Allison+Partners @ The Daily Beast Women in the World SummitBy Judy Huang
On March 8-9, I attended the Daily Beast/Newsweek Women in the World Summit, held at Lincoln Center in New York. The event was hosted by the Daily Beast’s Tina Brown, as well as Nobel Peace Prize winner Leymah Gbowee, Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg; fashion designer Diane von Furstenberg; publisher Judith Rodin; Ford Foundation Vice President Maya Harris; Jane Harman, former congresswoman and current head of the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars; Mellody Hobson, president of Ariel Investments; Brazilian entrepreneur Nizan Guanaes; designer and philanthropist Lauren Bush Lauren; and Oscar-award winning actress Meryl Streep.
The event convened over 2,000 people (among them activists, organizers, educators, and politicians from over a dozen countries) to engage in some of the most pressing social and cultural issues impacting women around the world today. Exploring topics such as forced marriage, women in combat and the price of war; as well as in-depth discussions on Egypt’s revolutionary women and the role they have played since Tahrir Square, the event served as an indicator of the huge strides women have made over the last few decades (Madeleine Albright regaled the audience with a story of her great granddaughter’s insistence that a female Secretary of State is no big deal, because “all the girls are Secretaries of State”), and a reminder of how much farther we have to go (in one panel on Central America’s prostitution epidemic, it was revealed that tens of thousands of women across the region are brutalized and forced into sex work, and some face an even worse fate).
At the end of this exhilarating three day conference, capped off by Hillary Clinton, I can safely say that I, along with the 1,999 other attendees was inspired, encouraged and motivated to seek out ways in which we can change the world for the better. There is much to be done, and while change doesn’t happen in a day, or even a year, women have more power than ever to unify and drive the transformation they wish to see in the world, making it a better place for future generations to come.
As Madeleine Albright summarized “There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other.”