In a star-studded, moving two days at the fourth Women in the World Summit in New York, women were challenged to demand their rights. Millions more around the globe got the message through social media and the Web.
Sheryl Sandberg gave us Lean In, her neo-feminist mantra that if women are to get ahead in American society, they need to remain committed to the workplace and not let career take a back seat to family and marriage. Now the fourth annual Women in the World Summit has added to and amended that vocabulary by highlighting how women must, in the words of summit founder and co-host, Newsweek and The Daily Beast editor-in-chief Tina Brown, “lean on”: on corporations, on courts, on governments and clerics, and, above all, on fathers, brothers, boyfriends, and male acquaintances to stop persecuting women and to “safeguard the rights and well-being, and to free up the economic potential, of a full half of all [the world’s] citizens.”
The summit’s “lean on” message reverberated throughout two days of electrifying panels April 4 and 5 in front of a sold-out crowd at Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater. Now in its fourth year, the event—which draws world leaders, top CEOs, firebrand activists, and grassroots organizers to New York to discuss the most pressing global challenges to, and to spotlight the energetic momentum of, the women’s-rights movement today—was sponsored by Toyota, AT&T, Bank of America, the Coca-Cola Co., Liberty Mutual Insurance, Merck for Mothers, Mary Kay, and Thomson Reuters and co-hosted by Brown, Dr. Hawa Abdi, Nizan Guanaes, Julie Hamp, Jane Harman, Maya L. Harris, Lauren Bush Lauren, Ai-jen Poo, Meryl Streep, Melanne Verveer, and Diane von Furstenberg. The event’s social-media hashtag—#wiw13—inundated Twitter and reached more than 18 million people on the first night alone as audiences celebrated the courageous stories shared on stage and broadcast calls-to-arms to their own followers.