More than 140 attendees, primarily from Hamburg and German but also various other places in Europe and abroad, joined the celebration of Women’s History Month on March 30 organized by the American Women’s Club Hamburg (AWCH) in collaboration with the Amerikazentrum Hamburg e.V. and the U.S. Consulate General Hamburg.
The webinar Women in Leadership: Achieving an Equal Future, featured three distinguished panelists: Prof. Dr. Marylyn Addo, a leading clinical immunologist at Hamburg’s UKE; Almut Möller, Hamburg’s State Secretary for Federal, European, and Foreign Affairs; and Laurie Richardson, the UN Liaison for FAWCO and Chair of the Committee on the Status of Women (CSW) in Vienna.
The lively panel discussion was moderated by Prof. Merike Blofield, Director of the GIGA Institute for Latin American. Dr. Blofield led the participants in an engaging conversation that ranged from the global collaborative effort to combat the Covid-19 pandemic to the negotiations at the UN’s recently concluded sixty-fifth session of the Commission on the Status of Women. All three participants discussed the importance of role models – both female and male – in helping women achieve leadership roles. They touched on the fact that women in public life, such as politicians, often face unrelenting personal attacks and hate speech via social media in an attempt to silence women and hinder them from participating. There was an animated exchange between the moderator and all participants about their dual roles as parents and professionals, and the need for a viable care economy that supports working families, as well as the need to combat pervasive gender stereotypes that persist in hindering women from being both parents and successful leaders in their chosen fields. Almut Möller gave the wonderfully concrete advice to women to take any chance that is offered to them; women must seize opportunities to advance in their careers and leave their comfort zones. Marylyn Addo suggested that women “sit in the front row”, move up, speak up, and act on their own behalf as often as possible. Laurie Richardson pointed out that we need to change the belief held by many boys and men that gender equality is a “zero-sum game”, that women advancing towards equality does not mean that men lose out.
The discussion was followed by a Q&A period in which participants had a chance to have their questions addressed by the panelists. U.S. Consul General Darion Akins gave an outlook of the discussion before the event ended. Hopefully, the event in March 2022 will once again be held in person.