On June 14, over 5,000 women from across the country gathered in Washington D.C. for the inaugural United States of Women Summit.
With the help of a few influencers, change-makers, innovators, and women of power; like Carla Harris, Wall Street banker, author of Expect to Win, and managing director and senior client advisor at Morgan Stanley; Luvvie Ajayi, award-winning writer, digital strategist, and co-founder of the Red Pump Project; Mariska Hargitay, actress, activist and founder of JoyFul Heart; and Shonda Rhimes, the award-winning television producer. The two-day event was more than a summit; it was a movement to celebrate women and promote gender equality around the world.
The summit focused on six topics: economic empowerment, health and wellness, educational opportunity, violence against women, entrepreneurship and innovation, as well as leadership and civic engagement.
Here are a few highlights:
- Mikaila Ulmer, the 11 year-old CEO of Bee Sweet Lemonade, encouraged us all to “dream like a kid.” She also introduced President Obama, after which, he commented, “Can you please give it up again for Mikaila? What an amazing young lady. I will be back on the job market in seven months, so I hope she is hiring.”
- On behalf of the Purple Purse campaign, Kerry Washington spoke about ending domestic violence.
- Gender neutral bathrooms were available at The Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.
- Jaha Dukureh, founder and CEO of Safe Hands for Girls, shared her fight to end female genital mutilation (FGM).
- Seina Lee of Johnson & Johnson shared her story of how 17-weeks paid leave helped her when she became a new mom.
- Sophia Bush interviewed Marley Dias, the 11 year-old founder of #1000BlackGirlBooks, a movement that encourages putting the spotlight on and collecting books with black girls as the main characters. “If we want equity, we need diversity,” said Marley Dias.
- First Lady Michelle Obama and Oprah had a candid conversation on self-value and self-worth for women.