tv Women Global Leadership CSPAN January 16, 2018 5:43pm-7:04pm EST
believe the person who they usually stand with. and that's just where things will be. >> all in election year too. >> right. >> and we'll talk about that in a little bit. but let's go to calls. start with brian this morning from michigan on independent line on our guests go ahead. >> good morning. thank you. i think we should not shut it down to work on a deal. i have a question for miss john. i'm 60 years old from the detroit air yachlt my entire life i heard about slavery and now jim crow. why on earth is the black democrat congress telling black people for having illegal mexicans here?
>> whether you are joining us in the room here, and a lot of us are, or joining us online, thank you for being here for our smart women, smart power event tonight. we are excited that 7 ambassadors currently representing countries in washington can join us from look at the u.s. a broad. as you may have nsed they happen to be all female ambassadors and a subset of those representing their countries here in washington. before we begin, i'll get to introducing ambassadors in a few mont moments but first a couple social media. we hope you are following us on twitter at smart women. there are outs. and if you are live tweeting we also ask that you use the hashtag csi live. we do have as you know a smart woman podcast course with smart women events. we hope you are following those as well. our smart women smart power
speaker series wouldn't be possible without the power of city. thank you for citi for national security international business and international development. so i'm pleased to welcome christen solheim director of federal government affairs at city. [ applause ] >> hi. happy new year. happy 2018. this is our fourth year sponsoring this series. and i'm really excited to kick it off with this group of fabulous women. they have the most amazing resumes. they represent a slice of the women that are here in the united states representing countries from around the globe. so this is going to be a fascinating panel. the countries that they are coming from, you'll hear more about. but st. kitts, finland, sweden,
fascinating different places from around the world, i'm sure they are all have different perspectives, but they are all women so i'm sure there will be a grain of similarity between what's happening between the united states and around the world. there is no one better than nina set ee stop to conduct the panel. and i no he she's back from what looks like great trip in africa. so excited to hear about that. so thank you for being here and i'm happy to turn it back to kathleen hicks. [ applause ] >> all right. thank you, christen and thank you to citi for continuing support. i have the task of introducing these seven women and i say that because it's not without its challenges annie nunsizatid enu. and if you can just indicate who
i'm saying as i walk down the line. on stage here we have ambassador of kosovo. we have ambassador of libya. we have ambassador of saint kits. we have ambassador of uwanda. ambassador of sweden. dr. kana, and her excellency, christi ambassador of finland. and i'm sorry, i have to do it again now. ambassador of the african union. our moderator is chris continue csi senior associate. nina ee stop is also chair of fortune women international summit and global forum. thank you all again for joining
us. and over to you, nina. >> thank you. and let's give a round of applause for all of these women. [ cheers and applause ] >> it is truly an awesome and intimidating experience to be around all these amazing women. we are first going to go down and talk to each of them a little bit about themselves and their countries and then we'll talk about over arching geopolitical themes. but i really want to include you. so once we do two rounds, we are going to take questions from the audience. go ahead and have them ready. there are cards. we will pick them up. and we will read off the questions to our participants. so thank you. i'm first going to turn to my left, from sweden, ambassador, because it's really interesting that sweden has what it overtly calls a feminist foreign policy.
>> we do. >> how is that going? and what is it? >> it's going very well. we actually have the first feministic government that then has foreign policy. >> you say feminist particular. >> feministic. >> yes, that's a shame we need to have it. and it's remarkable that we sit here as women, it's sad, but it's true. so i'm very proud and happy to represent a feministic government and being maybe as a result of a feminist government because i'm first women appointed to the ambassador of the united states for sweden. so going to foreign policy, this is something, does it sound weird, actually, all of government is working on a feminist particular agenda, so it doesn't matter which government agency. they have to really dig into quality issues.
