Women of the World

On Friday 10th March 2017, I attended the Women of the World event in London. It was an amazing day and I left feeling very inspired by all the women that were there.

I attended 4 talks at the event including…

One Planet, Double Standards – Women, Climate Change and Equality

“Hear from women at the forefront of sustainability and environmental policy, locally and internationally. Climate change is one of our most urgent challenges. From natural disasters to food shortages, women are at greater risk. As the world heats up, we speak to the women on the front lines to find out what part gender equality has to play in action against climate change. 

Speakers include Åland Islands politician and activist Carina Aaltonen; Heathrow runway campaigner Sheila Menon; Kate Metcalf, co-director at Women’s Environmental Network; Prof Rosalind Cornforth, Director of the Walker Institute and Africa Climate Exchange.

The panel is chaired by Maria Adebowale-Schwarte, Director of the Living Space Project and Clore Social Leadership Environment Fellow.” – Southbank Centre 

This talk enabled me to understand some key barriers that the women on the panel have experienced when entering employment. The talk identified two important issues happening, which are climate change and gender equality. The talk raised awareness that these issues should not be dealt with separately but instead they should be conjoined. Therefore, when dealing with the environment a new system of environmentally friendly careers should be put in place which support equality for women.

It was discussed how confidence is a huge barrier for women in any career. The researcher identified how women are expected to conform in a male dominated work system, which does not support women’s best interests.  The researcher also gathered that only women can fix this issue, as it is women who experience the full impact of discrimination.

The video below is from Women’s Environmental Network YouTube channel where you can see the work they are doing and the video features Kate Metcalf who was on the panel. If you want to get involved with WEN you can find more information here.

There is also Women’s Healthy Environments Network (WHEN), with their mission to… raise awareness on how one’s environment can impact personal health using evidence-based information and tools. To empower women to influence their communities and improve their health. Go onto their website to see some ‘words of support’ from inspirational women. 

This TedTalks video explains further from climate researcher Alice Bows-Larkin. 

The Genius Gap – Women and Creativity

“We’re taught that divine knowledge and creative genius is the preserve of men – but what about women’s creative force? We talk to a panel of artists and industry experts about putting women’s stories centre stage and redressing the balance in the arts.

Speakers include writer, poet and artist Khairani Barokka; novelist and filmmaker Xiaolu Guo; Issie Barratt, leading jazz composer, conductor and educator; Charlotte Vincent, choreographer and Artistic Director of Vincent Dance Theatre (VDT).

Chaired by Sue Hoyle, Director, Clore Leadership Programme.” – Southbank Centre 

This talk discussed what is a ‘genius’ and how anyone can be one. It questioned the gap between men and women in certain careers. An example of this was from speaker Issie Barratt, leading jazz composer, conductor and educator. She described her experience working in the jazz world and how she was expected to act like a man. She soon realised that she had to start her own business which catered for girls and women to provide them with a different environment. I took from this how women can work in different environments better than in one’s that men have created. Also, the importance of women collaborating to create a strong community of women who are passionate in the same fields, encouraging and supporting each other.

This TedTalks video I found very inspiring by Elizabeth Gilbert.

Using Tech to Solve Gender Problems

Discover how women are using tech to change the world and are encouraging more girls to join them. Since Ada Lovelace, the world’s first computer programmer, women have made a massive contribution to the digital realm – but they are still an unharnessed force in STEM industries (science, technology, engineering, maths), making up only 14.4% of the workforce in 2015. In this session, find out what the 14.4% is doing, including Dr. Elina Berglund Scherwitzl, former particle physicist, part of the team that discovered the Higgs boson and co-founder of Natural Cycles.

Speakers include Dr Elina Berglund Scherwitzl, former particle physicist, discoverer of the Higgs Boson and co-founder of NaturalCycles; leading biotech entrepreneur Mary Anne Cordeiro; Tech Entrepreneur and Founder of iamtheCODE.org Marieme Jamme; and British entrepreneur and educational philanthropist Tom Ilube. Chaired by Nejra Cehic, TV reporter and radio anchor at Bloomberg.” – Southbank Centre

This talk addressed many different issues such as do women believe they are good enough and not just blagging it? Do men believe in themselves more? It seems that men have more confidence to go into career paths and go for jobs which they might not have the skills for but are confident enough to go for it anyway. It looked at solutions such as women becoming highly skilled in technology areas including virtual reality so that there is no other option but for women to create the work system, that benefits them as well as men. This will provide the opportunity to shape a new industry by becoming an expert. An example of a woman who has taken her knowledge to develop a piece of technology with women’s interests at the forefront is Dr Elina Berglund Scherwitzl. She successfully developed ‘Natural Cycles’ the first natural contraception. If more women can succeed in different areas of work, more issues that women face will be solved. Therefore, being a successful woman can be used to the advantage of other women.

It was also discussed how code clubs for girls are more frequent and Marieme Jamme was very inspirational talking about IAMTHECODE. She really has been making a huge difference in many girls lives around the world. Another place where children can learn to code or you can volunteer is through Code Club, with their aim to inspire the next generation to get excited about computer science and digital making.

The video above is about “Cornell Tech, The City University of New York (CUNY), and founding partner Verizon Communications have announced a new tech education initiative targeting young women in the undergraduate and graduate school pipeline that aims to increase the number of women working in technology.” This shows how empowering it can feel for women to learn more about computer science and the importance of having female role models in these roles.

This TedTalks video ‘The key to more women in technology’ by Marianna Budnikova  talks about how women themselves more than anything need to keep themself accountable and know that they can use technology as well as anyone else.

Mary Portas and India Martin in Conversation

“Southbank Centre Artistic Director Jude Kelly talks to Mary Portas and India Martin – two women who have taken huge risks in their lives – about what drives them, what inspires them, and the tools they’ve used at the turning points in their lives.” – Southbank Centre 

The talk highlighted that the work system needs to be changed, but that most people are not aware of this. Since these women have both taken huge risks in their careers and started their own business’, where they have created a new system of work. This system creates a better and happier world and work system for both women and men. An example is the family friendly policies and work practices that they both have that encourages a work life balance, leading to an environment where creativity and inspiration can thrive. This type of environment takes away the pressure of child/family care and allows women to reach their full potential.

At the event I noticed a stall where an inspirational letter can be written to women who have had struggles in life, anonymously, as words of support. This is such a lovely idea and I made sure that I wrote one. Please see here to read more about WHEN.

I would highly recommend this event for anyone, especially if you are needing some inspiration or advice! There were so many other talks that I wanted to attend so next year I will be sure to get a ticket for the whole weekend.

I saw this page the other day where you can learn to code for any price you think it is worth…might be worth a look if you want to develop your coding skills!

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