I’m not really into name dropping (wink, wink), but if I were, these are the names I would drop: Hillary Clinton, Christine Lagarde (managing director of the International Monetary Fund), Jimmy Carter, John Stewart, Diane von Furstenberg, Sarah Jessica Parker, Katie Couric, Alicia Keys, America Ferrera, Ken Burns, Rashida Jones, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Pussy Riot. To name a few. These are just some of the women and men who I got to be in the same room with during the Women in the World Summit the past few days.
Toyota, who was one of the sponsors of the event, invited me to come and to meet some of the more “normal” women — the ones who may not be household names (yet) but have created things that are changing the world. They were honored as “Mothers of Invention” for their contributions. One of them, Lauren Schweder Biel, co-founded DC Greens, which has created a food system for bringing fresh fruits and vegetables to the inner-city kids of DC. Two more, Anna Stork and Andrea Sreshta, invented an inflatable, solar-powered, light that can be a game-changer in emergency situations as well as on family camping trips. And then there is Tricia Compas-Markman, whose water purification system allows people to collect and treat water on-site so that they can have 10 liters of potable water in 30 minutes — another game-changer in emergency and disaster situations.
So that was pretty awesome.
As was the rest of the summit. Over 3 days I could not tear myself away from the panels discussing issues women are facing all over the world, from chemical weapons and displacement in Syria, reconciling victims and perpetrators of genocide in Rwanda, changing the rape and honor-killing culture in India, to dealing with the “pornification of everything” and body image and beauty issues in the US.
I laughed, I cried, I was inspired and enlightened. There were panels that I wished could have gone on for days rather than the 20 or 30 minutes they were allotted. It was really an amazing opportunity. I want to talk with everybody about everything I heard. I’m hoping in the next few days I’ll be able to share more about it on MotherRunner and Babble. I’ll keep you posted . . . .