Wednesday, March 31, 2010

SMU’s Saint Teresa Institute hosts women’s symposium April 13

WINONA, Minn. – The Saint Teresa Leadership and Service Institute of Saint Mary’s is hosting the 2010 Women’s Symposium, “Cracks in the Ceiling” Tuesday, April 13, in SMU’s Toner Student Center.

As Hillary Clinton conceded the 2008 presidential race, she noted that there were 18 million cracks in the glass ceiling. A recent report noted that in the first time in American history, women have surpassed men in the workforce. So has the ceiling been broken? “Cracks in the Ceiling” offers a look at women’s accomplishments and progress in United States as they move to gender equality.

Schedule of events
3:45 to 4:15 p.m. — Registration & Reception

4:15 to 5 p.m. — Keynote “White House Project Report: Benchmarking Women’s Leadership” with Catherine Gray, Midwest Director of Strategy and Engagement, the White House Project. For the first time in American history, women now make up more than 50 percent of the workforce. But in what positions and at what pay? Gray will share highlights of the report, noting women’s progress towards equality in the work place.

5:10-6 pm Breakout Sessions (choose one)
The Religious Perspective —While 87 percent of women say they have a formal religious affiliation, women currently make up about 15 percent of the leadership positions available to them in their religious faiths. What are women’s roles in religious faiths, is there a place for women leaders, and what is taking place to increase women’s involvement? An interfaith panel will discuss perspective and action toward increasing women’s leadership involvement in religion.
The Stem of it — The representation of U.S. women and girls in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields has risen dramatically in recent decades. Take part in the conversation of what is being done to increase girls’ and women’s interest in — and preparation for — these fields and address the disparities in the STEM professions.
The Political Scene —In 2009, the United States ranked 61st out of 130 countries in the number of women holding political positions in the country. Why is that? Join panelists as they share their experiences from holding political office, and learn how you support women in office, and how you can become politically active in your community.

6 to 6:30 p.m. — Poster Presentation and Reception
Visit with student presenters and learn about their volunteerism, activism and academic research. Poster presentations on these topics are being sought for this reception. High school, undergraduate and graduate students are invited to be presenters. Students must be in attendance to present their poster. Posters should contain narrative, data and photographs/graphics on the topic of presentation. Presenters will need to submit the name of their presentations and brief descriptions when registering. Due to time constraints, not all submissions may be chosen.

6:30 to 8:30 p.m. — Dinner & Keynote Speaker – Entrepreneurship: Martha Rossini Olson, Owner, Sweet Martha’s Cookie Jar
In recent years, Sweet Martha’s Cookie Jar has sold more than 5 million chocolate chip cookies at the Minnesota State Fair. Off season, you can find the favorite ready-to-bake chocolate chip cookie dough in local grocery stores. Olson (aka Sweet Martha) will share how she got started in the business and highlights of Sweet Martha’s Cookie Jar’s 30-year history. Hear what she does when she’s not selling cookies.

Register online at or call (507) 457-1733. The cost for the symposium is $25, $10 for college and high school students or free for SMU students. Registration is due Wednesday, April 7.

The symposium partially funded by the School of Humanities and Sciences, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota.