By Caroline Linton
amNewYork, New York.
Hillary Clinton’s passionate call to arms to women made headlines at the annual Women in the World summit. But there was more to the three-day long summit. We’ve broken down some of the lessons we’ve learned, from the serious to the lighthearted.
Hillary Clinton takes progressive note in first campaign speech
In her first large speech since announcing her presidential campaign, Hillary Clinton delivered a fiery, progressive call to arms for women. Despite the recent controversy tied to upcoming book “Clinton Cash,” Clinton received a standing ovation and thunderous applause when she got onstage and opened with a joke that “I wanted to be here today, regardless what else I was doing.”
Clinton spoke about gay rights, unequal pay, family leave, childcare costs and education. She highlighted the struggles of her own mother, Dorothy Rodham, saying “I said to her, how could you have survived, how could you have a built a family of your own?”
Clinton also made several references baby granddaughter, Charlotte–waiting less than two minutes into the speech to mention her. This was definitely the right note for the crowd.
Kim Jong Un really doesn’t like 21-year-old Yeomni Park
One of the most moving parts of the summit came in the panel before Hillary Clinton’s speech. North Korean defector Yeomni Park, 21, spoke with “Today” show anchor Savannah Guthrie and Hannah Song, the president and CEO of LiNK (Liberty in North Korea). Park, whose father was sent to a labor camp, and her mother fled North Korea when Park was just 13 years old–and she witnessed the man who snuck them across the border rape her mother. While in China, Park was sold to a man who bought her mother and father’s freedom. Her father died shortly after (she had to bury him alone in the middle of the night), and then she and her mother fled across the Gobi Desert in -40 degree temperatures to South Korea. While walking across the desert, Park said she never felt such loneliness. “I felt only the stars were with me,” Park said.
Today, Park is an activist advocating for North Korea refugees. She delivered a powerful message to the audience: “For the first time in my life, I own me. I own myself, and this is so powerful to me. I always belonged to the state, or to a man who bought me, and I have a voice now.”
And to top it all off: “King Jong Un doesn’t like me at all.”
One mother is fighting to bring her daughter back from ISIS
Saida Munye, a Somali native who has lived in Sweden for 20 years, is living a modern mother’s nightmare: Her daughter, Fatima, ran off to join the Islamic State after falling in love with a a recruiter. Since her daughter has cut off all contact, Munye went to the Syrian border to find her, where she sent this text: “The love I have for you is not something I created, but God built in me.” Fatima did not come, but sent a text telling her mother she would not return.
Instead, Munye as started an organization in Vienna called Sisters Against Violent Extremism that seeks to education mothers about the risk of their daughters joining jihadis.
As for her daughter, Munye said “whether she comes back alive or not, I know not. But just like in our religion, you get to paradise with the ticket your mother gives you, she has my ticket to paradise.”
An Israeli mother and a Palestinian mother said they ‘share the same pain’
In another example of mother’s love, two members of the Parents Circle Families Forum, Israeli Robi Damelin and Palestinian Bushra Awad joined together on stage. Both women have lost their sons in the conflict.
“Some say I’m selling my son’s blood, but I’m not. I’m buying the blood of my other kids,” Awad said. Awad said that “loves Robi” because “we share the same pain.”
“You better talk” to your daughters about campus rape
Jon Krakauer, author of “Into the Wild” and “Under the Banner of Heaven,” is tackling campus rape in his new book, “Missoula: Rape and Justice in a College Town.” He was joined onstage by Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, End Rape on Campus co-founder Annie E. Clark and moderator Mika Brzezinski.
Krakauer said that in reporting rape, he realized that it’s the only crime where victim is “interrogated and scrutinized.” When Brezezinski asked what she should tell her college-age daughter, Krakauer responded “you better talk to her.”
Meanwhile, Clark said she felt “we are having a really big cultural moment here” about campus rape.
India is still reeling over rape
Leslee Udwin’s documentary, “India’s Daughter,” which chronicles the brutal, fatal gang rape of a woman in Delhi in 2012. In a panel with Indian journalist Barkha Dutt and actor Freida Pinto, Udwin called that rape “the tip of the iceberg,” but said she was disappointed by the response in India when she was making the film.
