As summer arrives in New York, I reflect back on the many connections that Founding a Movement: Women’s World Banking 1975-1990 has renewed for me since the extraordinary launch at the United Nations on December 5—and on new connections that all of us are forging to strengthen opportunities for women around the world.
Since the release of the book I have had great opportunities to tell this story of women learning from one another, and I have particularly loved telling the story to students. It has been my pleasure to speak at the Ivey School of Business in Ontario, NYU’s Stern School of Business, The United Nations Association Young Professionals Program, and other campuses and organizations.
So much of my life has been spent encouraging young women to step out into the world and take on something real. I find that much of the power of our history as founders is that we were determined to solve a real problem, not just talk about it. When young people ask me what they can do to help, I encourage them to grab a backpack, go somewhere they’ve not been, and spend at least a month just listening and feeling—no thinking yet! As part of creating WWB we listened to each other, and shared feelings as well as knowledge. That was a true secret weapon.
In honor of this history, over the next few months I plan to use this website to share stories of what people are doing now. This will include people who were part of the founding, and younger people who are finding new ways to step up. If you have a story to share that shows what happens when women solve a problem, contact me and we will try to share that information.Among others you will hear from Shamina de Conzaga, who worked so closely with me on the book, and is in touch with many students, artists and people working for a better world.
I am happy to tell you that very soon, the interviews contained in Founding a Movement will be available online through Princeton’s Seeley G. Mudd Manuscript Library. The Mudd Library also houses the WWB archives and my own papers.
On April 7, the Women’s Bond Club of New York, founded in 1921 as one of the first organizations for women in finance in the city, celebrated an annual awards program at the Museum of Natural History. Amazingly, I found myself seated below the Great Whale in a room packed with more than 800 extraordinary people—mostly female! The Bond Club honored me with the Isabel Benham Award, which recognizes exceptional dedication to the advancement of women. It was a thrilling night, and I particularly loved the WBC tradition of identifying “rising stars’ – the next cohort of leaders. My notes for the event and pictures of the evening are on my website. Take a look and glimpse the excitement we all shared.