With Leadership Women Change the World

Wednesday, 1 May 2013 15:59 GMT

21 Leaders for the 21st Century

Image Caption and Rights Information

* Any views expressed in this opinion piece are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

Tonight, I will be surrounded by members of a community committed to improving women’s safety, health and status.

It is the annual celebration for Women’s eNews to honor those extraordinary leaders—21 each year—who have dedicated their lives to this work.

Tonight we will be honoring leaders from five continents who have not looked back, who have not leaned in -- but who have pushed forward, to advance the well-being of women and girls.

Their collective accomplishments are simply amazing. Because of their efforts, and the work of the Women’s eNews 21 Leaders who came before them, my life and the lives of countless hundreds of thousands of others have been transformed.

Their accomplishments fall in roughly three categories: improving women’s health, reducing violence and ensuring women are heard.

Three quick examples: Dr. Naveen Rao is heading up Merck’s ${esc.dollar}500 million program to reduce maternal mortality, including in the United States. Kimberly Clark’s European Design Director Christine Mau donated her time and resources that developed a single logo to be used by a spectrum of women’s anti-violence organizations in a campaign for NO MORE campaign. I love her quote:

“I equate the idea behind NO MORE with ‘Horton Hears a Who,’” she says. “When all the Whos sang in unison they were heard.” 

Two leaders are receiving special recognition as journalists: Helen Benedict and Regina Scully. Benedict broke the story of sexual assault in the military and Scully served as executive producer of the Oscar-nominated “The Invisible War,” carrying the story forward and further. Together, they have been the catalyst for congressional interest, military promising to do better and ensuring the U.S. soldiers assaulted by other U.S. soldiers are heard.

Nearly thirteen years ago I began Women’s eNews with this irrational belief but absolute resolution that I could be the journalist who create the vehicle for women’s voices be heard, voices muffled by most news media.  And through high impact reporting their voices could change governments, the policies of civil societies and even and personal relationship.  And for 13 plus years that is what the Women's eNews team, a top notch editorial staff,  an array of brilliant and committed reporters, savvy business staff and enormously supportive board members.

Tonight Women’s eNews will launch a high-impact series by setting up the news agenda for others news media; alerting opinion leaders and policymakers; serving as a resource and catalyst for rights organizations and activists; and uncovering injustices on issues in the Middle East. A series that will use the power of the village to push women forward and into the spotlight.

Because that is exactly what a community news organization does: informs all the members of the community when one of us, or a group of us, need special attention. That is our job and each and every day I am profoundly proud that I seized the opportunity and challenge to deliver news to the community of women (and men who care about women). And each and every day I am profoundly grateful to our readers and supporters for welcoming us to their community.