Women in the World 2013

Sabina Khilnani , 09 Apr 2013
Meryl Streep, Angelina Jolie and Tom Hanks (Photo Courtesy | Marc Bryan Brown / Women in the World)
Meryl Streep, Angelina Jolie and Tom Hanks (Photo Courtesy | Marc Bryan Brown / Women in the World)

This week some of the most influential, powerful, and humbling women took the stage as part of the 4th annual Women in the World summit in New York City. Hollywood A-listers like Angelina Jolie, Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep came out to support these amazing women.

Topics included everything from women’s role in the tech movement, to the impact of the Syrian conflict on women’s progress in the Middle East. One thing was clear though, India was definitely present and on the agenda. WitW 2013 gathered some of the strongest supporters of the women’s movement in India.

(L-R) Barkha Dutt, journalist and TV anchor of NDTV; Rav Kant, president of Shakti Vahini; Shoma Chaudry, managing editor of Tehelka; Mallika Dutt, president and CEO of Breakthrough; and Cynthia McFadden, co-anchor of ABC News' Nightline (Photo Courtesy | Marc Bryan Brown / Women in the World)
(L-R) Barkha Dutt, journalist and TV anchor of NDTV; Rav Kant, president of Shakti Vahini; Shoma Chaudhury, managing editor of Tehelka; Mallika Dutt, president and CEO of Breakthrough; and Cynthia McFadden, co-anchor of ABC News’ Nightline (Photo Courtesy | Marc Bryan Brown / Women in the World)

Discussions centered around the drivers of gender inequality, which was described as a class-less phenomenon that transcends social distinctions and geographical borders. Mindset, lack of education, and economic opportunity are some of the contributing factors. That said, India is poised for success in many ways. According to Hillary Clinton (a potential front-runner for the next – and first female – President of the United States) who also spoke at the conference, “sustainability of [India’s] growth potential will rise and fall with it’s women.”

Hillary Clinton (Photo Courtesy | Marc Bryan Brown / Women in the World)
Hillary Clinton (Photo Courtesy | Marc Bryan Brown / Women in the World)

So how do we progress women’s role in Indian society and ensure a seat at the table of economic and social development? The answer may be in simply changing the definition of the modern woman. Shoma Chaudhury, Managing Editor of Tehelka and Newsweek contributor said, “To have the norm that only one thing represents modernity is oppression.” Giving women choices, and acceptance to make those choices, can help bridge the gap.

It’s good to know that these important issues continue to get the attention they deserve on the global stage, and that progress and movement is here.

This was evident in the number of Indian women celebrated for their achievements this week at WitW 2013.

Kavita Shukla - Fenugreen inventor (Photo Courtesy | Marc Bryan Brown / Women in the World)
Kavita Shukla – Fenugreen inventor (Photo Courtesy | Marc Bryan Brown / Women in the World)
Reshma Saujani - Founder of Girls Who Code (Photo Courtesy | Marc Bryan Brown / Women in the World)
Reshma Saujani – Founder of Girls Who Code (Photo Courtesy | Marc Bryan Brown / Women in the World)
Sejal Hathi - Founder of girltank (Photo Courtesy | Marc Bryan Brown / Women in the World)
Sejal Hathi – Founder of girltank (Photo Courtesy | Marc Bryan Brown / Women in the World)

From Kavita Shukla who invented Fenugreen, a simple paper product that slows vegetable spoilage down by 2-3 times, to Reshma Saujani who founded Girls Who Code, Indian women were well represented!

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