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UW to Host First Equality Initiatives Event


May 20, 2008 — She could be your neighbor or your doctor. Or a single mother working multiple jobs to provide for her family. Or a high school student striving to change the world.

No matter where you live in Wyoming, there's an amazing woman or girl in your town and Equality Initiatives (EI) wants to introduce her to you.

To celebrate the successes of women and girls in the Cowboy State and promote the discussion of women's issues, the Cody-based awareness campaign is sponsoring a statewide series featuring a film presentation and community dialogues. The first event is Saturday, May 31, at the University of Wyoming.

"We want women and girls to understand that they aren't insular or isolated and that what they do affects their entire community. What's good for Wyoming's women is good for Wyoming's communities," says Sarah Mikesell Growney, program director for EI, a sponsored initiative of the Wyoming Community Foundation (WCF) and Wyoming Women's Foundation (WWF). "I think our slogan really says it all: ‘If she succeeds, we all succeed.'"

The UW event, free and open to the public, begins at 6 p.m. in the College of Education auditorium. A display of artwork by local female artisans precedes the 7 p.m. showing of "Don't Fence Me In," a one-hour documentary that features 13 Wyoming women sharing their stories of success.

The film drew "extremely positive" reviews at its April 25 premiere in Casper, says Mikesell Growney, and was recently shown on Wyoming Public Television. The film will be the centerpiece of EI's statewide tour, which is also scheduled to make stops this year in Cheyenne, Cody, Jackson, Riverton, Saratoga, Sheridan and a to-be-determined town in Lincoln County.

"It's tough to make it in Wyoming, but these women did and that's an inspiration," Mikesell Growney says. "When you're watching it, you're just so impressed that these women live in Wyoming. There are just extraordinary women all around us."

A panel discussion, titled "Creating a Path to Self Sufficiency," follows the film. The panel of speakers includes Rosemary Bratton, executive director of the Wyoming Women's Business Center (WWBC); Marian E.G. Showacre, an Allstate Insurance agent in Laramie; and a representative from CLIMB Wyoming, a statewide agency that offers programs to train and place single mothers in higher paying jobs.

"The panel discussion's goal is to focus on how women can find ways to make it, by forming businesses or by learning new skills or by beginning to get control of their finances," says Marianne Kamp, director of the Women's Studies program at UW. "It's all about encouraging women to get on a path to self sufficiency."

The UW Women's Studies program, EI, WCF, WWF, WWBC, the Wyoming Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault, Albany County SAFE Project and the Albany County Public Library sponsor the event. Donations will be accepted for EI and Albany County SAFE Project.

For more information, call Mikesell Growney at (307) 587-6146 or e-mail sarah@equalityinitiatives.org, or Kamp at (307) 766-3427 or e-mail mkamp@uwyo.edu.

EI, founded in 2006, is a statewide awareness campaign designed to highlight the successes and challenges of women and girls in Wyoming. For more information, go to the Web site at www.equalityinitiatives.org.

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