Can women have it all? As clichéd as the question has become over the past few years, it's one that has defined a generation of female leaders and innovators looking for more in the limited time they have.
On Monday, the first annual Women: Inspiration and Enterprise (WIE) Symposium, hosted by the White Ribbon Alliance, helped to answer that question … with a resounding, "Yes. Yes, we can."
The hosts — Sarah Brown, wife of the former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, designer Donna Karan, and Huffington Post cofounder Arianna Huffington — brought together women from around the world to discuss the important issues facing their gender. From a girl as young as 12 years old (Nthabiseng Tshabalala, a South African activist) to such household names as Diane von Furstenberg and Ashley Judd, the roster of awe-inspiring panelists discussed such diverse issues as the role of women in technology and the need for global empowerment in an age where childbirth death is an intolerable risk in many developing countries.
But it wasn't all so serious. Some highlights from the day:
- The event's emcee kicking off the day by saying, "Women are like each other's Wonder Bras. They are uplifting, always supportive, and constantly working to make us look bigger and better."
- Kris Carr, the amazing, pink-hair-highlighted author of Crazy Sexy Cancer, sharing her story about beating the odds and discovering how to really live healthfully.
- Arianna Huffington telling the crowd about a surprising barrier to success for women — sleep deprivation.
- Ashley Judd tearing up (we swear it wasn't just good acting) about her work in the Congo with women who've suffered from violence and sexual abuse.
- The beautiful and heroic Queen Rania al Abdullah of Jordan accepting an award for her many, many, many humanitarian efforts.
- Good Morning America financial pro Mellody Hobson encouraging women to have accountability for their own security, adding, "It's nice to hope Prince Charming will come, but sometimes he only does a drive-by." Word.
- Magazine queen Cathie Black giving a tip to would-be job applicants: Never send someone a 4-foot plant with a note saying you'd like to "grow with the company." She's not a fan.
- The president of Ann Taylor giving one lucky guest a $750 shopping spree with an envelope taped under their chairs. (We've never seen women flip their seats so fast.
- A panel with filmmakers Nora Ephron, Nancy Meyers, the hilarious Elizabeth Banks, and Marie Claire contributor and model Christy Turlington. Enough said.
- A Donna Karan-curated fashion show — with all-white gowns donated by some serious female designers — followed by a live performance by femme goddess Estelle on the rooftop … glass ceiling be damned.
Talk about women inspiring women.
Tell Marie Claire: What women inspire you? And, do you think women can have it all? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below!