Junior Alexis Tsapralis Blogs on Behalf of Girl Up

On April 22, Alexis Tsapralis ’16 attended the 6th Annual Women in the World Summit on behalf of Girl Up. She had a press pass and was able to sit with the staff of The New York Times, who sponsored the event.

Alexis’s report is titled “Seeing Beyond My Own World” and is published online at Girl Up’s website.

What could be more inspiring than advocating for women around the world? Doing so with Meryl Streep, Jon Stewart, Tina Brown, and hundreds of other men and women in New York City!

On Wednesday, April 22, I was lucky enough to attend the first night of the 6th Annual Women in the World Summit on behalf of Girl Up. Women in the World is an annual meeting started by Tina Brown, an award-winning journalist, magazine editor, and author, who kicked off the event by asking all of us “to engage with the world and see beyond our own,” and that’s exactly what happened.

Why would girls leave the safety of their families to join terrorist groups? The first topic on the agenda, “Girls as Weapons of War” delved into this important topic and speakers discussed the identity crisis that girls are facing, as they are torn between their families and the society they live in. However, these circumstances are slowly getting better. Many mothers are no longer denying the problem and instead, they are creating communities to help each other identify girls in jeopardy and turn the situation around.

We moved on to a discussion about “Tackling India’s Taboos,” and one of India’s most famous actors, Aamir Khan, talked about the challenge of addressing issues that are rarely discussed in India. He uses his status and voice to host a show that brings issues that were previously silenced, such as violence against women, the dowry system, the caste system, and female infanticide, to the screens of over 600 million viewers (almost twice the population of the U.S.)!

The evening ended with a dynamic duo: when Meryl Streep and Jon Stewart get together, be prepared to be entertained! The last topic, “Story Power: Three Great Women of Film” with Meryl Streep, Ava DuVernay (Director of the movie Selma), Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy (CEO SOC Films), and Jon Stewart as moderator explored the role that film and theater can play to impact change. I enjoyed this session the most, especially when Meryl Streep stressed that the biggest impact a film or theater performance can have is to get someone to feel what it is like to be in someone else’s shoes. All the panelists agreed that the entertainment industry is still male dominated and more women must be involved in order to show the world what being female truly means.

This night left quite an impression on me. The speakers and topics were insightful and inspiring. I loved learning more about the issues facing women around the world, and what people are doing to make a difference. It was a truly unique opportunity to see the world through a different lens.

Learn more about the event here.

 

Read More MFS Stories about Gender Equality

 

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