NPR commentator and bestselling author Sandra Tsing Loh joined Fox 5 News reporter Teresa Priolo at this year’s A Women’s Conference, held April 20 in Brookdale’s Student Life Center.
The conference, hosted by Brookdale’s Lifelong Learning division, gave more than 150 local women the opportunity to learn, laugh and lunch together with a full day of interactive lectures and workshops.
The morning began with a talk by Loh, bestselling author of “The Madwoman in the Volvo,” who discussed everything from menopause and marriage to the changing expectations for 21st century women. She also answered questions on a wide range of topics, including the pressures on women to remain “forever 21” and how different cultures view – and value – the aging process.
Despite a host of challenges that still face American women, Loh concluded by saying that it is an exciting and promising time to be alive.
“The possibilities are amazing,” she said. “We are in positions of power, we have some money right now, we have intelligence and creativity. So it’s a pretty exciting time, and having this inter-generational conversation is really valuable.
“I think young women in their twenties today are wondering, should I marry? Should I get a job?,” she added.
“They still have a lot of questions, and I think the more that women can talk about this across generations, and give the wisdom that comes from having lived through quite an interesting time in history, is truly important.”
Howell resident Marilyn Kass agreed, saying the conference was a valuable opportunity to share experiences and knowledge with women from all walks of life. Even at 88 years old, Kass said she never wants to stop learning.
“I thought it was very inspiring,” said Kass, who has been attending Lifelong Learning programs at Brookdale for nearly 10 years.
“To get women together to share their thoughts, and express themselves as individuals, is very valuable. It’s difficult, when you grow up in a society where women are quiet and have to be at home and subserviate themselves to their husbands. Something like this is wonderful.”
Priolo later walked women through a day in the life of a broadcast reporter, explaining everything from the news-gathering process to the target demographics for most networks.
Before and after lunch, attendees were also able to choose from among 12 interactive workshops on subjects such as health, travel, entrepreneurship, art history and women’s rights.
At the end of the day, Kass said the conference was the ideal blend of entertainment and inspiration. After personally witnessing the decades-long struggle for equal rights and equal footing, she said she is happy to see women come together and celebrate the great strides that have been made.
“Women unfortunately are still not paid as much as men, but I think we have achieved a great deal in terms of recognition and substance,” she said. “We have been able to contribute to society and to human nature. I’m not so sure about the world, but I have great faith that that will continue with my grandchildren and great-grandchildren.”
For more information about Lifelong Learning at Brookdale, visit their webpage.
View more photos from the Women’s Conference here.