“Down here on planet earth, there are legions of everyday heroines who though they may not have actual superpowers, display daily acts of fierce pre-natural courage.” The words belong to Tina Brown, founder and CEO of Women In The World Summit. 2019 marked a decade of the summit which was founded with the goal of bringing women from different parts of the world and various professions together.
This year saw many phenomenal women being a part of the conference including Oprah Winfrey, Hillary Clinton, Priyanka Chopra, Cindy McCain, Indra Nooyi, Ashley Judd, and Brie Larson. By the end of the three-day summit, we have all the reasons in the world to believe that these women can save the world. Here is all that came up in the Women In The World Summit 2019.
Priyanka Chopra Jonas has been making headlines for a while for her successful cross-over to Hollywood and her recent wedding to American singer-songwriter Nick Jonas. At the Women In The World Summit 2019, this Goodwill Ambassador of UNICEF spoke of how her upbringing in a matriarchal family shaped the feminist in her. In her usual badass, confident self, she defined feminism in a few simple words. “Feminism is all about choices, right? And every individual woman — individual choice” she said.
Priyanka Chopra Jonas also spoke of experiences in the entertainment industry ruled by men and why the times are changing for better all over the world. She said that women are enjoying a new found voice right now in retrospect to the #MeToo movement. According to her, women always had a choice, just nobody heard them. But now, no one can shut down a woman. This voice is an incredibly powerful thing to see. She said that women don’t feel ashamed or alone now if they have a story.
The woman who influenced the former US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton to make this statement was none other than Jacinda Ardern, New Zealand PM. Being another woman in the same profession, Clinton recalled her meeting with Ardern a year ago when she was pregnant. Hillary said, “I think that that was as strong a signal as we could get that given the chance, many women will govern and lead differently.”
She wasn’t the only speaker who took the stage to speak of their admiration for New Zealand PM. Jacinda Ardern was mentioned for her compassionate and undeterred leadership during the terrorist attack against the Muslim community by World renowned TV show host and philanthropist Oprah Winfrey and Anna Wintour, Editor-in-Chief of Vogue. Oprah Winfrey said that she had “never seen such leadership.”
Cindy McCain was one of the strongest and fearless voices in the summit. Being the chairman of the McCain Institute For International Leadership didn’t shy away from raising voice against the policies of government too. She took the opportunity to correct a few misconceptions and said that slavery isn’t dead and it is an ongoing epidemic. “Slavery in the form of sex trafficking is hiding in plain sight — “everywhere,” she said.
It was only a month ago US President Donald Trump said that closing the Mexico border will put an end to human trafficking. Cindy McCain said that it is a domestic issue and children are being trafficked from state to state. She laughed at Trump and said that he is living in Disneyland.
Saudi women made quite an impression at the Women In The World Summit. Manal Al-Sharif was one of the women who fought for women’s rights. She lives in Australia now due to a self-imposed exile as all her fellow activists are in jail and are being tortured. They were arrested during the protests against Saudi Arabia's ban on women driving.
She spoke of the grim reality of women in Saudi. The country is called the kingdom of men as women need the permission of father, husband, or son to leave their home. Criticising the laws of Saudi Arabia, she said that her son will become her legal guardian when he turns 18. With a laugh, Al-Sharif said, “I’m not kidding you. My son becomes my legal guardian. I will kick his butt.”
Brie Larson is one of the most sought after actresses in Hollywood, and she has made a mark that will never fade with her appearance as Captain Marvel. In her conversation with Vanity Fair Editor-in-Chief Radhika Jones at Women In The World Summit 2019, Brie Larson got real about her career and women’s place in Hollywood. She said that women are raised believing that money is wrong. And that is the reason for the wage gap in all industries.
If women ask for raise in payment together and consistently, they will get it. She also criticised the notion that is believed by the majority of people that women can't headline a bankable franchise. She called the idea that a women can’t do movies or the female story isn’t high art a bogus.
The Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour spoke all about how #MeToo movement revolutionised the magazine. She said that a code of conduct was immediately released globally to ensure no woman is harassed. The magazine also made the tough decision to not work with a number of brilliant photographers for being under investigation for sexual harassment. “That has been a very, very tough decision, but absolutely no question that it was the right one to make,” she said.
In her conversation with Women In The World founder Tina Brown, answering the question "Is there anything President Trump could do to score an invite to the Met Gala?", she said "absolutely nothing".
Being retired from one of the most successful careers in the corporate world, Indra Nooyi revealed how she managed to rock her career and take care of her children at the same time. When Nooyi joined PepsiCo in the nineties, her daughters were nine years old and nine months old. She was working around the clock. In order to spend time with her kids and take care of them, the children were brought to the office every day.
“If I couldn’t go home and take care of the kids, my office was going to become the place where they would hang out,” she said. When the moderator asked if her bosses were okay with that, Nooyi replied like the boss she is, "Did they have a choice?" Indra Nooyi said that the reason behind her success is that her focus on the family and a supportive husband.
Women In The World Summit is a stage for women who are bringing in changes in the world with their innovative ideas. Miranda Wang and Jeanny Yao are Co-Founders of BioCellection Inc. and are on the road to eliminating the global plastic crisis. BioCollection is working with a method which breaks down plastic and modifies the components into other useful chemicals. These chemicals can be used to make nylon or paint.
Miranda Wang said that their technology is significant because only nine per cent of the plastic that goes into the trash is recycled. If the world goes on in the same pattern, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by 2050. Miranda Wang and Jeanny Yao are breaking into the waste management industry that is ruled by men. And, they are doing it with much better technology.