Generation Inspiration: WIE Can Change the World
“Educate a woman, and you educate a nation.”
I am excited to announce that I have been designated one of twenty Young Champions for Women by the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood and the Women: Inspiration & Enterprise (WIE) Network. I will be attending WIE Inspiration Day on September 19, 2011. Speakers will include Candace Bushnell, Fran Drescher, Arianna Huffington, Donna Karan, Christy Turlington, Barbara Bush, Dana Perino, Cynthia Rowley, Iman, Rosario Dawson, Patricia Arquette, Padma Lakshmi, and more.
Press Release from hercampus.com:
The WIE (Women: Inspiration & Enterprise) Symposium is an annual conference where the world’s leading women come together to inspire the next generation of women. This year’s symposium, hosted by media mogul Arianna Huffington, designer Donna Karan, and President of the children’s charity PiggyBankKids Sarah Brown, will take place September 18th and 19th at 82 Mercer Street in New York City.
The conference features several high-profile keynote speakers who come from all industries including actress and founder of Cancersmancher, Fran Drescher, fashion designer Rebecca Minkoff, CEO of Garrison InstituteMary Pearl and New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, just to name a few. It also has a full schedule of sessions meant to empower women in communications, health, education and advocacy, and so much more.
This year, WIE is partnering up with the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood (WRA), an organization which raises awareness about for women worldwide.
Continued from the White Ribbon Alliance:
WIE has partnered with the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood to highlight the challenges that women around the world continue to face and the progress that has been made in ensuring that every woman has access to quality health professionals before, during and after pregnancy.
As part of the effort to unite and empower rising female leaders across various spheres of influence and develop new advocates for maternal and child health, WIE has partnered with the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood to identify 20 inspired, enthusiastic, and powerful young women to be a part of this monumental conversation and represent America’s ‘Generation: Inspiration’.
What It Means to Be a Woman Now
Below are some of my thoughts exploring this year’s theme: ”What It Means to Be a Woman Now”.
The Urban Zen Foundation asked:
What does it mean to you to be a woman?
Being a woman means being the universe- hence, “Mother” Earth…”Mother” Nature. A woman, like our celestial mothers, gives life and with life, she gives love and wisdom; she nurtures, she whispers “grow” into the ears of little seedlings and shines sun upon them, and they do. A woman is an sculptor of the future, steadily chiseling away through tragedy and triumph alike. A woman is an unsung war hero- ready to fight with her most powerful weapon: Her heart….love.
Why is female mentorship important to you?
Female mentorship is important because no one understands what it’s like to be a woman except another woman. No one talks about it, but women are still very much “second class citizens”. We still aren’t getting equal pay for the same jobs men do. Most violent crime is against women- rape, domestic violence, sex trafficking, female genital mutilation. Crimes against humanity are against women: denying women prenatal care, basic healthcare, denial of education in some countries where less than 25% of girls go to school (Uganda). I don’t just want to “talk” about these things- I want to CHANGE them. I want to be inspired so that I can inspire women everywhere…because we truly are the future.
In what ways are you inspired to create positive social change for women?
I am inspired to create positive social change for women in every way possible. I am inspired by life, by beauty, by stillness- I believe every women…every person should be able to experience those things. There are so many areas and needs for change- education, healthcare, the media’s relationship with women, our culture’s relationship with women. Thankfully, there are many strengths to work with too! One thing we have working for us is the butterfly effect- when we make a change in one area, it carries across to other systems. Our well being is dependent upon the well being of others- “I am, because you are.”
The White Ribbon Alliance asked: Why are you interested in attending WIE Inspiration Day? How do you foresee utilizing your experience at WIE Inspiration Day to advocate for maternal health?
Not long ago, I was shocked to find out about the rates of maternal mortality, particularly in countries like Bhangladesh, Africa, Guatemala, and even here in the United States. UNICEF has estimated that a woman dies from childbirth complications every minute. In our world of medical miracles, these numbers are inexcusable. With our research studies showing the importance of prenatal care and the advent of the Internet, aka the world web that connects us all, these numbers are inexcusable. As a woman, these numbers are inexcusable. What’s even more inexcusable is that most of these deaths are preventable.
I consider myself to be a socially aware individual, especially given that I am a social worker by profession. However, I just became aware of these staggering statistics myself, in April 2011. I immediately felt the need to spread awareness by doing what I could at the time- blogging about it. I would like to continue advocating for women’s rights- especially the mothers, because they are carrying our future. When women and children die, the future dies.
Attending WIE is a way that I can continue to advocate; to network & gain new inspiration and information…to integrate what I’ve learned into my work. I want to be the change that I’d like to see in the world. Spreading awareness via Twitter, Facebook, and blogging are just some of the many ways I can do so. I’d even love the opportunity to volunteer in another country some day. I want to be a conduit & catalyst for change in my generation.
I want to help change the world by changing minds; we can make a difference. And WIE will!