Photos, story by Cassie Hepler
What started as a one table gathering has exploded into a sold out sea of 9,000 women taking over the Pa. Convention Center. Obviously the tri-state area’s largest gathering of women, powerhouses such as Anita Hill, Mindy Kaling, Abby Wambach, Adam Grant and Annie Clark headlined the Pennsylvania Conference for Women.
“You are here to be part of a movement that will help all of us move forward together,” civil rights pioneer Anita Hill told a sold out audience of nearly 9,000 at the 13th Annual Pennsylvania Conference for Women on Thursday. “There are direct business costs related to harassment,” Hill said, noting the need to end ongoing harassment against women in the workplace, 25 years after she testified during the 1991 confirmation hearing of Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. “Time, energy and resources are diverted from work into litigation and court. So ending harassment is everybody’s business.” Now a professor of law at Brandeis University, Hill said despite the harsh treatment she received when she testified against Thomas, she will “continue to stand up and speak out” around equal education and employment protections for women.
Themed “The Power of Us: Amplify Your Voice,” this year’s conference also featured keynote addresses by Abby Wambach, two-time Olympic gold medalist, FIFA Women’s World Cup champion and author of “Forward”; Adam Grant, best-selling author and business professor; and Annie Clark, campus activist against sexual assault, featured in the documentary “The Hunting Ground,” as well as an interview with Mindy Kaling, actress, bestselling author and creator and star of “The Mindy Project” by journalist Lesley Jane Seymour.
New to the conference this year was the Tierney Social Hub, where attendees chatted one-on-one with online media and digital experts about how to leverage social networks for career growth opportunities. Attendees also visited the popular Drexel LeBow Career Pavilion, with in-person resume reviews by human resource experts and career coaching with coaches from the International Coach Federation Philadelphia, the Health and Wellness Pavilion, and the Small Business Marketplace featuring women owned businesses.
“The Pennsylvania Conference for Women has become a can’t-miss event for all who care about advancing the causes of women in the workplace, in the community and in their personal life experiences.” said Leslie Stiles, President of the Pennsylvania Conference for Women Board. “The power of us is more than a slogan – it represents the values we live by all year long.”
“Until we have not just a seat at the table, but a respected seat at the table, an equal paid seat at the table, then we are not being treated as equals. We’re being treated as a stepchild or the little sister and for me that’s just not good enough,” Wambach also said.
“Feminism is not about women taking over the world, although that would be fun,” Wambach said.
Overall, it was worth it to wade through the sea of women, fight to get autographs (seriously people were getting vicious) and all fight for women’s equality. But we hope in the future, we can talk about not how we need a female president to gain equal footing in America but how to continue to uplift and empower our women after that feat is already won. And let’s not forget, women make up half of the Keystone State so don’t feel alone ladies. Allow yourselves to roar!
The Pennsylvania Conference for Women was presented by Beneficial Bank andBeneficial Foundation and generously sponsored by Bristol-Myers Squibb; Cisco; DrexelUniversity; GlaxoSmithKline; PECO; QVC; AmerisourceBergen; Delaware Investments; DuPont; Ernst and Young; Johnson & Johnson; JP Morgan Chase & Co.; MasterCard; Mercer; PwC; Shire; AARP Pennsylvania; ACME; Amtrak; BMW; Burlington Coat Factory; Cancer Treatment Centers of America; Comcast NBC Universal; DLA Piper; Dow Chemical; Fine Wine and Good Spirits; Independence; KIND; Merck; Philadelphia Convention Center; PNC; Poo-Pourri; Shriners Hospitals for Children; State Farm; State StreetCorporation; Stradley Ronon; and Wawa. Media partners included Philadelphia Media Network;iHeartMedia;Philadelphia Magazine;Tierney; and WPVI-TV, 6abc.
To learn more about the 13th annual Pennsylvania Conference for Women, visit their website at www.paconferenceforwomen.org, follow them on Twitter athttp://www.twitter.com/PennWomen or visit their Facebook page athttp://www.facebook.com/paconferenceforwomen.