So I actually learned about this really awesome thing while trying to do research on the Colombian Minister of Education, Gina Parody, which is a really random connection. Anyway, she had retweeted this video from FLOTUS Michelle Obama.
Basically, the First Lady and her staff organized this amazing summit, The United State of Women, to discuss women’s issues and how we can begin to transform our world. The list of speakers is impressive, and the topics of the various sessions sound amazing. They are covering the following topics:
Health & Wellness
Violence Against Women
Entrepeneurship & Innovation
Leadership & Civic Engagement
Attendees to the Summit are invite-only. They primarily consist of “thought leaders, activists, community leaders, and citizens who are committed to bringing about gender equality,” but include a few special citizens who were selected from nominations (read more about them here). I don’t know what I want to do with my life after Peace Corps, but if I someday garner an invitation to an event like this, I will know that I am doing good work at a high level.
Fortunately for those of us who don’t currently work for organizations that earn us an automatic invite, we live in a day where live-streaming is a thing. As of today’s writing there are 11 hours and 55 minutes of content to view (you better believe that I’m going to try to watch it all over the coming weeks!). They’ve also got great (way better than mine, that’s for sure) blog posts about the various topics on which they are focused.
One thing that I love about the Summit’s main webpage is the call to actions. I know that I write a lot on here and on Facebook about how I want things to change, but am I changing anything? I’m certainly trying to!
I’ve decided to start calling people out on it when they make remarks that are sexist or degrading to women. Case in point: last night when my rugby team was dicussing how we should make money to enter into tournaments, someone joked about “selling a night with Juanita.” I immediately called him out. Unfortunately, in Spanish and in another culture it becomes a little more difficult to explain why this is a problem. But I’ve got time to figure it out.
I’m also a co-president for Peace Corps Colombia’s Gender Equality Committee. Our goals aren’t fully flushed out yet due to some infrastructural challenges, but I hope that we can help some of our communities take a step forward in regards to gender equality. Who knows, maybe someday someone will inspire so much forward motion that they start a Colombianos unidos para mujeres (there really isn’t as good of a play on words with this country’s name).