A few weeks ago I attended an incredible conference put on by the amazing Claudia Chan at the 92nd street Y. She has been putting on this event for now the third year. It was a two day event with over 80 speakers, men and women alike to inspire, engage and encourage women to get out there, live their life, and live their life with passion and purpose. It started with the statistic that 70% of the world’s population of poverty is women. Over the past decade there has been a rise in women talking about the issue of equality around the globe. These two days were dedicated to acknowledging, celebrating and inspiring movements to specifically empower women and girls
A quote I read recently reminded me of this idea “Make it simple, but significant” – Don Draper. This idea of not doing so much but making sure that it has an impact is what we need to embrace. We do not need to be the next Steve Jobs but if we can change one person’s life for the better we should. We are all born with the ability to change someone’s life and we should not waste it. There are so many issues that with small tasks we can change and better in the world.
Getting back to my point, this summit has multiple topics such as Women and Innovation and Women and Leadership. Powerful women such as Samantha Power and Sallie Krawcheck spoke about their experiences: the good and the bad. These people and the topics they covered sparked conversation amongst the audience and had many of us inspired.
I was easily the youngest person in attendance; however it really didn’t matter. Many people approached me and asked me what I was doing there and we started to talk about our lives. So by being the youngest person I had a very difference perspective but was also so interested in not just listening but learning about the people in the audience. I took a lot of notes and took a lot away from some of the conversations. Here are my key takeaways:
Men Need To Be Involved
Often times when men speak at women conferences it doesn’t work. They don’t understand exactly what it is like and they try to relate to use when they simply cannot. However, at this conference they did it perfectly because they did not try to relate to use but rather extend a helping hand. We often look at men as the enemy when battling gender equality when we should really see them as a reference and help in this cause. There was a section dedicated to “He for She: The Next Frontier” where Nigel Barker and Gary Barker spoke about this issue. Nigel touched on the fact that education is the single most important factor to girls lives around the world. With education, almost anything can change. It is also important to show and teach equality within the household. If boys and girls grow up understanding that we are all equal they will understand and be more willing to do chores that girls would typically do. So if they see their dad doing laundry they will not necessary associate that with their mom’s doing the housework. He noted that guys cannot escape the enormous inequality around the world and the significant injustices that are occurring before us. While men are sometimes the one that are putting down the women, they must understand that their lives benefit from treating the women as equals. So how do we combat these problems? Women must see men as the allies. There are so many men that notice these injustices but need the women to reach out to them to help out.
Showing Our Voice in # Form
#BanBoosy, #YesAllWomen, and #BringBackOutGirls have been swirling around the internet lately – I even wrote a piece on Yes All Women so it was interesting that this topic was brought up during the conference. This was a section dedicated to social media and its impact on events around the world. Here’s the deal, women hold 5% of the top position in media, thus media is majorly driven by men. They are the ones with the influence on what gets broadcasted. However, women are the ones that are more engaged on media than men. Women are the driving change in #activisim and are a new resource in social media. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest etc. is driven by women and they have been using these tools for good. But what can these social media outlets really do? With a simple hashtag actual create any change? Are these posts just “feel good” posts to make it seem like you are engaged in these events. Maybe… but if thousands of people are posting the same hashtag the actual media picks up on this and cannot help but have segments dedicated to these hashtags and create discussion which could ultimately lead to action. Sure we need the people on the ground doing that actual work but these hashtags are positive things not negative. Think about it this way – there are SO many girls out there without a voice so why not take advantage of ours when we are so fortunate to have one and use it for good.
Feminism is Cool Again
Why is that all of a sudden there are so many all women conferences and people talking about feminism? Isn’t this a thing of the past? Well at the conference they touched on this matter and showed how we are currently in a new feminism movement. This is only the beginning – women are trying to change the mindset and once this shift happens only positive changes will come about. it is about a culture change. Women need to learn not to just lean in but speak up – say what they mean and say it loudly. We need to advocate for others and encourage others rather than tear each other down. It is not about making more women CEO’s but rather about excellence at whatever level you want to reach. Each of us is the owner of our future and life experience. Never say you “don’t know what you want” you want to win and be successful. Women need to embrace this mantra and be the best they can be in all aspects of life, not just how they think they should be.
Quotes I loved Throughout the Day
“Dream Big. Work Small”
“Feminism is equal to humanism. Equality for both sexes is beneficial for both.”
“In order to have a good relationship with other you must first have a good relationship with yourself.”
“Everyone has a gift. See other peoples girds. We all want to be seen and feel loved. So share your gift.” Bring your heart to everything you do.”
“We are all born an original but most die as a copy”