Whitworth Communications

For Immediate Release

October 21, 2005

Alumna's Case Study to Be Presented at Women's-Rights Forum in Thailand

A case study conducted by Whitworth alumna Kelsey Rice, '03, and her colleague, Ann Crews Melton, was recently selected by the Association for Women's Rights in Development to be presented at its international forum in Bangkok, Thailand, in October 2005. The case study was one of 29 entries selected out of 144 submissions from around the world, and the only entry selected that has an American-based women's group as its subject matter.

The study, "Empowering Womanspace: Power Distribution and Dynamics in Christian Feminist Community," details the use of non-hierarchical power-sharing structures to empower women for leadership in the Coordinating Committee of the National Network of Presbyterian College Women, a ministry to undergraduate college women of the Presbyterian Church (USA).

Rice serves as associate with the NNPCW and Melton works in Boston, with Equal Exchange, the fair-trade coffee supplier. They will attend the international forum in Thailand, where they will be recognized for their case study. AWID will also publish their study and will contribute $1,000 to the NNPCW for organizational strengthening.

"I am so excited that the NNPCW, a Christian organization, has been able to contribute a working model for shared decision-making to the larger women's-rights arena," says Rice, who double-majored in history and English at Whitworth.

In the paper, Rice and Melton discuss the ways in which the committee uses the consensus model of decision-making and dialogue to give everyone an equal investment in group decisions. They also describe the ways in which the group functions as a spiritual community and feminist "womanspace" to help empower women for Christian faith and activism.

"We did not conduct a formal academic study of the group as such, but simply related our own practical experiences with the group in various situations," Rice says.

"AWID is a leader in promoting women's rights around the globe, and the international forum will bring together activists and scholars from around the world," Rice says. "It will be an amazingly rich environment in which to learn about international women's issues, so I'm excited to attend this month. Plus, it will be my first time to travel to Asia."

The NNPCW, a ministry of the General Assembly Council of the Presbyterian Church (USA), is rooted in the Reformed tradition and aims to nurture young women's spiritual development through study, discussion, prayer and action, according to the group's website, www.pcusa.org/nnpcw.


Julie Riddle, public information officer, Whitworth College, 509-777-3729 or jriddle@whitworth.edu.

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