News release

Young Women the Focus of Major Conference

Parents of teen girls, their teachers and others who work with young women will be interested in a panel discussion Wednesday, Feb. 3, focusing on young women's problems and possible solutions.

Eating disorders, aggression and violence among girls and building self-esteem are topics on the agenda at St. Pat's High School auditorium in Halifax. The discussion begins at 7:30 p.m. Admission is free and everyone is welcome.

"We've gathered a panel of experts on teen girls and young women to tackle some of these issues and help particularly parents and teachers understand the issues and how to deal with them," explained Patricia Doyle-Bedwell, chair of the Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women, one of the event's sponsors.

She said young women today face challenges different than those their mothers faced, and parents, teachers and others who work with young women need information and guidance if they are to provide effective support.

"Educators are challenged every day by young women's issues," agreed Pat Moran, community developer with the Halifax Regional School Board, another event sponsor. "It's important we provide them with the tools to manage these challenges successfully."

The panelists are: Heidi Mack, experiential educator at Queen's University; Glenda Muron, Violence Initiative Program, RCMP, Sackville detachment; Lyn Mikel Brown, American author and educator; and Sylvia Parris, multiculturalism consultant with the Nova Scotia Department of Education. Starr Dobson of ATV News will be moderator.

The panel presentation is one component of a three-part conference titled Young Women: Raising Voices, Channelling Energies. On Thursday, Feb. 4, helping professionals with an interest in young women's issues will gather at the IWK Grace Health Centre for a day-long series of presentations and workshops on topics including teen sexuality, anger management, self-nurturing, peer mentoring, teen mothering, body image and cultural boundaries.

"The need for this conference was evident because the response was overwhelming," said Judith Hockney, program director of women's health at the IWK Grace Health Centre, an event sponsor. "Young women's issues are more complex than ever before. Helping professionals recognize the need to have concrete strategies to empower young women to make informed decisions about themselves."

Young women also have a part in this conference. Thursday evening, teen girls from Halifax-area high schools will participate in The Eve, a young women's festival of music, art, poetry and sharing.

"It's important that young women come together and find strength in each other through an evening like this," explained Patti Melanson of the Mainland South Teen Health Centre, also an event sponsor. "It's a networking, nurturing kind of experience."

The conference is organized and sponsored by the Nova Scotia Advisory Council on the Status of Women, IWK Grace Health Centre, Halifax Regional School Board, Mainland South Teen Health Centre and the Young Women's Mentoring Program.

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Contact:

Chris Hansen
Advisory Council on the Status of Women 902-424-4190 E-mail:
Donna Redmond
IWK Grace Health Centre 902-420-6740
Pat Moran
Halifax Regional School Board 902-479-4237
Patti Melanson
Mainland South Teen Health Centre Young Women's Mentoring Program 902-479-4281
ngr                   Jan. 29, 1999                   9:06 a.m.