The 2011 Summit brought together extraordinary women from around the globe. Watch the most inspiring moments.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton—and predecessors Condoleezza Rice and Madeleine Albright—join the conversation.
Packed with events on topics ranging from sex trafficking to breaking workplace barriers—to ensuring that U.S. policy supports women and girls around the globe—day two of the Women in the World Summit promises new insight into some of our most pressing issues. Here’s a quick preview:
* The morning kicks off with a frank discussion about the horrific impact of acid violence, which disproportionately affects women—and how to forge new laws to prevent attacks. With Good Morning America’s Juju Chang guiding the conversation, hear from a survivor, and a surgeon who's helped to give victims new hope. Update: ABC News' Cynthia McFadden filled in for Chang.
* Later in the a.m., actress/activist Ashley Judd will introduce what promises to be a powerful segment about sex trafficking here in the U.S., which counts up to 300,000 children among its victims. The panel will be moderated by TV personality and judge Hon. Jeanine Pirro.
Survivor Yem Chhuon and her 6-year-old daughter—the youngest reported victim of an attack—share their harrowing story.
Friday morning's first session brought many audience members to tears. In "Stealing Beauty," Dr. Ebby Elahi, Judge Joan Arterton, and Yem Chhuon gave attendees a window into the deeply troubling, terribly under-reported global incidences of acid attacks. Eighty percent of victims are women. And Yem, who came from Cambodia to speak to the summit, is one of them.
Acid attack victims Yem Chhuon and her 6-year-old daughter. (Photo: Marc Bryan-Brown)
Six years ago, she was breastfeeding her newborn baby when her husband’s mistress snuck into her house, and threw acid in her face. It caused severe disfigurement to both her, and Sophorn, who was just twelve days old at the time, and is officially the world’s youngest acid attack victim. “I tried my very best to cover and protect my baby, but yes, my baby suffered as well,” Yem said through her interpreter. “My daughter is here with me and she’s very beautiful and very smart.”
With that, McFadden asked Sophorn to join her mother on stage, and a few minutes later she appeared, a beautiful little girl, now 6, wearing a bright pink skirt and crooked pigtails. She smiled broadly and put her hands together in front of her in a traditional Cambodian greeting, then hopped in Dr. Elahi’s lap.
Activist Malika Saada-Saar: “These girls are not hookers. They are victims of child rape. We have to name that.”
Friday’s third session started with actress Ashley Judd delivering a powerful, if upsetting message about the child sex trade. “Who are these men who buy children for sex?” she asked the audience. “They are our fathers, our uncles. The guy who gets out of the taxi before you get in, the guy on the stair-master next to you.”
Ashley Judd (Photo: Marc Bryan-Brown)
The session, “No Such Thing: Trafficking of Girls in the United States” was intented to dispel a common perception: that child sex trafficking is an issue limited to the third world. It worked. Panelists Malika Saada-Saar, founder of the anti-trafficking organization the Rebecca Project, Dr. Sharon Cooper, who studies the impact of sex slavery on the development of chidren’s brains, retired police sergeant Doug Justus, Judd, and moderator Hon. Jeanine Pirro, a former district attorney and current TV host, brought the message home with jarring statistics, and startling stories.
Between 100,000 and 300,000 children—primarily girls between the ages of 12 and 14—are victims of the sex trade right here in the United States. But instead of being helped, they’re being prosecuted—arrested for prostitution, thrown in juvenile detention, vilified in the media as bad girls, instead of victims. It is, as Saada Saar said, “the only incidence of child abuse where we put the child behind bars.”
Mexican writer Lydia Cacho: “I have survived rape and torture, but I will continue to write.”
The risks to foreign correspondents covering wars, protests and major events was underscored earlier this year when CBS correspondent Lara Logan was sexually assaulted covering the Egyptian revolution in Cairo. But there are a number of women journalists who not only cover conflicts from the frontlines, but live them as well. Congolese radio correspondent Chouchou Namegabe (pictured below), co-founder and coordinator of AFEM/SK, gave a powerful account on Friday of one of the biggest dilemmas she faced when covering the atrocities in Rwanda. “There was no word for rape,” she says, recalling how she and her sole female colleague came up with a way to describe it. “It is a shame to talk about rape. It was taboo to talk about sex on the radio.” But Namegabe didn’t care, and told the stories of countless women who suffered door-to-door rape and one who, seven months into her pregnancy, was raped by a group of men while her husband was forced to kneel beside the bed and watch.