make sure that their work is for equal rights and women and men have the same opportunities. we still have challenges in my country. >> is it okay? >> maybe i'm i'm just hearing m. for instance, in sweden, women only earn 87% of what men earn so there's a pay gap, et cetera. we have challenges in my country we are dealing with nationally. but then the government also thought it was very important to take this issue further and really, in all our foreign policy matters, we always have to look at women's issues, because it's very important that we really strive for women to have the same rights and responsibilities and representation as men. >> give me an example of that. >> for instance, right now, sweden is a non-permanent member of the united nations security council. so in all the presidential statements that have been done on the security council since we have been there, 100% of them
have included women's issues. so that's one very important result, i think. we bring it up in our development corporation much more than we did before, focusing on women and their economic power, also sexual and reproductive health is extremely important to us, and there we don't see eye to eye with the u.s. administration right now, and we think this is very serious, because of course, a lot of women die and are abuseabused, et cetera. those are issues that are very important. when we look to trade, we always try to look so where are the women and how can we, through our work, strengthen women as economic actors in the field. we do that with all countries, so even countries within european union, we address it all the time. so it really is something that we consciously look at in all the issues we are working on. >> your focus is bringing women's issues in. do you ever look at things like
conflict in a different way, if it's a feminist foreign policy? >> i think so. because what we have concluded is that women are, for instance, represented in peace negotiations, it would probably have a much more stable peace because women bring other issues to the table than men. >> right. >> so it's extremely important. and why shouldn't 50% of the population be included in all these issues? why have we been excluded before? >> right. >> it's just the right thing to do, actually. >> so turning to the african union, this is interesting, she was for 25 years a medical doctor in tennessee in a town near where bev grew up. both her daughters are graduates, one already graduated from yale medical school and the other is in yale medical school. pretty impressive.
what drove you to take on this position that you have now? >> well, i was minding my own busine business, actually in bed. it was exactly 3:02 in the morning when my phone rang, and it was then chairman of the african union informing me that my predecessor had turned in her resignation, that she was going to be running for president of tanzania. and that she couldn't think of anyone better than myself to take on that role. of course, i laughed at her. i couldn't see myself as an ambassador. i said well, what do you think i know, i'm a medical doctor.
and she reminded me that she herself is a pediatrician, and that i should take some time and think about it. i thought she was kidding. about a week later, she called me again and slowly i began to realize that she was really serious. so we joke about it, we said she courted me like a man would be courting a woman. it took her six months to finally get me to say yes. but it was not an easy decision, because it never occurred to me that my experience as a family physician would more than prepare me for diplomacy and before i finally made the call to the chairman to say that i would take the position, i had a
conversation with my husband, who reminded me of how as a physician, you can very nicely tell a woman that she's overweight, but that it is our problem together, and that together, we are going to deal with it and that you and this woman who otherwise would be exceptionally uncomfortable having this conversation can actually laugh about it, joke about it and get on this journey together. so he reminded me that every day, sometimes 10, 20 times a day, it's one episode in diplomacy after the other, because of the different scenarios that we run into as
doctors. we can picture a situation where in exam room number one, it's a lady who just lost her husband that calls for a specific emotion at that time and then you leave exam room number one to exam room number two, it's a young lady who just came back from her honeymoon because she just got married, so you are going to choose extreme emotions in short periods of time and emotions and the changes that are required that go on from one exam room after the other, each exam room being a different adventure and a different change of gears. at a much faster pace, i must say, in a doctor's life than what's happening in diplomacy. so i can comfortably say being a doctor compared to what i would
have thought more than prepared me for what i'm doing now. >> ambassador, as a doctor, can you diagnose the african union and tell us -- >> yes. i think the african union requir requires, it's a specialty approach. i think in some cases, general surgery is definitely needed. in some cases, we need orthopedic surgeons to break some bones. in some cases, we need neurosurgeons to drill into the brain. and so -- and occasionally, maybe often enough, actually, we need psychiatrists so yes, we do. >> i want to hear more about that in the next round of questioning. but let's move on to finland. ambassador, finland has always been known as a country with
