MURRAY, Ky. — On Oct. 23, the second Status of Women Summit took place at Murray State University. The day-long, educational event brought together professionals from a variety of fields to participate in collaborative thinking, reflection and action.

The summit, this year titled “Generation Next: Empowering Communities in an Uncertain World,” was organized by Dr. Janine Duncan, assistant professor of family and consumer sciences in Murray State’s College of Education and Human Services. The summit series overall was introduced by Duncan in 2016 and was designed to reinforce the idea that when women succeed, families and communities succeed.

“The Status of Women Summit grew in a few ways this year,” Duncan said. “Registration was up from 68 registrants in 2016 to 100 registrants in 2017. We had faculty, staff and student participation from a wider sector of the University. Most importantly, we are clearly serving a need, demonstrated by the repeat attendance among family and consumer sciences teachers, extension educators, family resource coordinators and regional social and family service providers.”

In addition to her work with the University, Duncan is known for her participation with the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women and the International Federation for Home Economics. Subsequently, attendees at the 2017 summit learned about the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Discrimination Against Women, which is shaping regional, national and global civic engagement and political participation to address the status of women.  Summit participants at Murray State also examined the regional status of women based on five criteria: poverty and opportunity, employment and earnings, work and family life, health and wellbeing and political participation.

“This summit showcased multiple examples for addressing violence against women and victims’ rights, which can serve as models for local and regional policies and practices,” Duncan said. “Recent national events are a clear indication of the need for addressing the status of women, broadly, and violence against women, specifically.  The summit serves as an important opportunity for connecting Murray State students to a wide range of ideas and professionals committed to the status of women.”

The October 2017 summit will pair with another session, which is set to occur March 2, 2018, and will focus on women’s leadership development. Both gatherings are part of a larger series aimed at positively impacting the status of women in western Kentucky, focusing on gender equality in political, economic, social, cultural and civil environments. Duncan’s hope is that through this effort, communities and families in the region will be empowered.

“We are committed to strengthening the abilities of our audiences — family service providers, university and high school students, community members, etc. — so that they may better serve women, children and families,” Duncan said.

The recent summit came together through the support of several University partners, including the dean’s office for the College of Education and Human Services; the department of adolescent, career and special education; programs in nonprofit leadership studies, social work and public and community health; and the Murray State Women’s Center.

Those interested in learning more about this event series or Murray State’s family and consumer sciences program may contact Duncan at or 270-809-3572.

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