Feminism, Islamic women's rights are topics of Tennessee Tech's Women's History Month programs

What do feminism and the rights of women in Islamic society have in common? Both are presentation topics scheduled for this month at Tennessee Tech University, in observance of March as Women's History Month.

Vanderbilt faculty member and TTU English graduate Alison Piepmeier will present the first of the two lectures, "Lip Gloss, Making a Fist and Girl Power: Young Women and Feminism," at 7 p.m. on Monday, March 18, in Johnson Hall Auditorium.

A senior lecturer in Vanderbilt's Women's Studies Program, Piepmeier is currently working on a book with co-editor and fellow Women's Studies instructor Rory Dicker, of Westminster College in Missouri. Titled Catching a Wave: Reclaiming Feminism for the 21st Century, the book will be published by Northeastern University Press.

"We are continually encountering students who didn't feel that feminism was significant — didn't think it had any bearing on their lives — and often felt very alienated from it. The book is our attempt to show the continuing relevance of feminism," Piepmeier said.

The second program, "Women's Rights in Islamic Society," presented by Algerian refugee and human rights activist Halima Addou, will follow at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 19, also in Johnson Hall Auditorium.

Algeria was at one time a tolerant and diverse society, she said, but recent violence of Islamic fundamentalist extremists plunged it into religious and military turmoil, where women are especially targeted. Once the host of her own Algerian television show, Addou was exiled from the country for using the programming format to promote tolerance.

"Lists of women's names were pinned to the entrances of mosques. The lists condemn women to death because Algerian women are in the forefront of the struggle to win their democratic rights. Their plight is a matter of life and death," Addou writes.

Both programs are Center Stage events, sponsored by the TTU Women's Center and Women's Commission, and are free and open to the public. For more information, call the Women's Center at 372-3850.