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Richard Doty
IU Media Relations

Barbara Hawkins
Center on Aging and Aged

Last modified: Tuesday, May 13, 2003

Older women's health and human rights subject for program at IUPUI

Health and human rights issues that face the growing population of older women throughout the world will be discussed at a May 21 program at University Place Conference Center on the campus of Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis.

"Older Women, Health and Human Rights: International Perspectives" is the theme for the event, which will be sponsored by the Population Resource Center and Indiana University. The program, lasting from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., will be free, but reservations are recommended (812-855-0815) because of space limitations.

Barbara Hawkins, director of the IU Center on Aging and Aged, and Brian Winchester, director of the IU Center for the Study of Global Change, are coordinating the event.

The program theme will be explored in the keynote address by Nirmala Pandit of the Centre for Empowerment in Pune, India. She has an extensive background in law and human rights issues and has served as an adviser to the United Nations.

Responding to Pandit's comments will be Eleanor Kinney, IU professor at the Center for Law and Health, from the perspective of international and domestic law that affects older women; Holly Stocking, IU professor of journalism, concerning how the media covers older women, health and human rights; and Catherine Siffin, a consultant with the IU Center on Aging and Aged, on the role of nursing homes and her experience as a care-giver.

A panel discussion will then feature Winchester; Peg Sutton, a professor in the IU School of Education; and Margaret Adamek, a professor in the IU School of Social Work. They will highlight the critical issues raised that have implications for local and Indiana residents. "We want to provide a provocative view on issues, needs and the future for Indiana citizens," Hawkins said.

"Never before in history have there been such opportunities and risks associated with the impact of human longevity for individuals and societies worldwide," she explained. "The number of Americans over age 65 will nearly double in the next 50 years, and those over 85 will increase five-fold." Hawkins said global life expectancy, now at 66, is rising, and this is important because women outnumber men as age increases. "Our program will enable a deeper understanding of the health and human rights issues confronting older women throughout the world, including initiatives of the United Nations," she said.

Hawkins said those expected to attend include community leaders at the local and state levels, representatives of social service organizations, and college and university faculty members.

IU co-sponsors include the Center for the Study of Global Change; the Office of Women's Affairs; the School of Social Work; the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation; the School of Medicine's Center for Aging Research; the Population Institute; the School of Journalism and the Center on Aging and Aged.

For more details and reservation information, contact Angela Dill at the IU Center on Aging and Aged at 812-855-0815, The Web site for the center is and the Web site for the Population Resource Center is