The Daily Beast creator's new initiative will pursue solutions to advance the world's women & girls.
Imagine all these women in one room: Gayle King. Meryl Streep. Diane von Furstenberg. Robin Roberts. Gloria Steinem. Christy Turlington. Andrea Mitchell.
Impressive, right? But at Tuesday night's Women In The World foundation launch event in New York City, these superstar journalists, models and fashion phenoms weren't even the most powerful people there. Instead, the event hailed women who are fighting to change international policies that don't favor the fair treatment of all females around the world, and who are giving a voice and support to women who need it. In turn these activists are also inspiring YourTango's staff and readers to continue speaking up for women's rights and exploring topics that deal with women's safety and freedom. Daily Pill Can Prevent HIV Infection
In fact, we recently reported on the fact that child marriages are occuring in the U.S. (as ABC News correspondent Cynthia McFadden pointed out, can you believe that's not illegal in America?!) and that child marriage is often correlated with health issues like clinical depression and substance abuse. And if child marriages are barely being regulated in the U.S., just imagine how rampant and threatening they are for females in less developed countries. The Daily Beast: A Night Of Extraordinary Women
Child marriage is one of the key issues in women's rights that Women In The World aims to combat. As a whole, though, some incredible women have rallied together to support WIW's overall mission to give women tools to win justice and the freedom to achieve self-efficacy. Here's a glimpse at some of the most powerful moments from Tuesday's launch event for Women In The World:
- Meryl Streep opened the event, telling the story of a 38-year-old woman who was sold into marriage with her male cousin at age six. By age 15, the woman had lost her husband to violence. When a doctor told her to fight her depression by surrounding herself with other women—"lucky women, unlucky women, poor women and rich women"—this camaraderie and some skill training inspired the start of her embroidery business that now employs 120 people and has given her financial freedom and social leadership. Streep relayed the moral of this woman's story: "I'm feeling now I can get better...I am much, much successful."
- Diane von Furstenberg explained how her mother, who was a survivor of World War II's concentration camps, taught her: "Fear is not an option." von Furstenberg said, "I am proud to be a woman ... My work is supposed to inspire women, but actually, I am inspired by women." von Furstenberg's speech was hailed as one of the most poignant of the night.
- Michelle Bachelet, Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women said, "My parents taught me that I can achieve many things.They said, 'Yes, you can get married...and you can do much more than that.'"
- Leymah Gbowee, a women's rights peace activist and executive director of Women Peace and Security Network Africa, said during her discussion with GMA's Robin Roberts that part of what made her organize a peace movement that brought an end to the Second Liberian Civil War in 2003 was the thought of her children wanting to know one day what she had done to stand up for their futures. Gbowee said that she once faced arrest for her peace work but she threatened to take off her clothes to demonstrate that she would never have a man strip her of her dignity—she'd rather do it herself.
It's important for us all to to grow involved in the conversation in support of international women's rights. Support Women In The World on Facebook, follow @WomenInWorld on Twitter and participate with the hashtage #wiwlaunch.
Check out more photos from the event, with Meryl Streep, Donna Karan and more on The Daily Beast: We've Launched A Foundation!
Image courtesy of The Daily Beast.