WIE Need You

Whether you're a young woman just starting out; a socially responsible executive looking to make a difference; or a successful woman who believes in empowering the younger generation -- 'WIE need you' in the fight to save women's lives around the world.

Arianna Huffington writes:

When I heard Sarah Brown speak at an all-women dinner in Davos last year, I knew that I was seeing something really special taking shape.

Her audience was an impressive mix of women leaders from the worlds of media, business, politics, and fashion. Sarah's message: we all have a part to play in making life better for other women around the world.

Both in Davos and at a dinner in New York last September, Sarah asked each woman in the room to do one thing -- in her own way, within her own circle -- to improve the odds for the millions of women the world over who risk death to give birth. (A woman still dies needlessly in pregnancy every minute, and usually her baby dies too).

Inspired by Sarah, one after another, the women at the dinner stood to make their pledges. And that energy has generated even more action as women from all walks of life have taken up the call.

This is the genesis of the WIE Symposium taking place in New York on September 20th. Timed to coincide with the gathering of world leaders during the UN General Assembly, "Women, Inspiration, Enterprise" is a collection of women coming together to share our ideas, our experiences -- and above all our passionate determination to make change happen, helping each other grow and thrive in a better and safer world.

Sarah Brown writes:

Since I became Global Patron of the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood three years ago, I have seen a remarkable thing happen. A hidden scandal -- of how many women still die in childbirth around the world -- has emerged from the shadows. And the despondency and gloom which once hung over it is evaporating in the sunshine of hope and successful change.

What has happened? A movement of people -- from all walks of life -- has spread like wild fire, inspiring others in nearby countries to get together, and to say no to the needless maternal deaths that strangle the growth and development of so many countries.

Members of the White Ribbon Alliance, now in 148 countries around the world, have proven that we can change the thinking of leaders -- in families, in communities, in governments -- convincing them that women's rights must be respected and that women are the keystones to all development.

The WIE Symposium gives a vibrant New York voice to that same spirit, inviting women from all walks of life to come together for inspiration, empowerment and action -- for the sake of all women. With only five years left for the international community to reach its goal of reducing maternal deaths by three quarters, we will make our voices heard -- and play our part in the change to come.

This is why I want to thank Arianna Huffington -- such a consummate communicator, with a long term commitment to justice and women's rights -- for agreeing to be my co-host. And this is why I also want to thank Donna Karan -- inspirational leader in the world of fashion, passionate defender of cultures -- who has agreed to be my co-host too.

It will be an extraordinary day that will lead to many more. I hope you will join us!

Donna Karan writes:

I am joining Sarah and Arianna in co-hosting WIE because, like them, I know that we can and must connect and be creative in order to change the paradigm. And I am convinced that now is the moment to join with people from around the world to reverse the long neglect of women and their children.

The Urban Zen Foundation works through collaboration to raise awareness and inspire change, particularly in health care and for children, bringing together people who can see solutions and make them happen. I have long believed that there is no greater investment in the future than an investment in children -- and Sarah Brown has convinced me that we cannot care for the world's children unless we care for their mothers who love, feed, nurture, and educate the citizens of the future.

Let us do that in a new and exciting way -- let us communicate through creativity and design -- in order to inspire each other. Let us open our eyes and speak out for the beauty of rich cultures around the world and especially for the women who are at the heart of those cultures. Let us speak to that through fashion, inspiring the women of New York to join the women of the world in solidarity.

Together we can change the world.

Arianna concludes:

WIE is going to be a remarkable event, bringing together powerful and inspiring women from all over the world -- leaders and activists, entrepreneurs and entertainers. There will be writers and thinkers, businesswomen and artists, connecting with -- and talking to -- amazing young women advocates from Africa and Asia who have won a competition to join us, and who will return to their countries further empowered as champions of the rights of women.

As UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon highlights the urgency of saving women's lives, WIE is unique in its power to focus attention on women at a key moment in world politics.

We are also delighted, in conjunction with i/o Ventures, to announce the WIE Prize, a program that awards a young female technology entrepreneur a $25,000 investment, free office space (in San Francisco), and expert business advice from the founders of YouTube, BitTorrent, and MySpace -- to name but a few of those taking part.

WIE promises to be both inspirational and hands-on practical. We invite all women -- whatever your role in life -- to be a part of the change that is coming.

All proceeds from WIE will go to support the work of the White Ribbon Alliance and Urban Zen.

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With warmest thanks to Mission PR, the Wall Street Journal, Kamarama and i/o Ventures for their help and creativity.