Action and updates from the Aspen Forum on Women and Girls community
Leaders from business, government, advocacy, and news organizations shared their powerful voices and lessons learned with us at the Aspen Institute’s Forum on Women and Girls Roundtable Sustaining the Movement: Changing the Culture this past October. Together we discussed promising practices that have emerged to stop sexual harassment and assault in our society.
The Madeleine K. Albright Global Development Lecture recognizes an individual whose bold vision has provided breakthrough thinking to tackle the challenges of global development. At the sixth annual lecture on November 7, 2018 at the Metropolitan Club in New York City, the Aspen Global Innovators Group honored her Excellency Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Nobel Laureate and former President of the Republic of Liberia.
Although sexual harassment is an issue in many institutions, it is especially prevalent in male-dominated spaces. The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine launched a report on the changes that need to occur in the culture and climate of higher education in order to prevent and respond to sexual harassment. The report hopes to use scientific research to show that the policies currently in place in most institutions are not effective and to provide guidance on how institutions can create safer cultures. Here are five takeaways from the June 12, 2018 release of “Sexual Harassment of Women: Climate, Culture, and Consequences in Academic Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.”
The need to empower women and girls is felt across the globe every day and the empowerment of women and girls is the key to making progress in many of the world’s most challenging problems. Although progress in women’s issues is made every year, we need a space where women from different generations and locations can come together to share their knowledge and work together to help women and girls.
When “Roseanne” premiered in 1988, I was among the millions of Americans who tuned in weekly to watch the Conners navigate life in the Midwest. Although I was a kid in Los Angeles, thousands of miles from the fictional Lanford, Ill., the show’s humorous, caustic portrayal of a working-class family struggling to make ends meet resonated with me. In the show, I saw my own family’s quest for the American Dream and how, for many living in poverty, it’s often a dream deferred.
The statement below was given by Rachael Wong in response to an ethics complaint for sexual harassment against former state House Speaker and Representative Joe Souki after she resigned as director of the Hawaii Department of Human Services in 2016. Earlier this year, Souki publicly apologized and resigned. This statement was given on March 21, 2018. Find a video of the statement on YouTube; the Aspen Forum on Women and Girls is mentioned at the 20:00 mark.
Women and men across the country are breaking the silence and speaking up about sexual assault and harassment as a result of the #MeToo Movement. Aspen Institute vice president and longtime women’s rights activist Peggy Clark shares a story of her own experience with unwanted sexual advances and offers her thoughts on what can be done to combat this issue.
People across the country are wondering what the next years will mean for their children, families, and communities. While these are complicated times, we should take heart in the fact that there are resilient and passionate leaders across the country who are raring to go for the well-being of America’s families. Concrete opportunities to bring about positive change do exist and are evident at the state and community levels. The Aspen Forum for Children and Families showcased many of these leaders and their solutions.
The Bridge, a project of the Aspen Institute, brings wise women – and a few good men – of different generations together into revelatory conversation about what matters most. The Bridge slows things down and puts two people with deep knowledge and compassion together for important conversations.
The ‘American Dream’ is a lie. We say if you work hard, you’ll make it. If you don’t, you didn’t try hard enough,” said C. Nicole Mason last week during a discussion with Washington Post journalist Jonathan Capeharton Mason’s new book, Born Bright: A Young Girl’s Journey From Nothing to Something in America.
Is this happening now for women? Has cruel boasting about non-consensual sexual advances made the majority see what they have not seen before? Was it the moment, just days ago, when Michelle Obama brought her hand to her face, deep in thought, disturbed, and told us that it was not okay to look the other way when a woman, of any age, is subjected to unwanted sexual advances?
Ending hunger and malnutrition will not be achieved by focusing on food security and agriculture alone. Global and national leaders must acknowledge the critical need to link action in addressing food security to national strategies across sectors. This must include realizing the human rights of women and girls, investing in gender equality — including in girls’ education, eliminating violence and harmful practices, and upholding sexual and reproductive-health rights.
