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Poverty & Inequality Logo
In the 2012-13 academic year, IRWG introduced a series of lectures that are related by theme. In future years, we will continue to showcase different topics as they relate to women and gender.

On January 8, 1964 President Lyndon B. Johnson announced his “War on Poverty” by introducing legislation that would expand the federal government’s role in poverty reduction efforts. 50 years later, more than 15 percent of Americans live in poverty.

In honor of the 50th Anniversary of the War on Poverty, we are offering a series of free events addressing economic and social injustice related to women and gender.

Winter 2014 Events

Lyndon Johnson and Martin Luther King, Jr.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014 | 4pm
Hatcher Graduate Library Gallery, Room 100

The War on Poverty: A Retrospective

Martin Luther King’s final book, Where Do We Go from Here: Chaos or Community articulated a critique of the War on Poverty and related programs. Pointing to the inadequacy of funding and the lack of coordination among federal programs aimed at eradicating poverty, he argued for guaranteed income for all Americans. On this 50th anniversary of the War on Poverty, we revisit this program and its impact in the context of King’s argument.

The panel includes Martha Bailey (Economics)– the history of the War on Poverty, Robert Mickey (Political Science)–the legislation from the perspective of race, Mary Corcoran (Political Science, Public Policy) — gender and poverty, and Laura Lein (Social Work, Anthropology)–the effects of welfare reform on women in poverty. Deborah Keller-Cohen (Linguistics, Women’s Studies) will moderate.

Presented as part of the University of Michigan's 2014 MLK Symposium.

Thursday, February 13, 2014 | 3:30pm
Hatcher Graduate Library Gallery, Room 100

Poverty in Southeast Michigan

While the Great Recession officially ended in June 2009, the recovery that followed has been slow and high unemployment rates and high levels of hardship persist. The Detroit Metropolitan Area was much harder hit by the Great Recession than many other areas of the nation. We present information from the first two waves of the Michigan Recession and Recovery Survey, a stratified random sample of households in Wayne, Oakland and Macomb counties. We highlight findings on employment, income, safety net program participation, material hardships, and health and mental health, particularly among low income households.

The panel includes Sandra Danziger (Social Work, Public Policy), Kristin Seefeldt (Social Work), and Sarah Burgard (Sociology).

Photo by Aaron Harmon

Monday, April 7, 2014 | 5:00pm
Helmut Stern Auditorium
University of Michigan Museum of Art

Behind the Beautiful Forevers: An Evening with Katherine Boo

In collaboration with LSA’s India Theme Semester, the Center for South Asian Studies and IRWG, The Institute for the Humanities Jacobsen Lecture features award-winnning journalist, Katherine Boo, author of the 2012 National Book Award-winning Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity. Based on three years of reporting, Behind the Beautiful Forevers follows the lives of citizens in a small slum in Mumbai.

A book signing and reception will follow the lecture.

Fall 2013 Events

Simone Campbell

Tuesday, September 17, 2013 | 7pm
Blau Auditorium, Ross School of Business

Justice Before Charity: Everyone Has the Right to Eat
Sister Simone Campbell

One in four Michigan children live in poverty. Sister Simone, a longtime advocate for social and political change will speak about poverty in America, the effect on women and children, and the path for progressive change.

Presented by St. Mary Student Parish with cosponsorship from the Institute for Research on Women & Gender, Ford School of Public Policy, Ross School of Business, School of Social Work, and the Women’s Studies Department.

Lilly Ledbetter

Wednesday, October 2, 2013 | 7pm
Rackham Auditorium

Equal Work, Equal Pay
Lilly Ledbetter

Equal pay advocate Lilly Ledbetter recounts her story of discrimination at the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company and the subsequent legal battle that resulted in the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Her experience resonates with women everywhere who continue to struggle for equity in the workplace. A question-and-answer period with the audience and a book signing will follow the lecture.

The annual Vivian R. Shaw Lecture is presented by the Institute for Research on Women and Gender and the Women’s Studies Department with cosponsorship from the School of Social Work, Communication Studies, Ford School of Public Policy, Law School, American Culture, Political Science, and the Center for the Education of Women.

Welfare Warriors by Premilla Nadasen

Thursday, October 24, 2013 | 4pm
Lane Hall, Room 2239

Feminism and the Politics of Welfare
Premilla Nadasen, History, Barnard College, Columbia University

“Food stamp fraud” and “welfare cheat” are the buzzwords that dominate the debate about poverty and government assistance today, as conservative politicians fret over the growing number of poor Americans qualifying for SNAP assistance. The stigmatization and criminalization of recipients of public assistance are not new. Premilla Nadasen, author of Welfare Warriors: The Welfare Rights Movement in the United States, looks back at the emergence of the “welfare queen” stereotype and the vibrant movement for welfare rights in the 1960s and 1970s and asks what we can learn from it about gender, race, ideology and the struggle for a decent standard of living.

The Grocery Gap

Monday, November 11, 2013 | 4pm
Hatcher Graduate Library Gallery, Room 100

The Grocery Gap: Unequal Access to Healthy Foods in Southeast Michigan
Dorceta Taylor, School of Natural Resources

Food insecurity is very high in parts of Southeastern Michigan. This has led some to describe parts of the region as “food deserts.” But is this term appropriate? This talk will examine access to food in our part of the state and explore new approaches to understanding and assessing food insecurity.

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