The 5th International Women’s Conference (IWC) is an initiative of The Art of Living and the International Association of Human Values.
Imagine a place where women feel safe and their ideas are respected as a valuable component to society. In this event, women’s thought, discussion and writing are not only sought after, but implemented as a foundation of a caring culture. Women from countries like Russia, India and Japan will meet to exchange views on everything from family to health, from careers to spirituality. It’s happening. Be a part of the International Women’s Conference, this summer in Berlin, Germany. The theme for 2011 will be “The Light of Leadership.”
5th International Women’s Conference
@ Olympic Stadium, Berlin
On 2 July 2011, 10 A.M. – 1:30 p.m.
Theme: The Light of Leadership
Women will connect together to expand the IWC global network and advance human values like belongingness, sincerity, and compassion. It will be a chance for women leaders to share their wisdom and to guide future women leaders. Participants will experience how to calm the mind with breathing exercises and meditation. Women will take part in dialogues and discussions on how to integrate female wisdom into society. Providing education for women who may not otherwise have educational access creates a life-changing impact, and participants will join together to answer this call. Let your participation in this Women’s Conference be a catalyst for the eradication of inequality, violence, female foeticide, poverty and damage to our Mother Earth, obstacles which hold us back from our true global spiritual inheritance.
Voices of women from around the globe
Women from over 75 countries have attended the past four conferences. Sabrina Pace, a delegate from Argentina, shared her experience. “The feeling of belongingness between the people present and the love was strikingly unique,” she said. Ekta Narula, Coordinator for Rural Women from Karnataka, India, said, “Even though many different languages were spoken, the message and discussions of the conference were universally understood. These women were empowered to realize the influence they could have on their regions and the country as a whole.”
Imperative to respond to violence, intolerance
Though issues facing women are not confined to any one country or region, it is as imperative as ever for women to work together to create harmony in society. Globally, women face the need to educate their societies, provide education and economic stability for women and their families, to promote gender equality, and to erase violence.
In many countries, statistics on issues facing women are alarming. The U.S. Senate reports domestic violence was found to be the leading cause of injury to women between the ages of 15 and 44 in the United States, more than car accidents, muggings, and rapes combined. The FBI reports that a woman is beaten by her husband or partner every 15 seconds in the United States.
In a recent gender equality survey by the International Centre for Research on Women, it was reported that 86% of Indian men believe that changing diapers, and bathing and feeding children is a woman's job. Almost an equal number do not participate in household work. 65% of Indian men reported they believed that women should tolerate violence to keep the family together and that women sometimes deserved to be beaten. These statistics ranked lowest in gender equality among six countries surveyed.
Honoring female spiritual wisdom
“In today’s world, we need women to come to the forefront and take more responsibility without getting stressed,“ stated Sri Sri Ravi Shankar at the first IWC. “They need to bring the finer aspects of society: the feminine and the ability to create should not be separated. This transformation ability will change our society.” Speaking about the IWC, Smt. Bhanumathi Narashimhan, invoked a celebration of women’s successes. She stated, “We celebrate the successes of women; in both the outer world – in terms of material success; and in the inner world – bringing confidence, inner strength and a dynamic radiance. As empowered women, we have a major responsibility to create a more harmonious world around us.”
Integrating female wisdom to create real change
Indeed, successes of the past International Women’s Conferences have been demonstrated through the creation of real change. More than 4,000 underprivileged girl children have been educated since the first conference in 2005. On the first day of the 2007 IWC, participants committed to educate 10,000 girls. Vocational training for adult women has been expanded, with more facilities available for widows in Iraq.
Economic stability has been enabled for more women. In Bangladesh, social entrepreneurship programs were initiated. The World Bank helped participants to explore economic empowerment schemes for women in fragile nations. Environmental care was provided with the planting of 1,000 trees. Participants took up a signature campaign urging the U.S. government to pass a bill to stop violence against women.
Local networks focus on issues
In preceding conferences, local networks have been formed on special topics. The networks focused on tackling issues such as girls’ education, women’s health, environmental conservation, eradicating poverty, domestic violence and combating HIV/AIDS. Since the last conference, work has continued, and the upcoming conference will be a platform for reevaluation and further work.
International Women’s Conferences held in 2005, 2007, and 2009 were hosted at the Art of Living International Centre, Bangalore, India. In 2010, the conference was held in Bali, Indonesia.
An experience shared and how to register
A sense of inner strength has tended to resonate with the IWC participants. “The Women’s Conference has made me very strong. I have experienced many changes and feel that I should be self-reliant. I feel I am not alone and have many women who will stand by and support me,” says Manjula, a delegate from rural North Karnataka, India. Information on how to register for this year’s conference is available at the 5th International Women’s Conference Website.