Chouchou Namegabe ((Photo: Marc Bryan-Brown))
Africa and the Middle East certainly dominate the headlines in recent months, but they are not the only conflict areas that pose challenges to the journalists who cover them. And Namegabe is not alone in her battle to cover wars and conflicts that are also part of their daily lives. Mexican author and journalist Lydia Cacho, who says her readership think of her as “the crazy feminist in the newspapers” came to what she calls “gender journalism” out of a will to tell a story no one wanted to hear. After publishing a book based on her investigation of a pedophile trafficking ring in Mexico, armed police officers came to her house and “tortured” her for twenty hours to intimidate and punish her for exposing the crime. Reading an excerpt from her book, she vowed not to give up exposing the truth. “I have survived rape and torture,” she said. “But I will continue to write.”
Women journalists do face particular challenges in the field, more vulnerable to sexual assault and cultural stigmas, but Caroline Drees, Reuters managing editor for Middle East and Africa, says she does not make decisions on who to send to battle based on gender. “I hesitate before sending anyone to conflict,” she said, describing factors like the journalist’s personal experiences, language skills and the last time they were in conflict. “I consider many things, but not their gender.” Poignantly missing from the panel was American war photographer Linsey Addario. In a fuzzy pre-taped conversation from the front lines of the battle in Libya, she described how she had no body armor, no helmet. It had been confiscated in Cairo.
“Stay safe,” said Sir Harold Evans, who moderated the panel. “Come home safe.” But for those who live on the battlefields and frontlines, going home is not an option. Women journalists who cover the conflicts they are living first-hand are true heroes.
Why can't women make it to the top?
In a funny and fast-paced panel on Friday afternoon, Mika Brzezinski, co-host of MSNBC’s Morning Joe, explained that when it comes to women in the workplace, females are constantly stuck under the top layer. In fact, a female college graduate will earn $1.2 million less in her lifetime than her male peer, even though females now have more graduate degrees than men.
Cherie Blair, John Donahoe, Cheryl Mills, Sheryl Sandberg and Mika Brzezinski (Marc Bryan-Brown)
Why can’t women break through the glass ceiling? Many of the panelists cited the fact that men often attribute their successes to themselves, while women usually give credit to other colleagues who helped. “You can negotiate for your child, for your country and we will like you for that,” said Cheryl Mills, counselor and chief of staff to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. “But, for yourself… how do you do that?” Women aren’t taught to go after things as much as men—and when they do, they worry others will see them as too aggressive and not likeable. “I don’t believe women are leaning in their careers as much as men,” said Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook. “Women for a bunch of reasons are not sure they want promotions.” Sitting to her left, the only male on the panel, John Donahoe, president and CEO of eBay Inc., chimed in: “Well, I like it when a women leans in, in any organization.” The crowd laughed. “I am the minority so you can make as much fun of me as you want,” he joked.
The HP photo booth at the Women in the World summit asked participants, "What's the one thing women need more of?" View some of their answers.
We asked participants of this year's Women in the World summit to tell us what they think the one thing women need more of. The answers ranged from "confidence" to "education" to "respect." Check out the photos to see the responses—and please stop by HP's photo booth—or Facebook!—to tell us what you think.
Tune into Women in the World's livestream video, starting at 6:30 p.m. EST.
Brave women of the Middle East talk about new forms of protest--and their hope for the future of women's rights in the Arab world
From the stage of The Daily Beast's Women in the World conference in New York Thursday night, Egypt's Dalia Ziada delivered a grim reminder. "Democracy," she said, "will never happen without women's rights."
Christiane Amanpour (Photo: Marc Bryan-Brown)
The message was badly needed for her compatriots in the Egyptian revolution, in which Ziada, a popular blogger, author and activist, had joined thousands of other women in taking to the streets. Breaking with the country's notoriety for sexual harassment and abuse, women stood side-by-side with men in Tahrir Square to help bring about the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak's authoritarian regime. Yet when Egyptian women marched this week to honor International Women's Day, many of those same men attacked them, both verbally and physically, telling them to go back home.
For Ziada, the incident lent credence to a point she has long worked to hammer home, which she reiterated Thursday night—that the Internet "can be a space for unveiling the minds of Muslim women." "No one cares if I'm a man or a woman," she told a packed crowd at the Millennium Hotel's Hudson Theatre, in a panel called "Firebrands: Pioneers in the New Age of Digital Dissent," moderated by Christiane Amanpour. "They only care for my mind."
Iranian activist Sussan Tahmasebi, who shared the stage with Ziada tonight, has also taken advantage of the Web's democratic potential, using it to promote her One Million Signatures Campaign, which pushes for women's legal rights, which lag far behind educational rights—"Young Iranian women are more educated than their male counterparts," she said.
