By Melinda Rogers
The past 100 years saw unprecedented growth in equality within the United States. As women gained the right to vote, as black Americans gained civil rights and liberties, as gay and lesbian men and women gained the right to marry and as the nation elected its first black president, many would argue the U.S. has become a more equal country.
Yet, in many ways, society and politics remain unequal — particularly when considering unprecedented and growing levels of economic inequality and persistent gender inequality in communities. These inequalities have wide ranging consequences — they influence politics, public policymaking and laws, and they affect the opportunities and quality of life available to millions of people in Utah and across the U.S. Those trends are behind a March 31 event sponsored by the Scholars Strategy Network and the University of Utah’s Department of Political Science that aims to explore current inequalities and start a conversation among scholars, practitioners and the public to explore consequences and discuss possible solutions to create a better and more equal society.
The event will take place at two locations in Salt Lake City over the course of one day, including a morning session at the U’s Hinckley Institute of Politics, 260 Central Campus Drive, Room 255. The afternoon session will take place in conference room four at the City Library downtown, 210 E. 400 South.
“Inequality in our society affects our politics, our public health, our economy and more. Understanding the problem, and identifying potential solutions, requires approaching inequality from a variety of perspectives, including scholars in different areas of study, practitioners in the field and policymakers in elected office,” said Jim Curry, one of the event organizers and an associate professor of political science at the U. “Bringing those different perspectives together around this important topic is what this event is all about.”
The event is free and open to the public. It is sponsored by the Scholars Strategy Network, the Hinckley Institute of Politics, and the University of Utah’s Department of Political Science. The schedule of sessions and speakers includes:
Morning session, Hinckley Institute of Politics
9:30-10:30 a.m. Panel 1 – Gender and Inequality
Sarah Roberts, assistant professor at University of California, San Francisco; Sharon Mastracci, associate professor at University of Utah; Günseli Berik, professor at University of Utah
10:45-:11:45 a.m. Panel 2 – Income Inequality in Utah and Beyond
Nick Carnes, assistant professor of public policy at Sanford School, Duke University; Colleen Casey, associate professor at University of Texas at Arlington; Thomas Maloney, professor at University of Utah
Afternoon session, City Library
2:30-4 p.m. A Roundtable on Inequality in Utah and the United States
Moderated by Jennifer Napier-Pearce host of The Salt Lake Tribune’s Trib Talk and Behind the Headlines.
Utah Sen. Jani Iwamoto, D-Holladay; Derek Kitchen, District 4, Salt Lake City Council; Nick Carnes, assistant professor of public policy at Sanford School, Duke University; Colleen Casey, associate professor at University of Texas at Arlington; Sarah Roberts, assistant professor at University of California, San Francisco; Drew Astolfi, senior organizer at Center for Community Change; and Matthew Weinstein, state priorities partnership director at Voices for Utah Children.
Melinda Rogers is a communications specialist at University Marketing and Communications. If you have an interesting story idea, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.