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Speakers Discuss Women's Issues

The hourlong event, sponsored by the Carolina Women's Center, was one of many programs planned for the annual celebration of women. Other events last week included "Take Back the Night," a rally to end sexual assault against women, and a breast health workshop.

After opening remarks by center director Diane Kjervik, Susan Moeser, the University organist and Department of Art faculty member, introduced her husband, Chancellor James Moeser.

Susan Moeser began by sharing lesser-known details about her husband, including his inability to dance and his unique sense of humor. "He stops and talks to every dog and cat we meet," she said.

James Moeser, the lone male speaker, spoke about the importance of women's leadership. "Leading is one of the most important things that women can give to each other." Expanding one's character is an integral part of a university education, James Moeser said. He said the women's center serves an important function because it helps students realize their potential and ability to be leaders.

James Moeser said Student Body President-elect Jen Daum, who also was in attendance, is an example of female leadership on UNC's campus. He said her victory was an important one for women because she is only the third female student body president.

The keynote speaker, Lt. Gov. Beverly Perdue, said students should remember the historical struggles women have faced in gaining entrance into universities and the work force.

Perdue urged women to not be complacent but to fight to overcome obstacles such as underrepresentation in executive and political realms. "Learn that you ought not to ever accept things the way they are, but you ought to step up and make a difference," she said.

Sen. Ellie Kinnaird, D-Orange, spoke about the progress in women's rights that past generations have made.

Discussing historical landmarks such as the admittance of the first female undergraduate to UNC in 1964, Kinnaird said the current generation of women should take advantage of opportunities that previous generations did not. "I grew up in a time where it was unusual for women to get a law degree. Now over 50 percent of the students in law school are women."

During the event, the Women's Advocacy Award was given to Lolly Gasaway, UNC School of Law professor and director of the Kathrine R. Everett Law Library. Gasaway didn't attend the event because she was visiting another campus.

Cynthia Brown, a Democratic U.S. Senate candidate, encouraged women to break down gender barriers. "We must hold on to our power, acknowledge and deal with difference, know our gifts and be willing to share them."

Women's Week continues from noon to 4 p.m. today in the Pit with a health fair and from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. in Union 212 with a money management seminar.

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