The 4th Athena40 Global Conversation

The 4th Athena40 Global Conversation

“Women as Catalysts for Resilience, Diversity & Change”

on International Women’s Day 2022 | March 8, 13.30 GMT

Two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, women in corporate positions, but also as entrepreneurs, journalists, politicians, civil society leaders, artists or stay-at-home moms are even more burned out; increasingly more so than men. Despite this, women leaders are stepping up to support our societies, from employee well-being to diversity, equity, inclusion. However, three in four working mothers report discrimination in the workplace; 54,000 a year lose their jobs because of having a baby; and, perhaps more surprisingly, periods spent in part-time work lead to nearly no pay progression. We need women the world over to step-up and drive the great reset across trades, industries and societies, while at the same time they nurture resilience, inner stability and mental balance in themselves and others.

Are we expecting the impossible?

In the words of Princess Sumaya of Jordan, President, Royal Scientific Society Jordan, keynote speaker at the 3rd Global Conversation: “Together, we must all choose to challenge a status quo that deprives girls and women of an equal stake in our shared future. The Covid 19 pandemic has forced our world to pause and has challenged all of us to consider how we live”.

Athena40 in partnership with the Conduit Club announced the 4th Athena40 Global Conversation that took place on International Women’s Day 2022, at 13.30 GMT. The theme focused on women as drivers of resilience, diversity, and social change. Athena40 connected live again leading women thinkers from the UK, the USA, Europe, the Middle East, Asia, and Africa to discuss how resilience and diversity of thought can bring about a lasting positive effect. The multi-city event was organized in partnership with organisations that host individual gender-lens panels discussing an angle of their own choosing.

The London panel at the Conduit Club featured: Elizabeth H. Filippouli, Founder of Athena40, Baroness Lola Young, Independent Member of the House of Lords, Lin Yue, Executive Director of Goldman Sachs, Priya Guha MBE, Venture Partner at Merian Ventures, Regan Ralph, CEO & President of The Fund for Global Human Rights and Khalida Popal, Founder & Director of the Girl Power Organization. The gathering became a conduit for a wide range of insights on a variety of issues.

‘To me, feminism is about dignity. Dignity means being treated as equal, being respected for who you are, being listened to. Dignity is being able to define your own destiny, being free to make your life’s choices and free to celebrate them. It is an attitude of self-respect that finds its way into social, cultural and religious contexts’, writes Elizabeth Filippouli in her book ‘From Women to the World’.

The Athena40 Global Conversation is an initiative that shines a light on the variety of issues and challenges, highlighting reform needs in different societies and cultures. Launched by the London-based non-profit Global Thinkers Forum, Athena40 is an SDG 5 (Gender Equality) initiative.

Questions for this year included:

  • The continued lack of women in positions of power: How can we change this reality, what role can the media play towards this?
  • Bias in media coverage of women: Are men and women equally portrayed in the media? More importantly are genders displayed in a biased manner in the media?
  • Sexism, racism, and economic inequality: How can we deconstruct the patriarchy and accelerate the pace of change?
  • Can women help our broken societies heal, how do we nurture activism in them, and how can we reinforce the concept of creative activism? 

The photographic project ‘I am, You are: A pebble’ featuring 20 portraits of groundbreaking women was presented at the Conduit Club as part of International Women’s month. The project is a collaboration between London-based German photographer Sebastian Boettcher and Elizabeth Filippouli, journalist, and editor of ‘From Women to the World' and it is inspired by the beautifully complex, and resilient nature of women.

Among the speakers in previous years: Elif Shafak; Nawal El Saadawi; Baroness Patricia Scotland QC; HRH Princess Sumaya bint El Hassan;  Dame Stephanie Shirley; award-winning author, film director and LGBTQ rights activist Shamim Sharif; Entrepreneur & Author Annabel Karmel MBE; CNN Commentator Ayesha Hazarika; Economist & Author of ‘Women vs. Capitalism’, Vicky Pryce; RwandaHigh Commissioner to the UK, Yamina Karitanyi; Margery Kraus, Founder & Executive Chairman APCO Worldwide; Mary Carlin Yates, Ambassador (ret.) of the U.S. Department of State; May Chidiac, Former Minister & President of May Chidiac Foundation; Manoah Esipisu Kenya High Commissioner to the UK; BBC World presenter Tim Willcox; Athena40 Founder/Journalist Elizabeth Filippouli; Doug Wills, Editor Emeritus Evening Standard; Mpho Tutu Van Furth; MPs, Ambassadors and civil society leaders. All cities around the world connected live to the headlining panel in London creating a global conversation of wider impact and a special opportunity to raise awareness, develop new partnerships and access new networks.

Among the partners in 2022: The Conduit Club, Evening Standard, London Press Club, INJAZ Jordan, Arab Institute of Women Lebanon, Montessori Group UK, Department for International Trade UK UAE, DIT West Midlands, Ziauddin University Pakistan.