pretty good to gender equality level, but what's fascinating is this new number that just came out that actually, in your country, men spend more time with their kids than women. by eight minutes, but still. do you think that's cultural? how much is cultural and how much is policy-driven? >> i think it is both. culture obviously has an impact on policies, and policies have an impact on culture. so it is both. i think early on in the history of my nation, by the way, the nation is 100 years old as an independent country last year we celebrated our centennial. the nation is older than that. but early on in the history of my nation, the notion is that we need everybody to make it and to make our country a success, and
when we started as an independent country, finland was actually quite poor. one of the poorest countries in europe. we had a civil war straight away after the independence and today, we are one of the most successful countries in the world. and if you want to find one sort of explanation, single most important explanation to that, we do think that it is equality, gender equality, but equality at large. and the social policies and policies we have put in place, all of them have really the goal to promote gender equality. >> do you feel like you've made it and you're there? are there initiatives to go farther on that front? >> absolutely. like karen said, there are a lot
of challenges and it's funny, even if you reach a high level, you can never sort of rest because there are always new challenges and there's even the possibility of sliding back. so one of the big areas which obviously we have a very strong social policy in all the nordic countries, and a lot of policies in place to make it possible for women to be fully part of the work force and also to share the so-called burden of children equally between men and women. but there are a lot of challenges and one of the areas which is a very challenging area is work. jobs and work is changing very rapidly because of technologies and because of the economic
changes, and how do you maintain the high level of, for instance, public services in that kind of a situation. that is one of the big challenges. i might also say or i should say that we have to remember that gender equality also means equality for men, and in some areas in finland, we are more worried about what is happening to boys and men. so it is very important to remember that as well. >> that's very interesting. now we turn to rwanda. also spent a lot of time in this country, teaching history in sacramento before you took on this job. what drove you? >> thank you so much. for a long time i lived in california as a refugee.
i left my country when i was 13. >> what year was that? >> a long time ago. and pretty much lived separate from my parents until i landed in california, for a number of reasons. what i can tell you is that rwanda never ceases to be part of us. what we did is try to organize and i always say for me it became like two mothers, the united states became one and i was given the opportunity to be able to go back. there was a time when you said rwanda, it was not a country we were proud to go back to because
of division and because of many different things, but when the call came, especially a few years back, it was one of the best things that i could have guessed. because for me, it was always like a mission to give back. when we talk about women, the majority of people in rwanda, or at least the ones now were refugees or they survived the horrible genocide and i don't want to go back to that. there's no institution functioning in the country.
so the women did a lot, to survive, to mend the fabrics of broken society, the broken families, so on, so forth. also, the new leadership that was coming in was intending to use or to open the door to women, because number one, because of the reality, more women survived, there was a b big -- that was corrupt in rwanda. for us, it was also part of recovery. not only that, but because even before all the program came, the women tried to mend, tried to survive. so women are not subjects where you come and give something.
after genocide and the recovery, when it set the agenda, it was a pro-women parliament. we are not perfect but what i'm saying is that when the framework came, when they put it in the constitution that women had to be represented, the practice followed. >> you know, i have read about in rwanda they call it the rosie the riveter phenomenon, where men weren't around, men were killed, women took up and started businesses. they are quite a women's entrepreneur culture to help rebuild the country? >> when we look at the genocide, yeah, people died but women were even more violated than anybody. for instance, we had more than 600% -- 600,000 rapes.
>> 600,000. wow. >> even when women talk about this, if you talk about representation and what we had to put in place to bring a society that can function together, we also think in terms of intimate association. when you look in the eyes of your child and you are able to forgive yourself, so when we talk about reconciliation, it's a very uphill battle. today, rwanda is able to function together and have an identity faand face the biggest challenges among our youth. we have children whose parents died during genocide, children whose parents killed. how do you blend, how do you
bring society together. that's pretty much why i admire my country. we were able to bring all these people together and you can't really remove the role of women. they were married to the victims. they were married -- sometimes the mother to the children and they were violated at some time. you are looking at women who became very strong and resilient. >> challenging time. so turning to st. kitts, ambassador philip-brown, tell us about your country, the smallest sovereign state in the western hemisphere. you did okay but not great during this past hurricane season with hurricane irma and maria. what are the key issues for you?
