By Pat Mitchell, President & CEO, The Paley Center for Media
Girls Set to Speak Out at TEDxWomen
There is so much important work—from the UN Foundation’s Girl Up Campaign, to the V-Girl movement, to Global Girls Media—going on right now in line with the widely held belief that investing in girls, listening to them, empowering them, and educating them is the key to a brighter global future.
As a lifelong feminist, the idea of empowering girls is especially close to my heart. Which is why girls are central to the programming for TEDxWomen this December. We’ve taken great pains to make sure that girls’ voices will be heard, loud and clear and on their own terms, throughout the day. Though we’re still confirming many speakers, we’re thrilled to announce that we have commitments from none other than South African actor and activist, Busisiwe Mkhumbuzi, and Google Science Fair winners, Shree Bose, Lauren Hodge, and Naomi Shah. And there will be others who aren’t confirmed yet. Every session will have a “Starting the Conversation” talk with a girl…because they are, in fact, starting all the conversations that take us into the future.
If you don’t know their names already, you certainly will. Busisiwe Mkhumbuzi, who I met while in Johannesburg’s producing Eve Ensler’s new play about girls, Emotional Creature. Busi will be President of South Africa one day, as you will believe, too, when you hear her talk about the rebirth of her country. She is part of a growing girl-led movement in South Africa challenging sexual violence despite great opposition. And the Google girls made headlines last July when they swept the first ever Google Science Fair, defying any lingering notions that girls don’t have the aptitude for math and science. Naomi, just 15-years-old did a study of the effects of air quality on lungs, specifically asthma sufferers, in which she recruited 103 test subjects and performed 24-hour air quality measurements at their homes and workplaces. On winning she told The New York Times: “At the end, we were like, ‘Yeah, girl power!’ ”
I couldn’t have said it better myself.
For more information on TEDxWomen, please visit the conference website at http://tedxwomen.org.