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Endowed Lectures

The Institute for Research on Women and Gender is proud to sponsor or cosponsor with Women's Studies three specially endowed lectures appealing to students, faculty, and the general public.


Lilly Ledbetter: Equal Work, Equal Pay
Wednesday, October 2, 2013 at 7:00 PM
Rackham Auditorium

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.

Lilly Ledbetter

Lilly Ledbetter, Equal Pay Advocate and 2013 Vivian R. Shaw Lecturer

For 10 years, Lilly Ledbetter fought to close the gap between women’s and men’s wages, sparring with the Supreme Court, lobbying Capitol Hill in a historic discrimination case against Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company.

Ledbetter won a jury verdict of more than $3 million after having filed a gender pay discrimination suit in federal court, but the U.S. Supreme Court later overturned the lower court’s ruling. Despite her defeat, Ledbetter continued her fight until the Supreme Court decision was nullified when President Obama, on January 29, 2009, signed into law the first new law of his administration: the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

She is the author of the book, Grace and Grit: My Fight for Equal Pay and Fairness at Goodyear and Beyond (Crown Archetype; 2012).

The annual Vivian R. Shaw Lecture is presented by IRWG and the Women’s Studies Department to address “real world” issues affecting women and/or gender.
Cosponsors: The School of Social Work, Communications Studies, Ford School of Public Policy, Law School, American Culture, Political Science, and the Center for the Education of Women.

Click on a lecture title to see more information.

The Motorola Lecture

Rinku Sen

The 2012-13 Motorola Lecturer was Rinku Sen, president and executive director of the Applied Research Center (ARC) and the publisher of Colorlines.com.

The Motorola Lecture, cosponsored with the Women’s Studies Department, is presented annually by an outstanding journalist who routinely addresses issues concerning women and gender in his or her reporting. Established in 2001, with support from the Motorola Foundation, the Motorola Lecture aims to expose U-M students to the work of exceptional journalists and to inform students about ways the media can reframe public understanding of complex issues. Recent Motorola lecturers have included: Bothaina Kamel, Egyptian TV news anchor and presidential candidate; Melissa Harris-Perry, associate professor of politics and African American studies, Princeton University; and Meenakshi Gigi Durham, associate professor of journalism and mass communication, University of Iowa.

The Vivian R. Shaw Lecture

Ellen S. Agress endowed the Vivian R. Shaw Lecture to honor her mother’s memory.

The Vivian R. Shaw Lecture, cosponsored with the Women’s Studies Department, is presented annually. Guest speakers address “real world” issues affecting women and/or gender. The Shaw Lecture was established in 1997, by Ellen S. Agress (U-M, 1968), to honor the memory of her mother, who passed away, at age 50, of breast cancer. Ellen Agress is the senior vice president and deputy general counsel in communications at News America Incorporated in New York City. Not only does her contribution promote the study of women and gender in an interdisciplinary and collaborative way, it also provides an example of the power of philanthropy to advance causes of concern to women. Recent Shaw lecturers have included: Mariana Chilton, associate professor, Drexel University School of Public Health; director, Center for Hunger-Free Communities; and coprincipal investigator of Children's Health Watch; Robin Givhan, Washington Post fashion editor; Faye Wattleton, cofounder and president of the Center for the Advancement of Women, and former president, Planned Parenthood Federation of America; and Jane Evelyn Atwood, a photojournalist.

The Joan Schafer Visionary Lecture

At the most recent Schafer Lecture, Prof. Deborah Dash Moore spoke on “Those Passionate Girls” Jewish Women and Social Justice. October 27, 2011, at UM-Flint.

The Joan Schafer Visionary Lecture is presented periodically by an outstanding leader who upholds the values of inclusion and equity through his or her community work or research. It was established in 2009 by her husband, Nathan, along with close friends and family members, including Wayne Hallem, Joan's son.

Joan Schafer (1937–2007) was a leading citizen of Flint, Mich. Though legally blind, she lived a full life, undaunted by her personal challenges. She brought positive change to both her state and her community, and inspired the people around her to do their very best. Joan was an energetic volunteer, an unstoppable political activist, and a forceful advocate for the disabled.

The lecture site alternates between the Flint and Ann Arbor campuses. The first Joan Schafer Visionary Lecture, "Sustaining Women: Health Messages that Motivate Lasting Change," was given by Dr. Michelle Segar, an IRWG research investigator. The second lecture, at UM-Flint, was presented by Prof. Deborah Dash Moore, the Frederick G. L. Huetwell Professor of History at the University of Michigan and director of the Jean and Samuel Frankel Center for Judaic Studies. Prof. Dash Moore spoke on “'Those Passionate Girls': Jewish Women and Social Justice." To contribute to the Joan Schafer Visionary Lecture, click here.