>> first of all, thank you for having me. it's great to be among this group of wonderful women here. it is the smallest in the western hemisphere. st. kitts is all of 36 square miles. it was a little bit larger, but a tsunami took part in the 1700s. it is 68 square miles but pure beauty. they're interesting in that when the trade winds come off of africa, to the first islands that the trade winds meet, so normally, antigua, barbuda are the first to experience hurricanes and in fact, if you follow the track, they were headed directly towards us but
irma deviated a little bit north and maria deviated a little bit south, so we were spared the brunt of the hurricane. $150 million of damage is nothing to sneeze at, but when you compare it to dominiqua, over $2 billion. nobody has yet computed the amount of damage and human suffering. we got off pretty good. that said, in small islands and in the lesser antilles, the islands are close and we move around a lot, so everyone has relatives in puerto rico and so forth, so you were on facebook and your relatives were. i didn't hear from my nephew for in total a week. the first sign i had of anything to do with him, we had a picture
with him and that was frightening. we go back and the devastation and the anxiety, looking at the hurricane coming towards them, the expenditure to prepare for the hurricane, and it still left a scar because they had to be preparing all these boxes. one time they ran out of food because they had to be sent in boxes to all these other countries so it is very traumatic for the islands. we are hoping that this next year would be better. we are hoping against hope that this is not the new norm, but we are also mindful of the issues of climate change and i might not be politically correct to say it but for us, for me in particular, who was born a stone's throw from the sea and
realize that 20 years ago we had to build a seawall to keep the sea out. it is real. and that is one of the biggest challenges we have, because it's a threat to our very existence. it's health, economics, security, mental health, to everything. >> you are going to be facing that. it's getting worse as the years go. thank you for sharing that. moving on to libya, ambassador, you are kind of home here. you went to catholic university, got your chemical engineering degree, spent time at gwu. libya, talk about a country that's been through difficult times and you have been involved in rebuilding civil society and participation of women. where do things stand on that front now? >> talking about women or -- >> start with civil society. >> well, first of all, i would
like to thank csis for organizing this great event. a host of great women here and thanks to the participants and audience here. libya, my country is going through very challenging times. it's been challenging since the uprising of 2011. things didn't quite go according to our aspirations and hopes. nevertheless, despite all the challenges, we are facing -- hope still drives us to continue working to regain back our stability and rebuild our institutions. it's very much i would say after
the armed conflicts, it leaves the country broken with no institutions, and it's not an easy job to rebuild, and you need all the institutions to hold the state so you can implement all the legislations and rule of law. now, women fought hard after the uprising to enter the political landscape, and the aspirations were very high. nevertheless, after awhile, security threats, instability, social and cultural barriers hindered those efforts a great deal. civil society was very strong right after the uprising and as
my colleague, the ambassador of rwanda said here, women step up always in crisis. they hold the society and this is what happened in libya while men were fighting on the front lines. it was women who held the society together and took care of daily life and helping life to continue. nevertheless, when the dust settled down, we were back to square one. socioeconomic barriers surfaced aga again, other security threats and crimes and violence, now the efforts of women at first faded, but nevertheless, we are still hoping that we will come back
and start where we ended. >> i sense some pessimism in your voice even while you try to be hopeful. >> it hasn't been easy. it's been very challenging and very difficult. it's been tough seven years on the country, and seven years is a long period, really, to endure, you know. each year we would hope for the year after, we had great elections, we were on the road for democracy and we were fighting hard to promote women's rights and women, you know, we were issuing legislation and so site w society was very active, we were pushing for women's participation and we didn't reali realize, it became security that became a priority now. it's not women's rights anymore. you know what i'm saying?
when people are searching for security and striving, we have extremism, we have crimes, we have a lot of insecured borders. it's been very challenging and we are hopeful. the u.n. is working out a plan with us and it will work. i'm cautiously optimistic. yes. we might still have to struggle for some time, because things don't stay status quo. it's been difficult on the people. our daily lives, people are struggling hard for their daily life in a very rich country. health care, education, everything has become challenging and difficult, and
to see that happening is sometimes way beyond, you know, bearing. >> hard seeing that happen to a country you love. >> yes. yes. >> beautiful country. kosovo, ambassador, your country went through difficult times awhile ago. you have been involved in the campaign for women who were raped during the kosovo war. talk about that, and talk about the healing process that brought the country to where it is now. >> well, first of all, thank you very much for having us here. it feels great to be in an all women panel. it's not very common. i am from kosovo, which is the youngest democracy and youngest demography. my colleagues have heard this joke so many times but i keep repeating it because i love it.
