Toppling Traditions

A Women in the World discussion about what it takes to undo misogynistic traditions in a culture. Watch the live-stream online Saturday, March 13 at 4 p.m. at

How do you empower women and girls in traditional societies where men hold most of the power? How can you convince skeptical mothers and fathers that it’s in their daughters’ best interest to shun socially celebrated practices like female genital mutilation and early marriage?

Those are the difficult questions that women’s rights activists in Africa confront each day, and that our panelists will discuss with moderator Diane Sawyer, ABC News anchor. Molly Melching is the founder of Tostan, a trailblazing NGO that works with hundreds of villages in Senegal to abandon female genital-cutting. Panelist Marietou Diarra’s daughter died after a botched circumcision; she then became an anti-cutting activist herself. Edna Adan Ismail is the former foreign affairs minister of Somaliland, and the founder of a hospital that provides reproductive health care in one of the poorest, most rural regions in Africa. They’ll be joined by Maria Otero, the undersecretary of state for democracy and global affairs and former CEO of ACCION International, which empowers developing-world women through microfinance.

• From The Daily Beast: Read Dana Goldstein’s report on getting men involved with women’s rights work in Africa

• Click here for a full summit agenda

• Click here to read more about the amazing lineup of Women in the World speakers