This article is from the archives of the UB Reporter.

UB to celebrate Gender Week

Disability rights activist Judith Heumann to deliver keynote address

Published: October 5, 2006

Reporter Staff Writer

Judith Heumann, a leading activist in the disability-rights movement, will be the keynote speaker for the fifth annual "Gender Week: Gender Matters," to be held Monday through Oct. 13 on the North and South campuses.


Judith Heumann, a leading activist in the disability rights movement, will speak at UB.

The theme of this year's series is "Human Rights: Advances through Activism." A full slate of lectures, forums, performances, exhibits and other activities are scheduled throughout the week on such topics as abortion, women's health and contraception, the gender gap in education, politics, economics and disability rights.

Sponsored by the Institute for Research and Education on Women and Gender (IREWG), Gender Week presents the series of more than 20 events in cooperation with 26 units of the university that focus on gender-inclusive and sex-specific research, teaching, activism and policy-making. All events are free and open to the public.

"I'm excited by the high level of interaction among the various fields of disciplines reflected in the program and hope the entire university community will participate," said IREWG co-director Rosemary Dziak, professor of oral biology in the School of Dental Medicine.

Added co-director Margarita Vargas, associate professor of Spanish in the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, College of Arts and Sciences: "As incoming co-director of the institute, I was very pleased to find out that Judith Heumann had been chosen as our keynote speaker for Gender Week. Her contributions to assuring access to education, as well as to economic and social reform for people with disabilities, are unprecedented and deserve extensive recognition."

Heumann will speak at 4 p.m. Monday in 105 Harriman Hall, South Campus. She is lead consultant to the World Bank for the Global Partnership on Disability and Development, and her work highlights the importance of bank policies and projects that allow disabled people around the world to live and work in the economic and social mainstream of their communities. She previously served as assistant secretary for special education and rehabilitative services in the U.S. Department of Education in the Clinton administration. She also ran the world's first independent living center in Berkeley, California, and for 10 years acted as vice president of the World Institute on Disability.

In an era before the Americans with Disabilities Act, Heumann became the first New York City public school teacher who used a wheelchair after successfully suing the City of New York for the right to be considered equality capable as teachers without wheelchairs.

Prior to her keynote address, Heumann will participate in a roundtable discussion on "Progress in Disability Research" with representatives of UB centers and departments that deal in issues related to disabilities. On Tuesday, she will meet teachers and students at the Erie County Health Center for Children in Buffalo Public School 84 on Grider Street.

Another national figure who will speak on the topic of human rights will be Amy Goodman, host of "Democracy Now! The War and Peace Report." She will speak from 5-7:30 p.m. Wednesday in Lippes Concert Hall in Slee Hall, North Campus, as part of the "Forum on Torture" speakers' series presented by the Department of Media Study. (See story in this issue for details about the "Forum on Torture."

In addition, Eyal Press, author of "Absolute Convictions: My Father, A City and the Conflict that Divided America," will deliver the opening address of "Absolute Convictions: An Exploration of the Legal, Medical, Economic and Religious Issues Raised by the Abortion Culture Wars," a conference co-sponsored by the Baldy Center on Law and Social Policy, the Office of the Vice President for Faculty Affairs and IREWG. Press will speak at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 12 in 106 O'Brian Hall, North Campus, as well as participate in the day-long conference Oct. 13 in the Letro Courtroom on the first floor of O'Brian Hall.

The week will conclude with "Shoes!" a one-woman play written and performed by Francine Conley. The free performance will be held at 8 p.m. Oct. 13 in Woldman Theater, 112 Norton Hall, North Campus. "Shoes!" presents a potpourri of 15 male and female characters exploring just what shoes are, besides practical protection for the foot. Shoes conjure themes of journey and sexuality, and can define who people are, are not or want to be, Conley says. Additional highlights of Gender Week:

  • Lewis Mandell, professor in the School of Management, will discuss his research with high school seniors, "Financial Literacy and Gender," at 2 p.m. Monday in 320 Jacobs Hall, North Campus.

  • 2005-06 Gender Institute Research Award recipients Piya Pangsapa, Department of Women's Studies, and Stacey Hubbard, Department of English, will speak. Pangsapa will discuss "Economic Development and the Politics of Cross-Border Immigration Policy in the Greater Mekong Subregion" at 3 p.m. Tuesday in 280 Park Hall, North Campus; Hubbard will talk about "Self-Made Women: American Feminist Literature and Politics" at 4 p.m. Wednesday in 420 Clemens Hall, North Campus. In addition, research award recipients Judith Lampasso, assistant professor, and Ossama "Sam" Jureyda, clinical assistant professor, both of the Department of Orthodontics, will present their research on the effect of Fosamax on osteoblastic cells as part a poster displays on Monday in the Harriman Hall Lobby and the Health Sciences Library in Abbott Hall, both on the South Campus.

  • The School of Social Work will present "Out of the Mouths of Babes: Learning from Adolescent Women about Gender, Empowerment and Social Change in the 21st Century," a panel of young women discussing their views on being young and female in today's world. The panel will take place from 6-8 p.m. Tuesday in 215 Natural Sciences Complex, North Campus.

  • Sylvia Frazier-Bowers, assistant professor of orthodontics, School of Dentistry, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, will present "Understanding the Genetic Basis of Craniofacial Disorders: From Phenotype to Genotype" at noon on Oct. 13 in 215 Foster Hall, South Campus. Following the lecture at 1 p.m., Frazier-Bowers will conduct a special mentoring session for graduate students in health-related fields.

For more information on Gender Week, as well as a complete, up-to-date calendar of events, visit