we are just two years younger than [ inaudible ] to put it in context. we are also a very young demography. 70% of the population are under 30. >> wow. 70%? >> yes. under 30. so i'm not young for kosovo standards. and thirdly, kosovo is by far the most pro-american nation on earth. we have a bill clinton statue next to a george w. bush boulevard. we are very unique. and we are going to celebrate next month, i was so envious of my finnish colleague, 100 years. you know, when we grow up, i hope we will become like finland because it's truly an inspiring
model of gender equality. it is true, kosovo has gone through a lot. just 18 years ago, it was a state on ruins, on ashes, over half of the population was deported. thousands of women were raped. families were destroyed. families were torn apart. but kosovo is no longer known only for its tragic past. because of women, kosovo has become also a story of success and inspiration. although we are the youngest democracy in europe, we were the first country in southeastern europe to have a commander in chief, a woman president.
we also are the country with the largest number of golden medals per capita. just one. but that was also won by a woman, a young girl waited for her chance because kosovo just joined the olympics committee a couple of years ago, and it was in rio, we had the chance to compete for the first time. and there was this young woman and by the way, judo. you never say in kosovo you fight like a girl. you don't end up very well. but there was this young woman who trained in terrible conditions, often without
electricity, refused offers from many governments who gave her and offered her millions so she could compete for other flags. but she waited for her chance to compete and win for kosovo. giving all of us a lesson, especially us in the public service, that not everything is for sale and there are things money cannot buy. she has become our nation's inspiration, role model and she's done for kosovo far more than all the other ambassadors combined. and another example, very very important example i want to share with you, is the survivors of the sexual violence in kosovo.
i have never seen women that are that brave. for me, they are true heroes because they had to endure so much. the physical part of the pain is probably the easiest to heal, but the trauma, the stigma they have suffered after the war was just terrible and heart-breaking but they never gave up. they stood together. they organized associations. they helped one another. they relied on one another. and they never, ever called for revenge. >> never called for? >> revenge. never, ever. and when interviewed, one of
them said well, hate is too much of a heavy burden to carry. i don't have time to hate. i have to take care of my kids, i have a family to worry about. kosovo needs to move on. and this is what women have brought in kosovo because state building is far easier than society building. you adopt a law, a constitution, it is challenging, but it's much easier than society building, than building a social cohesion in a society that just came out from the war. so i am proud of everything what women did in kosovo, and i'm even prouder to represent them in washington, d.c. >> so what do you all think of this? raise your hands if you want to chime in. this whole question of whether women approach conflict and moving past conflict without
getting pollyanna, do they approach it in a different way and how so? >> i think that women approach it differently because they are mothers, they are spouses, they are everything. no matter how much we look, if we talk in the abstract and talk about women's movement, maybe, we have to look at the specifics in everyday life, especially if i look into my society and my community, it was pretty established that the women had the home. >> in rwanda. >> in rwanda and many different societies. it means that when the wars are going on, the rules are
everything. what i said before, they lose their home, they lose their husband, they lose their children, and when i look at for instance when we are talking about our reconciliation and what was taking place, it meant that sometimes we had really to bring two parts together. usually the women, because they married all sides. the community is very complicated. when i was talking about the family, this is what i was talking about. even when we are talking [ inaudible ] but the determination of who was to be killed, that was because of the society. doesn't mean the wife was not emotionally bound to the person of the other ethnic group. it means it is an existential part of your soul.