Journalist and activist Wajeha H. Al-Huwaider, meanwhile, posted a YouTube video of herself driving—which is illegal in Saudi Arabian cities—to try and prod the country's repressive monarchy toward reform. "We live in a very dark area," she said, adding that the country's closed society and close relationships with Western governments mean stories of repression are less likely to be heard. "We have no rights. The only thing we have, everywhere you go—mosques."
Yet in countries like these, pushing for women's rights carries real-world danger. Tahmasebi mentioned that members of her group have been dragged by police from parks and subways. And as Egypt showed this week, even after revolutions come, the fight for real democracy may be far from over. "The moment when women are in the streets and asking for change is not a unique moment," said Zainab Salbi, the Iraqi founder of Women for Women International, an organization that helps women in post-conflict nations. "The moment when they're told to go back home is also not unique."
The real test, she said, comes in deciding to stay.
Gates Foundation to invest $1.5 billion in maternal and neonatal mortality in the developing world.
Rounding out the evening's panels, renowned philanthropist Melinda Gates issued a call to arms to improve maternal and neonatal health worldwide—and declared it a major new focus for the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Melinda Gates tells Charlie Rose: 3 million newborns die in their first month of life. (Photo: Marc Bryan-Brown)
In recent years, the Foundation—the world’s largest private charity, with an endowment of over $33 billion—has become a global health juggernaut, pouring billions each year into research and treatment of diseases such as malaria, rotovirus and polio that have largely disappeared from the developed world but continue to kill millions in poorer areas.
Now, the Foundation is turning its influence—and investing $1.5 billion—toward mothers and newborns, a direction that Gates highlighted during the conference. Talking to legendary broadcaster Charlie Rose, Gates said, “There are so many women who die in maternal death and childbirth, deaths that are inexcusable…if you think about a child’s health, it’s related to the woman’s health. If you want to lift up a society, you have to lift up both of those things.”
The heroic, 63-year-old doctor started a one-room medical clinic in 1983 that morphed into a home for 90,000 Somalians.
In one of the day's final events, Dr. Hawa Abdi sharing her extraordinary story: The heroic, 63-year-old Somalian doctor started a one-room medical clinic in 1983 that has since morphed into a hospital and home for 90,000 Somalians, all displaced from their homes by the chaos and violence of the country. The residents live peacefully on Abdi’s 1300 acres of property, despite the country’s endemic problem of inter-clan strife.
Dr. Hawa Abdi (Photo: Marc Bryan-Brown)
Eliza Griswold, Daily Beast writer and author of The Tenth Parallel, who first spent time with Abdi in 2007 and has written about her extensively since, shared the stage with Dr. Abdi. “When you arrive, you see a sign written on a board and you enter a virtual utopia, run by women,” Griswold said of the utopian space.
Delving into how Abdi has managed to achieve what she has, Tina Brown commented, “You don’t seem like a very scary woman,” Tina Brown remarks. “How do you do this?” In other words: how do you keep the peace?
In her response, Abdi was nonchalant and matter-of-fact. Her daughter, also a doctor and seated to her right, chimed in: “If you don’t follow our rules, you lose your piece of land.” As proof of the policy's efficacy, Abdi’s daughter also said that “the boys who grew up in the camp are today the camp guards. . . We raised a whole generation of police.”
Still, the community hasn't been without its truly difficult moments. Last May, the Party of Islam dispatched a militia—750 soldiers strong—to seize the hospital and demand that Abdi cease her work. In the face of this threat, Abdi was characteristically undaunted. She refused to budge, despite a full week of heavy shelling. “I will die with my dignity,” she said.
Because international media organizations picked up on the story, the world learned about the attack—and outrage spread. Somalian women stormed Abdi’s property, surrounding it to signal their solidarity, and to insist on the departure of the occupying soldiers. The militia eventually left, and Abdi resumed her hospital’s services.
Tina Brown, Diane von Furstenberg, Mike Bloomberg call for action.
And we're off! Speaking before a packed Times Square theater, Newsweek and Daily Beast Editor in Chief Tina Brown welcomed women leaders from around the world—"freethinking firebrands" and "dangerous rabble-rousers" among them—to the second annual Women in the World summit. "These are revolutionary days," she said, stressing the critical timing of the conference, with women in the Middle East fighting an unprecedented battle for their rights and freedom. "Women are at the forefront of the fight against oppression, affecting hundreds of millions in the region," she said, adding that "the treatment of women in any society is a marker of its civilization."
