How veterans of the first feminist revolution like Hillary Clinton and Meryl Streep are encouraging younger women to band together
I’m jazzed from being a delegate at Tina Brown’s Women in the World summit where we heard from the most wonderful women and young girls – all on the same theme – empowering women and girls GLOBALLY.
Over 2,500 women crammed the Koch Theatre in Lincoln Center with a dozen women’s colleges stacked up to the fourth balcony. We heard from women and girls from the poorest and most brutal countries for females, girls with the courage and new tools to tell their stories and work toward taking collective action to expose forced marriages and indentured servitude and the denial of education.
What this summit showed is it’s the forward guard of Boomer women who are back in the lead and the leadership – women in their 50s and 60s – like Meryl Streep and Hillary Clinton (same age, 68) appearing with Tina Brown (59), who assembled 2,500 women at only her third summit and live-streamed it around the world.
These Boomer women pioneers are not giving up, winding down, feeling invisible, like their mothers did after 50. These and many other veterans of the first feminist revolution are now challenging younger Boomers and exciting their own twenty-something and 30-year-old daughters to join in a GLOBAL women’s rights movement.
Women in Generation X were on panels, too. Women like Sheryl Sandberg, now COO of Facebook, who thought all the barriers were down when they came out of law or business school, only to run into new barriers. Many assumed that their failure to surmount those problems was their own fault. They had dismissed feminism and pooh-poohed collective action. They came to regret it. But they know better now.
It’s women in their 20s and early 30s, like Chelsea Clinton, who know the story and have the skills and blogs and Facebook and huge social networks to broadcast the barriers and abuses, showcase the brave successes and new heroines, and awaken their generation to ACTION.
On the last morning of the summit, we awoke to see on the front page of The New York Times a stunning photo of two women leaders in the world who are working TOGETHER – notwithstanding their opposing philosophies – on how to save Europe and the world from another financial disaster: International Monetary Fund Chief Christine Lagarde and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
They are showing the world a whole different model of leadership: friendly (they bring trinkets for each other to their meetings), fierce in expressing their opposing philosophies of financial management, but patient and respectful and sworn to find the best compromise possible. Unlike male leaders, one doesn’t have to “kill” the other and come out on top.
As our world-wise Secretary of State Clinton challenged us: “WE MUST BE FEARLESS.”
And as our feisty former Secretary of State, Madeline Albright, warned us: “THERE IS A SPECIAL PLACE IN HELL FOR WOMEN WHO DON’T HELP EACH OTHER.
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