Dutt, however, said that rape is more common in the United States and Britain, and pointed out that India has achieved other goals for women that the United States has not. “Gender is more complex than that, it cannot be put in a box.”
The “Yentl Syndrome” is a real thing–and it’s deadly
Barbra Streisand co-founded the Women’s Heart Alliance and donated $22 million to now Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Center at Cedars-Sinai medical center in Los Angeles. “Women still think ‘you better not talk about heart disease because it’s an old man’s disease,” Streisand said.
Streisand was joined on stage by cardiologist Dr. Holly Anderson, Director of Education and Outreach, Ronald O. Perelman Heart Institute New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical College, and heart attack survivor Vanessa Noel, a CEO, hotelier, and women’s shoe designer, in a panel moderated by ABC News Senior Medical Contributor Dr. Jennifer Ashton.
The symptoms of a women’s heart attack differ from men’s heart attacks, and doctors are less likely to take a woman’s symptoms seriously. And neither do women themselves: According to Anderson, 36% of women will not call 911 even when they think they are having a heart attack. In fact, it took four months for doctors to even believe Noel was having a heart attack–and wasn’t until she had a heart attack in her doctor’s office did she receive treatment.
Apparently there is a thing called the “Yentl Syndrome,” named after the Streisand film where a woman had to dress up like a man to be taken seriously. Since women having heart attacks are “misdiagnosed, mistreated and ignored,” Streisand said, they have to present themselves as having the same symptoms as men.
Ashley Judd wrote on her mirror the inspiration words she received from a supporter
Dealing with online trolls has become a side career for many women. In a panel moderated by Katie Couric, Feminist Frequency founder Anita Sarkeesian (the subject of #GamerGate trolls), actress Ashley Judd and California Attorney General Kamala Harris discussed the growing problem of online trolling. Harris, who recently successfully prosecuted U Got Posted founder Kevin Bollaert, has made targeting online harassment a priority.
Judd, who became the subject of online trolling after she posted a tweet about a basketball game, said she has started documenting social media comments directed toward her that she considers criminal. Sometimes she engages, and sometimes she responds with jokes. But she said that during one particular abusive period, one woman simply tweeted at Judd “Poignant. Courageous. Valuable.”
“I wrote it on my mirror,” Judd said in a quivering voice.
Meryl Streep always wanted to Tom Sawyer, not Becky
“When a woman makes a film, that’s a radical act in itself,” said “Selma” director Ava DuVernay in a panel with Meryl Streep, Pakistani filmmaker Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy and moderated by Jon Stewart.
Streep, meanwhile, discussed how men are expected to sympathize with male heroes, and women many times end up identifying with those male heroes as well–because that’s who is out there. Growing up, “I always wanted to be Tom Sawyer, not Becky,” she said in disgust. Now, she wants to “make men feel what I feel.”
Obaid-Chinoy agreed, saying “very often, we see women in my part of the world as victims … I need my daughters to have heroes in Pakistan.”
Samantha Power thinks she could have more power with Claire Underwood’s wardrobe
U.N. ambassador Samantha Power and actress Robin Wright (who occupies Power’s position on the fictional “House of Cards”) spoke in a panel about their advocacy in Africa, particularly the Democratic Republic of Congo.
In a lighter moment, though, Power told Wright she could be more effective “if I had your wardrobe” and Wright’s character could be more powerful “if you had my husband.” In return, Wright gave Power a pair of Claire Underwood-style pants.
The two constants in Helen Mirren’s life are her sister and Queen Elizabeth
Long live the queen. Actress Helen Mirren said “one of the great pleasures” of getting older is “you see change … We don’t realize how much has changed until we look back.” Mirren said.
“Of all the women in my life, the one constant, apart from my eldest sister, has been the Queen of England,” said Mirren, who played Queen Elizabeth in the film “The Queen.” “My whole memory of my life, the Queen has been there.”
Mirren said she didn’t get married until the age of 50 because she “didn’t like the idea of marriage … This is the most important thing to teach our daughters: To gain financial independence. In a sense, that’s been the driving force in my life.”
Lady bosses joined togehter
“True beauty … is strength. I’ve never met a woman who isn’t strong,” Tina Brown described her friend, Diane von Furstenberg at the DVF Awards, the dinner held at the U.N. after the conference.