but also, women, i'm not saying in general, i have come up with women who have been actively waging wars. i have never seen men's societies where women are waging war. the discussion is really complicated because the other elements, the other concepts where you can bring peace from another perspective is sometimes -- >> if i may add, very often when we talk about women and conflict, we very often make the mistake of treating women as victims only. women are heroes. i have met women who took up the
gun and fought the regime. i have met women who led the peaceful resistance during the '90s. so women are brave and when it's needed, when it's necessary, i have seen them be great champions of all values the society -- >> oh. it's okay. >> what sets the difference is the way how we react once the conflict or the war is over. we are more ready, more willing, to move on. because conflicts and wars do
affect women in much more profound way than they do men. >> i'm interjecting countries because this is also audio. thank you, kosovo. thoughts down here on these questions? go ahead. >> thank you. when you hear about what your countries have been through, i realize i came from a totally different corner from this. we haven't had a war in sweden for over 200 years. >> but you do have a militaristic past. >> we do. before that, we had been to so many wars and we were so poor that everyone basically left for america. it's true. it's true. no, but what you are telling, the stories you are telling is of course what we have seen and coming from a very rich country where we send off 1% of our gdp in development corporation, this is also how we want to use our funds, to strengthen women in societies that have been through the horrors that you have. and that's what we've seen.
we know through our very long time -- term corporation and the international outlook, that women are needed, at least as much as men. we must make room for women. so if we, coming from this rich part of the world, can facilitate, it's really our responsibility to do that. that's where we come from as well. >> i wanted to turn to our first audience -- i'm sorry, did you want to -- >> yes, i just wanted to say, we are a peaceful region, yes, so we have not faced conflict in the same way. but i go back there, there's a book written about society in jamaica. my mother and father had a different situation to deal with women in the caribbean, where men have traditionally been emasculated to slavery and women had to step forth. the difference is, the women do
not have the political power but we like to say we are the neck that turns the head. my husband used to say you see around the corner, men see in straight lines. women see around, because we look at all eventualities. we are more relational. as ambassador said, they don't have time to get caught up in the idea of the conflict. they must move on, because there are children, cousins, everybody depends on it. so even though we don't have the political power, we have to move on and we must find a way to deal with the situation. that's why when you look at all the statistics, when women are involved, peace is more lasting, more forthcoming. when women are involved, governance is more transparent. when women are involved, the economy thrives. women need to get involved.
sometimes we don't go out front in terms of the leadership, but you are behind if you look at the heads of departments and so lots of women doing the hard work, because that's in the caribbean, women carry the brunt of society. we don't want to get stuck in what has been. we have to move on. >> ambassador? >> i would just add one thing to what my colleagues have said. i do believe women are agents for peace and we have witnessed, libya, can you hear me? yeah, okay. we have witnessed in all the initiatives and efforts that we did that women don't have this competition for power that have
hindered us and harmed us a lot. women do think about the society and the good for the country and the good for the future of the children and generations while on the other hand, men can be drawn into the vicious cycle of power struggle, and that just is an obstacle to all peace initiatives and reconciliation, and that's one thing that's come in between women and probably men lack that. >> if i could -- do you want to add anything? i could move into audience questions. >> i wonder if i can just make a comment on just the plight of women in general. i would share with you all just my experience as a medical doctor practicing in africa and also practicing in the united states. i can honestly tell you that the
plight of women are the same. i have found myself using the psychology that i saw being used to manage depression from various reasons in my village, and i have used it in tennessee. i will share a quick story with you. a young lady who would come to me, young woman, in her 40s, the husband was cheating on her and she was just sick and tired of it all and she didn't know what else to do, and i jokingly said to her well, you know, where i come from, in my village, it seems to me you are just ready to take off your clothes and run up and down the village naked. and she goes i did it, i did it! you did what? she said it was cold, it was winter and she took off her clothes and she got on her
riding mower and she started just riding around the house hoping that some neighbors can come out and that would embarrass her husband. well, i said what was your husband doing all this time? she said he was by the door calling me, you're crazy, come back in, come back in. she said until she got good and cold, nobody came out. but it was so reminiscent of what happens in my culture. you see, when a woman marries, she doesn't just marry the husband. she marries the husband and the whole village. then you submit yourself to the husband's village. when you first get there, first your family tells you must represent us well, you must behave and you must -- so the woman goes there and she works like a chicken without a head. she's running around like an everready battery. everybody that needs help, they are calling on her. her children start coming and she's trying to say i can't
