Academic Conference Celebrated Women’s Wisdom on International Women’s Day

On March 7-8, 2013, GSEP hosted its inaugural Digital Women’s Project (DWP) conference, “Celebrate Women’s Wisdom: Life Journeys.” Held at the Omni Hotel in downtown Los Angeles during International Women’s Day, the conference welcomed attendees from across the nation and engaged the experiences, wisdom, and research of renowned female leaders from around the globe.

Keynote speakers were global leaders in media and journalism, law, business, academe, nonprofit, and governmental sectors, including: Joyce M. Davis, president of the World Affairs Council of Harrisburg, award-winning journalist, and media consultant; Linda M. Thor, chancellor of the Foothill-De Anza Community College District; Nana M. E. Magomola, chair of Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital Board in South Africa; and Janet Z. Giele, Professor Emerita of Sociology, Social Policy, and Women’s Studies at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management of Brandeis University. Each shared their unique experience on how they have juggled high-profile, professional careers with family and personal commitments. Their compelling perspectives and journeys moved and inspired audiences.

One of the speakers, Janet Giele, was presented with an award in recognition of her achievements in the field of women and family policy. Moving forward, future recipients will be presented with the Dr. Janet Z. Giele Award.

Giele was honored to receive the award and had the following comments about the DWP. “Pepperdine’s use of the life-course perspective is unique in focusing on women’s leadership and successes
and the individual stories that make their achievements possible. This is very different from much of the prevailing scholarship that focuses either on oppression or privilege. The DWP emphasizes the positive forces of values, social support, adaptability, and unusual drive that enable outstanding women to forge their own innovative paths.”

Crystal Jensen, a DELT (EdD in Learning Technologies) student, was excited to meet the woman who developed the framework that her dissertation is based on and was grateful for the opportunity to discuss her work with Giele.

“Dr. Giele was very generous to share her time and expertise,” Jensen said. “She is an altruistic, humble, kind, 78 year-old genius, whose work has and will continue to completely empower the lives of all women.”

The conference was led by GSEP dean Margaret J. Weber and is part of her academic research initiative to explore the work-life balance issues of women from a global perspective. The Digital Women’s Project has three aims: research, a digital library/website, and an annual academic conference. Learn more at:

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