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Release: Immediate

Care and Justice conference explores women's dual roles in caring, economy

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- What role do women play in the business of caring? Are women, more than men, adversely affected economically by providing care to their husbands and children?

These issues and the ways we talk about them are the subject of a special conference that will be held from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 30 at Brewery Square, 107 Linn Street, Iowa City. It is sponsored by the University of Iowa's Project on the Rhetoric of Inquiry and is free and open to the public.

At the conference nine speakers will assess women's roles in the economy and how their motivation for caring is often different from men and the differences between the sexes on this issue. One of the speakers is Nancy Folbre, a nationally known University of Massachusetts economics professor. Folbre says care of various types play a role in business and the economy and that most people think it is driven by greed, but give little thought that care is also altruistically driven.

UI economics professor Deidre McCloskey will discuss how care can be used, and abused, by persons who say they have your best interests at heart.

"Most of the debate on care has focused on masculine models, where the idea of competition is central," says Leslie Margolin, a professor at POROI and at the UI College of Education who is assisting with the conference.

"By contrast, we will look at feminine models, the role care plays in people's lives, and also how it can be appropriated for both negative and positive purposes," Margolin says.