New York City Mayor Mike Bloomberg welcomes the "pioneers" and "revolutionaries" attending the summit. (Photo: Marc Bryan-Brown)
Brown introduced the co-hosts of the summit, all luminaries in their fields: Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook; Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, former managing director of the World Bank; Judith Rodin, president of the Rockefeller Foundation; and fashion icon Diane von Furstenberg all called for change. "We're here because we believe that gender equality is the issue of our era," said Sandberg. She said that her hero was a Cambodian woman who was sold into a brothel when she was 12 or 13, and lived there as a sex slave—until she escaped. Now the woman works to help those in similar situations, dedicating herself, "day in and day out, to saving others from the same fate that she faced." “We believe that justice will prevail over time, because justice has to prevail over time," Sandberg said. "We're here today because we believe in action."
New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg rounded out the panel, praising the conference's "pioneers" and pointing out that the city is home to more than four million women. "I think it's safe to say they probably do more than half the work," Bloomberg said, adding that three of his deputy mayors are women, and that he goes to his 102-year-old mother when he needs good advice. "Diane [von Furstenberg] told me to say that," he joked.
Of the women who will be participating in the Women in World event, he said, "Many of these women are acting locally, but their impact is truly global."
As Newsweek and The Daily Beast's Women in the World summit kicked off tonight, Bill Clinton spoke passionately about Libya, Peter King, and why we haven't had a female president yet.
The day ended with a bang as Tina Brown sat down with former President Bill Clinton for a wide-ranging conversation that spanned Col. Muammar Gaddafi (he's "crazy"), Afghanistan ("getting rid of the Taliban was a good thing") and the controversial Peter King hearings on Islam (he's going about them all wrong). A few of the interview's newsiest moments.
1. The Former President Supports a No-Fly Zone for Libya
The position is at odds with that of the administration. On Wednesday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said that a no-fly zone over Libya could not be a U.S.-led effort, and would need the backing of the international community. "I think it's very important that this not be a U.S.-led effort, because this comes from the people of Libya themselves," she said.
2. The Peter King Hearings Reinforce 'Two-Dimensional' Stereotypes
"More than 200 Muslims were killed in 9/11," Clinton said. "Many of the people we cheer for in the streets in Egypt [are Muslim]... It's important we appreciate what's good about the contributions American Muslims have made."
Ashley Judd, Madeleine Albright, Condoleezza Rice, Dr. Hawa Abdi, Lesley Stahl, Hillary Clinton, the DVF Awards and more.
Dispatches from our second annual Women in the World Summit.
Today begins our second annual Women in the World Summit, a three-day gathering of inspirational female leaders from all over the world. Over the course of the week, we'll meet female trailblazers from Africa and the Middle East, Asia and the United States, CEOs and politicians, grassroots activists, women reporting from the frontlines of war zones, former and current secretaries of state, and innumerable others who are doing everything in their power to create change for women around the world.
Today kicks off with a welcome from NEWSWEEK and Daily Beast Editor in Chief Tina Brown, as well as introductions from Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, of the World Bank, Rockefeller Foundation President Judith Rodin, Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg, and longtime friend of the Beast, Diane von Furstenberg. In one of our two male appearances tonight—we love men, too!—New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg will give a talk, followed by a reading from Iranian-American actress (and Oscar nominee, for House of Sand and Fog) Shohreh Aghdashloo.
Our first panel this evening, moderated by Christiane Amanpour, is called "Firebrands," and features brave women from the Middle East who will discuss their hopes for change in the Arab world (more on that to come). We'll round out the evening with a conversation with Melinda Gates, who will be interviewed by Charlie Rose, and a dinner conversation with former President Bill Clinton.
We'll be blogging here live for the duration of the summit—and encourage you to watch the events unfold on our live-streamed video page, which will launch this evening.
Also: curious who the women we'll be honoring this week are? Check out our agenda, as well as this fantastic interactive, 150 Women Who Shake the World.
From a harrowing tale of sex trafficking in the U.S to a women's utopia in war-torn Somalia, read the incredible stories shared on stage at Newsweek and The Daily Beast's Women in the World Summit.
They are heads of state and heads of household, angry protesters in the city square and sly iconoclasts in remote villages. Newsweek and The Daily Beast honors local heroes, and the growing network of powerful women who support their efforts.
Newsweek and The Daily Beast's second annual Women in the World summit brought together Hillary Clinton, Egyptian bloggers, Facebook's Sheryl Sandberg and dozens of inspiring activists from around the globe.
Tina Brown sat down with Charlie Rose to speak about the purpose of the Women in the World summit. "By dramatizing these stories to people, by showing them women and hearing from them, letting them connect with them, they feel so much more aroused to help," she said.
From Hillary Clinton and Hawa Abdi to Christiane Amanpour and Nawal El Saadawi,see the participants in the 2011 Women in the World Summit.
In a time of momentous change in the world, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton sets out on her most heartfelt mission: to put women and girls at the forefront of the new world order.