WOMEN IN THE WORLD
At 10 a.m. I arrive at Lincoln Center in New York for the fifth Women in the World public meeting. The Theater is full, as it would be for an opera premiere.
This is a two and a half day event at Lincoln Center where extraordinary women from all over the world express their views, their concerns their aims. It is about the news as seen through the eyes of a woman.
Diane von Fürstenberg, Tina Brown, the American Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power (the youngest Ambassador ever), are talking about the event with pride. At the UN the night before, for the fifth year The DVF Award ($50.000) was given to some exceptional women for their work, their courage to fight for survival. “Women capable of turning struggle into leadership,” says Diane von Fürstenberg, and she will repeat this later, when interviewed on stage.
Tina Brown interviews Ambassador Power, who was a journalist and winner of the Pulitzer Prize. They talk about Uganda, Syria, the gay question in Africa; about terrorism, Ukraine and Central Africa. Later, two Indian women are introduced by Uma Thurman with a short reading. They express their despair about the condition of Indian women and the atrocities of unpunished rape. They say that to be here is a great opportunity to speak about this in public.
I ask Tina Brown: Did you leave active journalism to devote yourself entirely to “The Women of the World”?
I did. I think that today’s journalism is a theatrical journalism, combining storytelling and curiosity with live events. Today, people don’t want to read about Rwanda, Syria, India….. It is all about shiny objects.
How has it gone this year?
We had Ruslana, Ukraine’s pop singer and a leader of the Kiev protests, on the first night. We had Hillary Clinton and Christine Lagarde. Very powerful and exciting women. Every year we try to have some of the most inspiring women in the world, from Syrian refugees to a panel of women from Egypt, Tunisia, Yemen and Iraq. We also had the presence of past-President Jimmy Carter, who talked on his new book about women.
Do you think that there is more solidarity among women than men?
Men are used to having the stage. Women still do not have the opportunity.
What is your activity today?
I am developing Women of the World in different places: Los Angeles, Chicago, India, Brazil, London; of course on a smaller scale.
Who is supporting you?
We get money from big sponsors like Bank of America, AT&T, Coca-Cola…
You only go on stage?
We had 510 million Twitter impressions. Social media is enormous.
Do you miss conventional journalism?
I love magazines, but there are only two or three places left. It has become a difficult profession. I loved it when I was the Editor of The New Yorker and The Daily Beast.
Do you consider yourself a feminist?
I am interested in the global movement, but I don’t want to be defined as ‘feminist’. I love these women and I love to bring them to the stage.
Do you think that women are stronger now?
There are more women than men in colleges nowadays, but they still do not have the same salary and there is still a lot of violence towards them. But countries where women are repressed have economies that don’t do well.
But now there are many women in key posts, even in the economic world?
Yes, it is one of the reasons why they want to lift up women in Japan. As I have said, repressing women is bad for the economy.
But women have come so far….
Yes, but there is still a long way to go. There are not enough women in politics in Washington. If there had been more, maybe we would not have had a war in Iraq.
Many women, like for instance Ambassador Samantha Power, are very powerful?
Yes, Ambassador Power has a lot of charisma, intellectual authority. In Italy there is a very special woman that we have invited in the recent past: Emma Bonino.
Which other woman would you like to invite for next year?
I would love to have Angela Merkel. She has got Europe in the palm of her hand….
The Queen of England?
She does not give interviews, but she is fabulous, an amazing woman.
What do you feel about Pope Francis?
I love the Pope. I never wanted to be a Catholic before the Pope started talking. Now, if he comes here to New York, I will decide whether to become Catholic. And now I must go and rest, because we have done so much work and had so little sleep!
April 9th, 2014