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by Hedgebrook Staff

The first United State of Women Summit held at the Whitehouse last week was so wildly inspiring, everything seems infinitely more possible. A paradigm shift is in the air, especially when it comes to creating a bright future for women and girls.

As Hedgebrook’s Executive Director Amy Wheeler experienced first hand, this powerful gathering of leaders—predominantly women with a few stellar, male feminist exceptions—spoke passionately about our successes, what lies ahead and what we can do to facilitate change in our country and beyond.

United State of Women-President ObamaYes, it was mind-blowing to see President Obama up close and personal wax poetic about some of the women who have authored our history. As passionate activists for Women Authoring Change, we couldn’t be more thrilled to hear him name the names of just a few women throughout history who shaped their destinies and impacted ours. Here’s his inspiring speech in it’s entirety.

United State of Women-Michelle Obama and OprahThen there was the conversation between Michelle Obama and Oprah. Are you kidding me? Talk about blazing trails. These two powerhouses were everything and more that we hope them to be; real, inspiring, funny and full of heart. They spoke eloquently and honestly about how to stay grounded amidst all the attention and racism thrown at them. About trying to have it all, and about some of Michelle’s proudest achievements during her 8 years in the Whitehouse—including her mentorship program, healthy meals in schools and raising her two daughters in the White House amidst “all the crazy” that the experience brings. At one point Oprah asked Michelle: “What advice to you give to men?” Michelle answered “Be better…Be better at everything. Be better fathers…being good fathers who love your daughters and are providing a solid example of what it means to be a good man in the world. That is the greatest gift that the men in my life gave to me.” Check out their amazing conversation.

United State of Women-Joe BidenVice President Joe Biden got everyone in the room fired up about ending violence against women. His passion was palpable, as he shared his views: “When a country keeps half their population, half their brainpower, on the sidelines, it holds back entire societies.” Yeah… we knew we liked him. Take a look for yourself at his powerful talk.

Alright. As avid Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal fans, we were pretty stoked to get to listen to the brilliant Shonda Rhimes speak on a panel about women and media. Her eloquence moved and inspired us all. She surprised us and woke us up in new ways. During the panel she shared, “I don’t like the word “diversity.” That got our attention. She went on to say that when someone suggests she “gets a writer who is diverse” for one of her shows, she responds: “A person is not diverse… color of skin is not what makes people diverse. Content should be about creating the actual world.” We couldn’t agree more… this is how we change the world through the lens of the media we create and consume. There isn’t a separate video for this panel, but here is a comprehensive video with all of the key speeches and panels included. The panel with Shonda is around the 9 hour and 6 minute mark.

To say that this gathering was extraordinary is putting it mildly. Women from all walks and all parts of the planet plus a few men who honor and value the power of women,

lit a fire,

a torch,

our hearts.

And our passion for supporting Women Authoring Change deepens yet again.

With love,

Your Hedgebrook family.


For more info about the United State of Women Summit check out their site: www.theunitedstateofwomen.org.



Support Equal Voice and Women Authoring Change by donating to Hedgebrook today!

Hedgebrook supports visionary women writers whose stories and ideas shape our culture now and for generations to come. The opinions expressed here are not necessarily representative of the opinions of Hedgebrook, its staff or board members.


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