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Women’s Concerns Week commences

Stephanie Yahn | Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Cavanaugh Hall kicked off their annual Women’s Concerns Week Monday evening with a viewing of “Whale Rider,” a film that explores one woman’s struggle to redefine traditional female roles. Women’s Concerns began five years ago as a one night event featuring five Notre Dame women of different walks of life and has now evolved into a week-long series that explores a variety of issues.

“[This year’s topics] are a lot broader than what you might expect from the title of Women’s Concerns,” said Rebecca Chimahusky, program coordinator.

This week’s talks and events will focus on the ideas of female empowerment and the roles of women in politics, the Catholic Church and cultures other than our own.

Monday’s movie provided a powerful example of what it means to break cultural barriers, Chimahusky said.

The story told of the life of a girl named Pai in the patriarchal New Zealand tribe of the Whangara people. Pai believed that she was destined to be the new chief, a role traditionally given to the first born male of the family. She had to fight against the customs of her culture, which were preventing her from fulfilling her calling. Thirteen year old Keisha Castle-Hughes, the main actress, is a nominee for Best Actress in for this year’s Academy Awards.

Following the movie, the week’s events continue tonight with a talk by Layna Mosley, a Political Science assistant professor at 7 p.m. in the LaFortune Ballroom. An open discussion on the role of Women in the Church will be held Wednesday night at 7 p.m. in the basement of Cavanaugh Hall and the final event, Thursday night, will take place at 6:45 p.m. in Coleman-Morse Lounge and feature four international graduate students speaking about their lives as women in their native countries.

Cavanaugh traditionally sponsors Women’s Concerns Week during the month of February, which is Women’s Concerns month but this is the first year that the talks and discussions have been this open to the campus community. Chimahusky and Sister Patricia Dearbaugh, the rector of Cavanaugh, said that they hope that by spreading the events out beyond Cavanaugh to different forums throughout the campus they will encourage both men and women from across campus to attend.