We stand at a critical moment for delivering on the promise of equality and opportunity for girls and women worldwide, including here in the United States. Over the last two decades, we have seen increased public awareness that women’s rights and full participation in society are critical to economic prosperity and global security, yet we continue to fall short of achieving equality. We’ve made important gains in the last few decades, but research shows us that large gaps remain.
The Aspen Institute celebrated Women’s History Month by hosting a series of conversations as part of the recent Aspen Forum on Women and Girls. Female thought leaders who are actively taking charge in tackling women’s issues spoke on topics ranging from domestic policy impacting American women, to global policy and structures that women work through every day across the world (watch video of the conversations).
What has the Obama Administration done for women and girls? How will their women and girls initiatives continue after the president leaves office? Tina Tchen, executive director for the White House Council on Women and Girls, talks about what’s been done on the federal level since President Obama took office. She speaks with Jonathan Capehart of The Washington Post as part of the Aspen Forum on Women and Girls at the Aspen Institute.
Aspen Institute Radio celebrated International Women’s Day by featuring conversations with Tina Tchen, White House assistant to the president and chief of staff to the first lady; Melissa Harris-Perry, Wake Forest University professor and former MSNBC host; and more. The conversations were part of the Aspen Forum on Women and Girls, a day-long event featuring conversations with leaders in the movement for economic justice and equality for women and girls.
The generational rift makes for sensational headlines, but falls short of understanding the full range of issues that are important to women of all ages — not to mention races, classes, religions, and abilities. Women are not a monolith — should that really still strike the mainstream media as clickbait?
At the end of this month, world leaders will converge on United Nations headquarters in New York to affirm and formally adopt the global sustainable development priorities for the next 15 years. All of the goals are laudable and worth pursuing. They are intertwined and should be pursued simultaneously. Achieving them will immeasurably improve the lives of billions of people. One of the most important efforts is the second goal: “End Hunger.”
On a global scale, 225 million women say they would like to control their fertility, but have an unmet need for contraception. If this need were addressed, economic growth and increased sustainability within families, communities, and countries would be within reach.
Globally I have seen time and time again how improving reproductive, maternal, newborn, child and adolescent health can transform people’s health and prosperity. Ensuring that women are well nourished and safe in childbirth, that adolescents are empowered to delay sex and avoid pregnancy, and that couples are able to choose if or when to have children is key to making sure children are well nourished, vaccinated, healthy and able to learn. This is critical to sustainable development and ending poverty.
This weekend, at the invitation of President Michelle Bachelet and myself, women leaders from across the world are meeting in Santiago de Chile. We will applaud their achievements. We will remind ourselves of their contributions. And we will chart a way forward to correct the historical record. History has not been fair to women – but then, women usually didn’t write it.
The funding gap for women and girls worldwide is hardly new. World Bank research shows that only two cents of every dollar in international aid funding goes to support programs for girls. In 2010, women’s and girls’ rights organizations around the world had a combined income of $106 million, while Greenpeace made $309 million the same year—nearly three times as much.
Right now, several global policy negotiations are nearing critical points. World leaders are preparing to meet in Lima in December, to hammer out an agreement on climate change to be ratified in Paris next year. At the same time there is a lively debate about what will replace the Millennium Development Goals, a wide-ranging set of world development goals to address poverty by 2015.
After an extensive process of reviewing decades of country experience and progress in implementing the ICPD commitments, a bold vision has emerged for a sexual and reproductive rights agenda suited to 21st Century realities. It is the product of analysis from governments around the world, the findings of experts and researchers, contributions from the UN system and civil society, and the priorities set forth in regional agreements - encapsulated in a visionary report of the UN Secretary-General that serves as a Framework of Actions to guide country efforts for years to come.
Ascend at the Aspen Institute is a hub for breakthrough ideas and collaborations that move children and their parents toward educational success and economic security. Ascend teamed up with The Huffington Post to produce a blog series written by leaders in the field of education and economics to bring light to these issues as they affect families.