TANF waivers for S/DV survivors. She was also honored to serve as a bilingual community-based advocate at ¡Sí, se puede! Victim Services Program in Kansas City, KS. She graduated from the University of Kansas and is grateful to have known and collaborated with so many inspiring folks.

mp3October 31, 2012:
Legislating and Leading: One Woman’s Story of Making a Difference

Susan Allen has experienced discrimination and social inequality first-hand. She saw her parents and other American Indians experience discrimination in their attempt to secure economic resources and health care. In spite of these challenges, or perhaps partially because of them, Representative Allen is working hard to end social inequality on multiple fronts. On January 10, 2012, she was the first American Indian woman elected to the Minnesota State Legislature. Representative Allen is currently working to address a myriad of policy issues affecting many of her constituents, including bank and mortgage lenders accountability, tax fairness, health care accessibility, substance abuse, poverty, school bullying and marriage equality. She will discuss key political issues in the upcoming legislative session, her experience being an openly gay, American Indian, female representative in the Minnesota Legislature, and advice and encouragement to women considering a run for public office.


  • Representative Susan Allen is the first American Indian woman elected to the Minnesota Legislature. She is Lakota, Dakota and Anishinabe. Representative Allen is serving her first term in the legislature and is an experienced tax and tribal law attorney. She is public spirited and community minded as demonstrated by her considerable nonprofit and pro-bono work. Representative Allen holds a B.A. in economics from Augsburg College, a J.D. from the University of New Mexico School of Law; and LL.M. in taxation fromWilliam Mitchell College of Law. She is a passionate advocate for economic and social justice and a strong voice and role model for women of all backgrounds.

mp3November 7, 2012:
The Audacity to Resist: Black Women and Community Politics in the Obama Era

The presenter’s talk will discuss distinctive modes of resistance that black women have used to combat racialized poverty, homo-and transphobia, and racist-sexist imagery in the media. This voice-centered discussion will engage with the freshest thinking in black feminist and black queer activism while showcasing on the ground political activism by African American women’s tireless work to create more progressive, intersectional dialogues on race and politics in the U.S.


  • Dr. Zenzele Isoke is an Assistant Professor of Gender, Women, and Sexuality Studies at the University of Minnesota. She teaches courses in feminist theory and methods, women and public policy, women and popular culture, and feminist geography. Dr. Isoke studies black women’s politics and activism in urban spaces and just recently published her first book, Urban Black Women and the Politics of Resistance.

mp3November 14, 2012:
Post Election Analysis: How did Women and their Rights Fare?

Download the Presentation Slides (pptx)

The Center on Women and Public Policy at the University of Minnesota, Humphrey School of Public Affairs says it best on their website: “Public Policy is gendered. Men and women are affected differently by public policies, and they participate differently in the public policy making process. Public policies are an important component in the ongoing construction of gender differences and a site where gender is resisted and renegotiated.”

Join the Women’s Center for the final presentation of the Fall series as an expert on women and public policy discusses and considers the results of the November 6 election.


  • Debra Fitzpatrick directs the Center on Women and Public Policy at the Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs, University of Minnesota. She leads a partnership with the Women’s Foundation of Minnesota examining the status of women and girls in Minnesota and leads research and outreach efforts in the areas of women and electoral politics, gender and judging, and women-centered non-profits. As part of this work Fitzpatrick conducts successful bi-partisan programming work with women legislators and local elected women. In prior positions, she led a partnership with the National Governors Association (NGA), working with Governor led teams on K-12 education reform and advance policy changes in several states. As a Committee Administrator with the Minnesota Senate, Fitzpatrick conducted policy research and managed legislative agendas.


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