Last Thursday, I attended the sixth annual “Women in the World Summit” at Lincoln Center in New York City. It was an emotional and eye-opening day as I learned about issues facing women and girls around the world.
“Together, we’re going to parachute behind the frontline of the news. We’ll experience dramatic stories through the eyes of some extraordinary women and the men who champion them. Our guides are activists, artists, entrepreneurs, fighters, journalists, peacemakers, and rabble-rousers.,” said Tina Brown, Founder and CEO, Women in the World/Tina Brown Live Media.
A Galvanizing Agenda
Each discussion was more stirring than the next, with subject matters ranging from gender inequities and women’s health to sexual violence and mutilation, to the importance of human rights and education for women and girls. The growing impact of climate change, caregiving, cyber-bullying, maternal mortality was also on the agenda. You can watch many of the presentations at the “Women In the World” website (co-produced with The New York Times) or by clicking on the links throughout the post.
For now, here are some of my takeaways from the day:
♥ Cofounder of Bring Back Our Girls, Obiageli Ezekwesili, talked about the 276 Nigerian school girls who were kidnapped last year by Boko Haram terrorists. “Everyone must use your influence to bring back our girls, these girls are not back yet,” said Obiageli. “Nobody has the right to make you have to decide between education and being alive.” (Hearing this story made me really appreciate the educational opportunities we have in America.)
Obiageli Ezekwesili (left) is Cofounder of Bring Back Our Girls, seated with panelist Alexis Okeowo, Writer, The New York Times Magazine and The New Yorker.
♥ Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to President Obama and Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls, moderated a panel on caregiving. “Forty percent of working moms are single. In 2000, 30 million people were over 65. By 2030, that number will double. Sixty-two percent of caregivers are women,” said Valerie. Panelist Sheila Lirio Marcelo, Founder, Chairwoman, and CEO, Care.com, echoed these concerns. “Caregiving is the #1 budgetary item for working families. Investing in care drives economic growth. We have a crisis coming if we don’t take care of caregiving.” (Having been a part of the AARP Kitchen Cabinet of Caregivers, I am very passionate about this issue. Valerie asked for help: “What more should we be doing to spotlight caregiving? Send suggestions to me on Twitter at @vj44.”)