Melanne Verveer
Ambassador-at-Large for Global Women's Issues
The Georgia Aquarium
Atlanta, GA
October 4, 2012

Welcome, all of you, to what I know will be an exciting and thought-provoking day. President and CEO of Womenetics Elisabeth Marchant never disappoints when it comes to getting the most influential and inspirational women in a room to tackle our most timely issues! So I am confident this year will be another success. I remember when I joined you in Atlanta in 2010 as you launched this remarkable program. And I knew then, that this program had a global and sustainable reach. I am so sorry I can’t be with you today, but I welcome you all—so many of my friends and colleagues—and I encourage you to make the most of this opportunity for discussion about women in the media.

Secretary Clinton has said that we are living in a “Participation Age,” an age where information can easily transcend borders, opinions and ideas can scale firewalls, and every woman and man can be a contributing and valued member of the global community. You all know this better than anyone—how media affects participation, and how women in the media make a palpable difference in how we talk about what we talk about. A growing body of empirical research shows that the vast majority of economic and political issues facing our world today cannot be solved without the participation of women. Connect a small businesswoman to capital and training, and she can grow her income and become a powerful contributor to GDP growth. Include women in governments and in peace-talks, and they can help ensure that vital issues are addressed long before they become destabilizing crises, government ministries are better run, and peace agreements are sustained. Educate a girl and she will be more likely to raise healthier and more educated children, earn a better a living and end the cycle of poverty.

To those of you who submitted essays that provided thoughtful consideration of these topics being discussed today, I say thank you. You are our next leaders and I commend you for your work and dedication. I urge you to continue your work and passion because you are our hope for the future. I can see we are in good hands.

I wish you all the best.