Date: March 28, 2005
CONTACT: Scott Slemmons, scott.slemmons@ttu.edu

LUBBOCK - The changing roles of women in wartime will be the topic of the 21st annual All University Conference on the Advancement of Women in Higher Education April 7-8 at Texas Tech University.

A featured speaker will be Yanar Mohammad, an Iraqi woman who will discuss "Women under Siege in Postwar Iraq."

Mohammad is a leader in the struggle for women's rights in Iraq. She is the director of the Organization of Women's Freedom in Iraq, a group that works to stop atrocities against Iraqi women and to defend their rights. She has established women's shelters in Baghdad and Kirkuk and is the editor in chief of the "Al-Mousawat" newspaper.

In a recent e-mail sent to friends and supporters, Mohammad said that, while there are still many challenges ahead, she feels inspired by the dedication of the members of the fledgling women's rights movement in Iraq.

"The warm determination in the chanted slogans and speeches were terribly moving," said Mohammad, writing about a recent rally. "Nada spoke about women and unemployment, Hadil about our sheltering the women, Um Ali about how they take girls out of schools. While I was speaking, one of the Basrah women, a trade-unionist pulled the microphone from my hand to further elaborate on their sufferings under political Islam in Basrah. Meanwhile, a young girl of 12 with a worn-out dress jumped to the stage chanting 'equality for women.'"

Mohammad is the sister of Lahib Jaddo, an assistant professor of architecture at Texas Tech. Jaddo will be honored at the conference for her art work.

Dr. Margarethe Cammermeyer will provide the conference's keynote address, titled "If You Are Uncomfortable, That's Where You Need to Be."

During her military career, she earned the Bronze Star for Service in Vietnam, was chief nurse of the Washington National Guard and was the Veterans Administration's Nurse of the Year in 1985. She is retired from the United States Army Reserves after an active duty career in the U.S. Army.

Cammermeyer challenged policies that discriminated against married women. After serving six years of active duty and 25 years in the Army Reserves and National Guard, she retired after challenging the military's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" regulations. Her autobiography, "Serving in Silence," was published in 1994.

Other speakers at the conference include Susan McKay, professor of Women's Studies at the University of Wyoming in Laramie and a former professor of English at Texas Tech, whose speech will focus on "Girls at War;" Carol Burke, a folklorist and associate professor of English at the University of California at Irvine, who will speak on "From Dominatrix to Damsel in Distress: Images of Women in the Recent Iraq War;" and Holly Johnson, an associate professor at the University of Cincinnati, whose speech is titled "What's a Girl Like You Doing in a Situation Like This?: Conflict and Congeniality in an Enlisted Life."

The theme of this year's conference is "Changing the World: Women in Conflict/Women in Peace." The event is sponsored annually by Texas Tech's Women's Studies Council and the Office of Women's Studies.


SOURCE: Charlotte C. Dunham, director, Office of Women's Studies, Texas Tech University, (806) 742-4335, or e-mail charlotte.dunham@ttu.edu.