I was lucky to attend the sixth annual Women in the World Summit in New York City last week. Words can’t quite capture the experience of being at an entire event wrapped around the narrative on issues affecting women from Washington to Uganda, discussing the setbacks and successes of the women’s movement. With the potential for a female to run as the next President of the United States, the event was even more empowering than previous years.
This year, Women in the World partnered with The New York Times, as well as Georgetown University, for research on girls and war. During three days of programming, audience members, both at the event and those watchig online, were exposed to both brutal and positive realities from around the world. From the missing girls in Nigeria to ISIS to India’s female empowerment movement to an Israeli mother teaming up with a Palestinian mother, to the daily battle over cyber-bullying, to a session on climate change, the conference concentrated on women’s rights around the world and educated thousands in the audience (mostly women but some men!) about these issues through the use of multi-media story-telling, live speakers, interactive sponsors and social media.
There were simply too many highlights to mention (you can find more great quotes at hash tag #WITW on Twitter), so here’s a wrap-up of 10 of my favorite quotes from the event. These defined great moments of both reality and encouragement on the state of women’s affairs around the world:
“The most important thing to teach our daughters is financial independence. It gives you freedom.” – Helen Mirren
“Technology has democratized the idea of who can be an advocate.” – Jon Stewart
“Education will set you free” – Empowering words by Sister Rosemary Nyirumbe of Uganda
“As hardened as your children seem, never ever give up on them.” – Edit Schlaffer on the Girls as Weapons of War panel
“Being a girl doesn’t limit me in any way and I don’t want it to limit anyone either.” – Tavi Gevinson on feminism
“You can’t just say ‘The world is hard, I need a nap.’ Your job is to save who you can, support who you can.” – Samantha Power, U.S. Ambassador from the United Nations
“For the first time in my life, I own me, I own myself:” North Korea defector and activist, Yeonmi Park
“When we know that educating a girl can change the world, why wait?” – Freida Pinto
Tina Brown is very passionate about Women in the World and she wants participants and people who are passionate about social good. Volunteers can take on the causes spoken about at the conference directly at https://witw.catchafire.org .