02.17.10 3:55 PM ET
Women in the World: Stories and Solutions
The power-packed three-day summit Women in the World organized by the Daily Beast showcased the stories of outstanding women leaders fighting sex trafficking, child marriage, and other challenges holding back women and girls. Featuring Meryl Streep, Her Majesty Queen Rania, and activists from across the globe, watch here for extensive coverage and opportunities to get involved.
One of the most exciting parts of my job as editor of The Daily Beast is the way we can respond so quickly when our emotions are stirred. Since our launch in October 2008, The Daily Beast has been a place where stories about the impossible lives of women in countries around the world—places that rarely attract more than fleeting coverage—are covered with the same intensity we bring to American news.
When we read that a 12-year-old Pakistani maid had lived the life of a virtual slave until she was murdered by her rich employer, we asked our Pakistan correspondent Fatima Bhutto to explain a culture that can tolerate abusive child labor in elite circles. When we heard that three celebrated women’s movement leaders died in the Haiti earthquake, we asked Bernice Robertson, the International Crisis Group’s representative in Haiti, to tell us who they were and who will now fight to improve the lives of women in a reborn Haiti. When we watched video clips of the brutal crackdown in Iran's streets during the Green Revolution last June, we are among the first to report on the extraordinary leadership role Iran's women are playing in the struggle for democracy.
We will showcase leaders on the frontlines working on innovative solutions to challenges ranging from sex slavery to girls' education in the developing world to women caught in the violence of war zones.
Now, I’m thrilled to announce The Daily Beast will be producing a compelling live event that focuses in depth on powerful human stories about women. We will showcase leaders on the frontlines working on innovative solutions to challenges ranging from sex slavery to girls’ education in the developing world to women caught in the violence of war zones.
Our first annual Women in the World summit will take place at The Hudson Theatre at Millennium Broadway in New York City March 12-14. The gathering will include women pioneers in government, media, social activism, business, and the arts. It’s shaping up to be an incredibly exciting three days of provocative political discussion, dramatic presentations, and fiery debate, featuring such terrific participants as Her Majesty Queen Rania of Jordan; former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright; Thomas L. Friedman; Katie Couric; Meryl Streep; Prajwala founder and anti-trafficking activist Sunitha KrishNan; Chouchou Namegabe, the Congolese anti-rape activist and journalist; Kakenya Ntaiya, the founder of girls' schools in Kenya; Afghan women’s activist Suraya Pakzad; Barbara Walters; Christiane Amanpour; French Finance Minister Christine Lagarde; former British first lady and human-rights lawyer Cherie Blair; Ann Livermore, HP’s executive vice president of enterprise business; former foreign affairs minister of Somaliland and maternal and child health activist Edna Adan Ismail; Ching Eikenberry, wife of the U.S. ambassador to Afghanistan; U.S. Ambassador for Counter-Trafficking Luis CdeBaca; Pamela Darwin, vice president of geoscience for ExxonMobil; U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women’s Issues Melanne Verveer; Frances Townsend, former Homeland Security adviser to President George W. Bush; Zambian economist and aid expert Dambisa Moyo; Kathy Bushkin Calvin, CEO of the U.N. Foundation; the Acumen Fund’s Jacqueline Novogratz; Women for Women International founder Zainab Salbi; Tostan founder Molly Melching; Daily Beast Pakistan correspondent Fatima Bhutto; Sallie Krawcheck, Bank of America’s president of global wealth and investment management; Dina Habib Powell, Goldman Sachs’ director of global corporate engagement; philanthropist Jill Iscol; and many, many more.
On the summit’s opening night, the incomparable Meryl Streep will appear in an ensemble reading of SEVEN, a documentary play that tells the inspiring personal stories of women from seven countries. SEVEN was created by seven celebrated playwrights--Anna Deavere Smith, Ruth Margraff, Gail Kriegel, Paula Cizmar, Susan Yankowitz, Carol K. Mack, and Catherine Fillou--through conversations with Vital Voices Global Partnership, a Washington, D.C.-based organization that I have been involved with for many years, hosting gatherings to help spread word of their incredible work. Vital Voices was first under the leadership of founder Melanne Verveer and is now under the dynamic leadership of co-founder and president Alyse Nelson. I first saw SEVEN at a reading hosted by New York University’s Center for Global Affairs two years ago, and thought the play did an incredible job of dramatizing the formidable challenges facing women in the developing world. I asked the legendary Broadway director Julie Taymor if she would consider staging a reading of SEVEN for our summit, and cast seven major actresses in the roles of these real-life heroines. She very generously said yes, as did Meryl, who has chosen to read the role of Irish activist Inez McCormack (who, along with the other women whose stories are featured in the play, will be joining us at the summit). Equally speedy in their responses to our call were the gifted top-line actresses Shohreh Aghdashloo ( The House of Sand and Fog), Tony-nominated Julyana Soelistyo ( Golden Child), Lauren Vélez ( Dexter), and Archie Panjabi ( The Good Wife).
We are so grateful for the support of HP senior vice president Michael Mendenhall, who was as swift as Meryl Streep in agreeing that HP should be our Founding Partner. And the summit would not be possible without the financial support of ExxonMobil, Bank of America, and Goldman Sachs’ 10,000 Women initiative. The summit’s co-hosts are Vital Voices Global Partnership, the United Nations Foundation, and Diane von Furstenberg.
On the second night of Women in the World, co-host and Vital Voices board member Diane von Furstenberg will invite guests to a celebration at the United Nations of her first annual DVF Awards, where cash prizes are given to four women who have shown extraordinary leadership.
We’ll be covering all of Women in the World here at The Daily Beast, with live reporting and video highlights from the summit. And through interactive tools here on the site, you’ll be able to discuss the issues right alongside our participants, whose profiles we will bring you soon. You’ll also be able to donate to the causes that move your heart.
I hope you’ll check back frequently to hear more news about Women in the World, and take notice of our coverage on the Beast of courageous international women and the issues that matter to them. Most importantly, I hope you’ll join the discussion with us March 12-14 here at The Daily Beast—it’s one you won’t want to miss.
Tina Brown is the founder and editor in chief of The Daily Beast. She is the author of the 2007 New York Times bestseller The Diana Chronicles. Brown is the former editor of Tatler, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, and Talk magazines and host of CNBC's Topic A with Tina Brown.