We recently sponsored three young women to attend the United States of Women Summit in Washington DC. Below are their reflections.
The United State of Women Summit was an incredibly rewarding experience. Not only did I get to hear speeches from some of the most notable political leaders, such as President Obama, Vice President Joe Biden, and First Lady Michelle Obama, I also heard from a wide range of women’s activists — from ages as young as 11 to as old as 80. Some key points that stood out in my mind from the conference were as follows:
- Girls my age and younger live in a time in which there is the most flexibility and equality for women. Although there is much more work to be done, girls have never been more free to pursue their dreams
- Women can, in a sense, “have it all.” There is less pressure on women to choose between a family and their career
- Women’s health and security are the foundation for gender equality
- Having influential women mentors, like Julie has been for me, is a vital way to demonstrate to the younger generations what possibilities lay ahead
I feel incredibly lucky to be part of a team at Lifeway that sees the value in sending interns like myself to see what awesome opportunities are on the horizon for young women. The brand I promote does not just influence the health of both women and men, but also serves to highlight worthwhile causes that affect their customers and employees.
My time at the White House’s United State of Women Summit was eye-opening. The speeches delivered by influential and inspiring figures stirred my desire to become a more independent and bold leader in my community.
The summit focused on 6 pillars, or areas of concern. One of those pillars was Health and Wellness, which called attention to the need for more access to quality health and medical resources for women. During her keynote address, First Lady Michelle Obama explained that women need their health, first and foremost, before they can change the world around them.
Another of the summit’s pillars focused on Violence Against Women. If we’re to obtain gender equality, women’s bodies cannot and should not be dehumanized because of social status, religion, or sexual preferences. It was sobering to learn about the atrocities still being committed today in parts of the world, simply because women are not seen as equals.
According to Vice President Joe Biden, “we have to give women and girls a greater voice, but that is not enough. They have to be ensured that their voices will be heard. If we do so, we also free men, we free humanity, and we make it all better.”
I hope that, in every corner of each country, I can be a change-maker — even if it’s for only one woman whose nutrition is at risk from contaminated water or food. I hope that I can be, not just another voice, but an amplifier for the voices of other women, making sure they will be heard. The ultimate goal is a shift in attitude towards women and members of the LGBT community, and that starts with each one of us.
My Pledge To Women Is…
While at the summit, our summer intern Isabel, Zoe (the third young woman we sponsored to attend), and Stephanie asked attendees to share their pledges for women’s rights and equality through photos.
In addition to the photo campaign, Isabel, Stephanie, and Zoe conducted a brief interview with Fredie Kay, a chairwoman of the Women’s Suffrage Celebration Coalition of MA.