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The Artemis Effect: Women are Changing the World

IT’S A CRISP FALL MORNING. The auditorium of the New York Hilton is packed and I am about to convene a national conference on equal opportunity for women in the workplace. The television crews are already in place, and I take a deep breath as I walk to the podium, knowing we are about to make history. The year is 1974. For the next four hours, I introduce pioneers who have broken gender barriers to join the U.S. space program, attend White House briefings and report from the world’s hot spots and battle zones. At the end of the day there is a networking frenzy, as members of the audience trade business cards and quick embraces, repeating a mantra that will support their activism for years to come: “Together we can accomplish anything.”

A generation later, the movement has grown more inclusive and our stories more diverse. No longer about breaking the glass ceiling, third-wave feminism is about bringing everyone along. The focus is not on one woman’s triumph and success but on global organizing and development. Think of these grassroots women’s movements as the human version of the Internet—the grapevine by which hopes and dreams go viral. Today, hundreds of thousands—maybe even more than a million—of small, local efforts, by, for and on behalf of women, allow us to stabilize local economies, feed the poor, deal with the devastating effects of war and disease, and make the world a safer place for all.

Read more about The Artemis Effect in THE OPTIMIST.