Symposium to address pandemic impacts on women in Wisconsin

UW-Platteville sign

The University of Wisconsin-Platteville will host a symposium, “Caregiving, Race, and Gender: COVID-19 Impacts on Women in Wisconsin,” on Tuesday, March 22 and Wednesday, March 23. The symposium, open to the public, is funded in part by a grant from Wisconsin Humanities, with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.  

The symposium will explore the impacts of COVID-19 on communities across Wisconsin. Keynote speakers and panelists will offer intersectional frameworks for understanding the disparate impacts of COVID-19 through the lens of health equity, caregiving, race and gender in higher education and local communities in Wisconsin. The symposium will trace how the pandemic exacerbated pre-existing inequities and also provided templates for addressing and improving those same disparities. 

“As this stage of the pandemic winds down, it is important that we take time to process and understand the effects it has had – and will continue to have – on communities across Wisconsin,” said Dr. Travis Nelson, chair of the Criminal Justice and Social Sciences Department and recipient of the grant award. “This symposium will provide both important information and a forum in which this kind of processing can take place.” 

The first keynote speaker, Letesha Nelson, is CEO and executive director of the Goodman Community Center in Madison, Wisconsin. Her talk will address the pandemic’s impact on communities of color in Wisconsin. Nelson will present on March 22 from 6-7 p.m.

Stephanie Rytilahti, director of the UW System Women’s and Gender Studies Consortium, will deliver her keynote presentation on March 23, from 1-2 p.m. She will address the pandemic’s disparate impacts on caregivers in higher education. Both presentations will be delivered via Zoom. 

“The impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on communities of color and caregivers have been documented and studied in the state of Wisconsin,” said Dr. Dong Isbister, associate professor and Women’s and Gender Studies program coordinator and co-organizer of the event. “The phenomenal work of the speakers will help participants collectively reflect on the impacts and build solidarity moving forward.” 

For more information about the symposium and links to Zoom sessions, visit the UW-Platteville Midwest Culturally Inclusive Conference Series webpage, at Information on the symposium is included in the MCIC schedule. Registration is not required. 

Wisconsin Humanities is a nonprofit organization and an independent affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities that strengthens the roots of community life through educational and cultural programs that inspire civic participation and individual imagination. Any views, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this project do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.