handle it anymore, it's too much, i need help. nobody's paying attention. two, three kids down the road, the woman has had it. so what the african woman would do in the village is take off her clothes and run up and down the village, and that's the outward embarrassment to the husband. then suddenly, the elders are now calling for an emergency village meeting. now that is the only way the husband can get into trouble. that is the only way the woman can be heard. so now what's being done by women in an african village, the american woman in tennessee is using it. i'm saying this to say regardless of how we got to this state of disease means dis-ease. dis-ease of the physical body, dis-ease of the mind. at the end of the day, the pain
is the same. and how we deal with it as women, our survival mechanisms are the same. i just wanted to share that with you. [ applause ] >> this is really pretty much a lot of cultural involvement. >> so one of the things, this is an audience question, one of the things that's kind of consumed male/female relations in this country, you know what i'm about to skshask, is the me too movem. has there been any trickle out to any of your countries? what are you seeing? >> well, certainly we have also a me too movement. finland has very high gender
equality. the movement has brought more attention to sexual harassment. i think it has been very useful, especially in the sense that there's more discussion about what is proper behavior and improper behavior, and what is not. in other words, sort of learning to understand better and i think that's very, very important. because sometimes, you know, we think that everybody understands each other in this respect, but that's not really the case. so that has been very important. and in some fields, there have been quite a lot of cases which have come to light and it seems that there are some sort of spheres of society where sexual harassment is sort of accepted. it's not accepted in the society at large, but for instance, in
entertainment industries right here as well, somehow it has been part of the culture, and with the me too movement and the discussions that have really sort of, there's been a lot of attention to it, i think the culture, there's a possibility the culture gets healthier also in those sectors. so i think it's a very important discussion and i'm happy that it has reached finland. >> anyone else? >> i think we still have a long way to go as africans. i don't think we are even where we are having this conversation to this significant extent. i had an interesting conversation with someone that i thought i knew just this christmas and she just said oh,
i was raped by my father since i was 6 years old until i was 13. i just about fell off my chair. this is someone that i thought i knew. when she finally fought him back, this is in africa, he just went on to the next younger sister and the next younger sister. so we have a long way to go as africans and the conversation is not even begun. so we got work to do in africa. we are nowhere near having the conversation where the conversation needs to be. >> do you agree? >> yes. absolutely, i agree with my sister. but the movement is not lost on young women, because sexual violence is criminalized and people have used that to also report on rape. the program now is to go from reporting and actually going on record to say i was raped.
sometimes they become anonymous because again, because of the stigma still attached to sexual violence and so on, so forth. but at the same time, because we have the process to punish people who have committed sexual violence, especially young women that are coming forward to talk. the question is whether you can start really pursuing somebody, so we are at the point where you can actually come and say i was raped before it becomes more difficult. as she said, it's a long way to go for women. >> it's very, very important -- >> kosovo. >> it's not only in kosovo. i believe it's yes, in kosovo,
but also here, it is very important to protect women that come out and speak up. not only protect, but also embrace, support and make sure that their stories don't end up being just the headline of the day, because i fear if we are not consistent on the objective which is sexual harassment, we will lose this conversation on proper names, you know? oh, did you see this x person sexually assaulted y person. there are millions of women out there that have no platform.
women that work in hospitals, in schools, in farms. they are not celebrities. how do we stay focused on the subject, not on the names that are attached to the harassment? and i think we have to be much more cautious, the rest of us that are getting enthusiastic about the debate, we need to make sure that we stay focused on what's important and what is important is the subject. not sexual harassment, not individual stories which are very painful, yes, but there are millions of stories out there that have never been told. >> so there's a question from the audience wanting to know if any of you have faced, encountered sexual harassment in your career and how you reacted to it. does anyone want to take that
on? >> i would like to take it on, but i would like to say something before that. while i do not disagree with you, i totally appreciate where you're coming from, but the truth is, if alyssa milano wasn't on it, we wouldn't have known there was a me too movement so there is place for celebrities, i think, but i hear you. in terms of my country, we have not reached where we ought to be. we have really not had the conversation. but i believe the men have been paying attention and even if women do not come out and say it, i believe that they are paying attention and i believe the actions would -- because it is very common.
