University Joins Lawmakers in a First-of-its Kind Summit to Improve Status of Alaska Women

Alaska Pacific University is the site Oct. 17-18 for the Alaskan Women’s Summit, an inaugural gathering of business leaders, policymakers, lawmakers and members of the public seeking ways to enhance the standard of living for women statewide. Presenting sponsor is BP Alaska.

Summit keynote speaker Oct. 18 is U.S. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska). She addresses recent findings that show women face more challenges in Alaska than virtually any other state.

Statistics compiled by state Sen. Lesil McGuire (R-Anchorage) show that on average, women in Alaska are paid less than counterparts in other states, are imprisoned at higher rates, and commit suicide at twice the national average.

“This summit – with its emphasis on strategies and not conversation only – is the right way to begin the work of improving women’s lives,” said University President Don Bantz. “APU welcomes this opportunity.” Academic Dean Tracy Stewart and several APU faculty members are taking part in the summit.

In addition to BP Alaska, sponsors are McGuire, Murkowski, and Sandy Parnell, wife of Gov. Parnell. At 150 attendees, the event was at capacity, organizers reported.

“BP is proud to be a summit sponsor,” said Karen Cowart, BP Alaska community affairs director. “We recognize the capability and tremendous value that women bring to all sectors of Alaska’s workplace.”

Activity begins at noon, Oct. 17, with a welcome by Janet Weiss, regional president of BP Alaska. She is followed by Sandy Parnell discussing state initiatives to aid women.

Topics Oct. 17 also include the gender-based wage gap; women in Alaska politics; and women in industry and development. On Oct. 18, topics include workforce development; housing; health care; Alaska entrepreneurs; and Alaska Native women leaders. East High School music teacher and regional Emmy Award winner Janie Lidey is featured in performance Oct. 18.

Summit events are at Grant Hall, Atwood Center and Carr-Gottstein Academic Center on the APU campus. There is no charge for parking. Media are welcome at any summit event. Registration information and a full schedule at


Accredited by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, Alaska Pacific University is committed to personalized, experiential learning that incorporates Alaska as our principal classroom. APU is Alaska’s only four-year, private baccalaureate liberal arts university.