WILL - Focus - June 25, 2013

100 Years of Women’s Suffrage in Illinois

100 years ago this week, Governor Edward F. Dunne signed a bill giving women in Illinois the right to vote for President. This hour on Focus, we remember Illinois’ push for women’s suffrage.


(Duration: 51:37)

women meeting to rally the suffrage movement

In 1870, Frances Willard proclaimed before the Illinois General Assembly that it was an “insult” that 21 year old boys could vote to make laws for their mothers but that the mothers themselves had no voice. More than three decades later, she, among several others, finally convinced enough lawmakers that was true. In 1913, Illinois gave women the right to vote in Presidential elections. The catch – the bill for women’s suffrage did not apply to gubernatorial elections or elections for state representatives, congressmen or senators, yet.

This hour on Focus, we’ll remember the men and women who pushed for women’s suffrage in Illinois, and those who pushed back. Mark Sorensen, who has written extensively about suffrage in the state, joins us. He’ll tell us about some of the key players who fought for the bill  and how the state worked to dissuade female voters from exercising their new right to vote. We’ll also talk Professor Virginia Boynton of Western Illinois University about why it took so long for women to be granted the right to vote in the first place.

Categories: Human Rights

WILL - Focus - April 12, 2013

Coming up on Focus: Remembering Roger Ebert, Blue Waters and The Ordinary Acrobat

Do you have fond memories of Roger Ebert? What do you think of when you hear “circus?” Do you have questions about the UIUC’s new super computer Blue Waters?  Find out more about what’s coming up next week on Focus and join our conversation.

Coming up next week on Focus, we’re remembering Pulitzer Prize winning film critic, screenwriter and journalist Roger Ebert, talking about super computers and learning about how the circus is very serious business in other parts of the world. Find out more and our conversation!

WILL - Focus - March 08, 2013

Bats, Economic Development and a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate: Coming up next week on Focus

Is it important to you to shop locally? Did you know bats play a really important role in the production of tequila and chocolate? Find out more about what’s coming up on Focus and join our conversation.

Jody Williams

Monday, March 11 - My Name is Jody Williams
Have you been an activist? What causes matter to you?

Jody Williams was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1997 for her campaign to eradicate landmines. But she wasn’t always an activist. Monday on Focus, we’ll talk with Nobel Peace Prize laureate Jody Williams about her new memoir, “My Name is Jody Williams.” She’ll tell us about her life as an activist, why she’s spent her career advocating for freedom and human rights and what she really means when she uses the word “peace.”

WILL - Focus - March 04, 2013

Miriam Cooke and Hijab Trendz

Have you ever used writing as an outlet? Today on Focus, we examined stereotypes about Arab women with Professor Miriam Cooke, who studies how Islamic women empower themselves through writing. Then, Mariam Sobh, a native of Champaign and the founder of the fashion blog Hijab Trendz joins the program. 


(Duration: 50:24)

Mariam Sobh wearing a white hijab

During this hour on Focus, we talk with Professor Miriam Cooke about how she got started studying Muslim women and their writing and why their writings are important. She talks with us about women who inspired the feminist movement in the Middle East and why it became important during the 1990’s. Cooke is a Professor of Arab Cultures at Duke University and the Director of the University’s Middle East Studies Center. She’s been a visiting professor in Tunisia, Romania, Indonesia, and Qatar and is one of the foremost scholars on Islamic Feminism and Arab Culture.

Then during the second half of the hour, we talk with Mariam Sobh. She’s the founder and editor-in-chief of Hijab Trendz, a fashion blog for Muslim women. Host Jim Meadows talks with Sobh about her decision to cover her hair, what it means and how some Muslim women are choosing not to.

WILL - Focus - September 28, 2012

Half the Sky - Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women


(Duration: 51:60)

Maro Chermayeff, Executive Producer and Director

Edna Adan, Founder, Edna Adan Hospital of Somaliland

Host: Craig Cohen

Inspired by journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn's book of the same name, Half the Sky - Turning Oppression into Opportunity for Women is a four-hour television series for PBS that documents women and girls who are living under some of the most difficult circumstances imaginable — and fighting to change them. Their intimate, dramatic and immediate stories of struggle reflect viable and sustainable options for empowerment and offer a blueprint for transformation. We'll talk with two guests - Maro Chermayeff, Executive Producer and Director, as well as one of the activists featured in the film, Edna Adan, founder of the Edna Hospital in Somaliland. Half the Sky airs on WILL-TV in two parts, on October 1st and 2nd at 8 pm.

WILL - Focus - September 04, 2012

Ethical Chic: The Inside Story of the Companies We Think We Love


(Duration: 51:24)

There are many reasons to purchase goods or services from one company over another: price, quality, and convenience. But sometimes, the decision is a moral one; we seek out businesses we believe support or represent our world view – or avoid those that defy it. (The debate earlier this summer over Chick-Fil-A was a demonstration of both).

At the heart of such decisions is whether we deem a company to be socially responsible. But how do you really know? How can you be sure that a reputation is accurate and deserved? And what if the truth is mixed – what if a company leads on one ethical precept, but falls short on another?

Journalist Fran Hawthorne has contemplated these questions, and set out to uncover whether some of the most beloved, trusted companies who have built up a socially responsible reputation really live up to the hype. In the book Ethical Chic: The Inside Story of the Companies We Think We Love, Hawthorne takes us behind the scenes of companies with powerful brand loyalty, companies like Tom’s of Maine, Starbucks, and Apple. Along the way, Hawthorne finds out why these companies have earned seemingly unflagging devotion from socially conscious consumers. And she calls out the companies and consumers alike with a provocative question: Is it really about being socially conscious, or just looking like you are?

WILL - Focus - August 02, 2012

Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death, and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity


(Duration: 55:01)

Katherine Boo, Staff Writer, The New Yorker; Pulitzer Prize Winner

Host: David Inge
image from book cover of

Pulitzer Prize-winner Katherine Boo has written about the dramatic and sometimes heartbreaking story of families striving toward a better life in one of the 21st century’s great, unequal cities. Her book "Behind the Beautiful Forevers" is based on three years of uncompromising reporting.

This is a repeat broadcast from Monday, February 20, 2012, 11 am

WILL - Focus - July 03, 2012

Current Events in Burma/Myanmar


(Duration: 52:22)

Burma is one of the poorest countries in Asia. A long period of military rule has kept the country from developing either politically or economically. But that may be starting to change. One sign of that change was the recent election to Parliament of the country’s leading opposition figure Aung San Suu Kyi. Next time on Focus our morning talk show we will review recent events in Burma as we talk with Christina Fink, from the Elliot School of International Affairs at the George Washington University in Washington, D.C.

This is a repeat broadcast from Tuesday, May 22, 2012, 10 am

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