My experience of the Women In The World summit in London
Last month I had the chance to get free restricted view last minute tickets to the Women in the World summit in London, and it was just amazing!! There were very emotional and very inspiring talks. There were very simple and very famous women, all with a very empowering message: Following Homeward Bound‘s idea, here are the strongest insights I retain and that I wanted to share with you (no particular order, I hope you find it inspiring too):
1) The improvement of women’s rights and education is the solution to most of the conflicts in the world right now (ISIS understood it much before us and are making women less than nothing now because the few that are educated are a risk for them).
2) If you want more films with women role leaders or made by women, show it by going to watch the few that are out there like “Suffragettes” coming out at the time of the summit. There is also a play with Nicole Kidman in London right now on Rosalind Franklin’s career and how her findings on the DNA structure were stolen and she did not even get the Nobel Prize!
3) One good rule in Life about self-confidence is to focus on YOUR opinion of yourself, not the one people let you think of yourself. The image of women in the media with perfect bodies and stupid brains should not influence us at all, neither the image of an engineer or a mathematician to be a big old man with funny hair and a lab-coat. This is one strong thing that next generations of boys and girls need to understand.
4) “Women are like Wonderbra! uplifting, supportive and making each other better”! haha from Kathy Lette Australian-British author who was so funny and sharp as an interviewer during the summit.
5) Does it take women leaders to make more women leaders? YES this is as simple as that. Iceland is probably the best country to be a female right now after CEO Halla Tomasdottir, girls grow up believing that and in all domains there are quotas for having between 40 and 60% of each sex in boards. Quotas are probably the easiest solution to tackle the lack of women leaders at the moment while the next generation is being better informed to raise their ambition.
6) Women need to be less obedient, more opportunistic and confident. Too many women in science for instance when they receive a phone call for an interview will decline because they don’t feel they can do it. Mentorship and sponsorship are determinant and it is exactly what this Homeward Bound is about! Desire to Aspire! Same about plenary talks and Wikipedia authors as in this Freakonomics podcast.
7) Men need to be involved, the era of male pale and stale is over, more and more men know that. Men need to understand that DIVERSITY in leadership is key to better decision making. It is not that women are better, we view things differently. To have a proactive, strong, modern and smart society you need a mixture of people that’s all. From Ursula von der Leyen, German Minister of Defence.
8) Improving both maternity and paternity rights are major! because our children do what they see so if it is only the mum doing house stuffs… second because a more balanced sharing between mum and dad show dads that they are not second class mum but can be first class dads (From Ursula as well, we need to learn to delegate the role of leader of the house to let dads express themselves and realise they are good at it and can love it). Sharing childcare also reduces the burden on women’s careers. Women need to come back from maternity leave feeling they had enough time off, and this transition needs to be as smooth as possible (I am just in it at the moment). It is an investment for companies but that will be good on the medium-term. From Vodafone HR. Have a look at this very good blog from the husband of Anne-Marie Slaughter, CEO of the New America Foundation.
9) It is so exciting to be a woman right now! There is much to do and it is the good time, so let’s do this!
10) What do you think?