it is very common in our culture. men will slap you on the behind and say remarks. that is commonplace. some people almost take it for granted. some people like it, you know? but i think now women are beginning to understand that this is not right and men, more importantly, are beginning to understand that this is something that is not acceptable. even if they do not come out like they are doing here, i think they are paying attention. [ speaking simultaneously ] >> i think it is very important also to have in place sort of structures, methods through which you focus on issues like that. in finland, in almost every workplace, for instance, in the government, everywhere including my embassy, there is a sort of
how should i put it? a study about different aspects of the workplace. everybody answers anonymously and the questions included are whether you have observed that behavior in the workplace, whether you have observed sexual harassment or other kinds of harassment, and if you have yourself experienced, and you get the results from those studies, and if there's any indication that something like that has happened or has been observed, it's really the duty of the boss to address this issue. and there's a very detailed sort of method, instructions for the
boss and the staff about how do you address these issues. not generally, but really when something like that comes up and you know when you go in the workplace, something like that has happened, how do you address it. i think it's very good that they set kind of a mechanism in place where it's easy to sort of report, and then there is a clear path how you address it. >> so we are out of time. but what i want to do is end on a personal question to each of you, and answer it from the heart. there's a lot of women in this audience, there's a lot of women in our broadcast audience who look at you all, you have reached the pinnacle of careers, you are strong women, you are the ultimate symbol of success. what is your advice to young women who want to pursue your path?
kosovo. >> well, thank you very much for the qualification. i don't think i have reached the peak yet. but i think what my life story tells is that you can succeed against all the odds if you work hard, if you are committed and if you put your heart in it. 18 years ago, i was a refugee. i was separated from everything i knew and loved. and here i am today, representing my country in washington, d.c. so just stay focused, work hard and whatever you choose to do, do it with honor and integrity. >> very powerful. words from libya.
>> from libya. yes. don't ever think you cannot make it, whatever your heart, wherever your heart goes in your career, go for it and you will come out winner if you focus, if you are committed. don't ever think or hesitate or think you cannot make it. you can never know how brave you are or how courageous until you really face up to challenges and only then you will realize how strong you are. i think we are all strong and it's just how you judge yourself. so be strong, be assertive. nobody will give you anything. you have to go for it and ask for it and take it, and take what you deserve, whatever it is
you deserve, go for it and do it for yourself. >> thank you. advice from st. kitts-nevis? >> what shall i say. when i -- after i went into the white house, i went and i took a picture of the house, a similar house to where i was born, half the size of this platform. my father and my mother had eight surviving siblings. it's obvious where i would have done my ablutions in an outhouse. and we all have to be honest and it's elephant in the room, and i don't mind that. so as i look back, i'm black,
i'm a woman, i'm from an extremely poor neighborhood and so i'm probably last on the totem pole. i thought about that just a few days ago and all the hoopla, and i we a speaker said, i'm dark but lovely. she says, i am black, but comely. she went on to say, why are you staring at me because i'm black? she said, my brothers were angry with me and they send me out into the vineyards and that said three things to me. one, she was saying she was hooked down upon, discriminated
because of her color. and because of her gender. she was punished because of her gender. and yet she was talking about her self-worth. she says, i am dark as solomon's curtain. solomon is a king. so right away, it was in spite of who i am, in spite of where i'm from, the creator did not make any mistake. and so i must have some self-worth. and i thought, in god's tapestry of this universe, he has created each one of us for a purpose. some of us might be a black thread, some white, some pink, some purple. but every one of us has a unique slot in that tapestry. and as long as we find that slot
and be the best little color that we are, then it's going to enhance the whole tapestry. we enhance the tapestry and those around us make us shine. and so my message to anyone is to find what your creator ordained you to be. find that slot. be the best you can be. whatever it is, and enhance the tapestry of the universe. >> thank you. [ applause ] >> yolanda? >> it's hard to say anything after that. [ laughter ] but i have to say that really i encourage people to be of service, whatever station in life they are in. one of the things i -- we have
dreams, but it's really when you start where you are in your community, in extending yourself. i think whatever i did when i was a professor, before then, in refugee camp, i was always -- i was putting -- it's when, you know, when you leave your country and you are young, you are not with your parents, you are not with any role model, you needed to find an internal grounding. and for me, it was my catholicism, until i abandoned that. what i'm saying, it is during that time, the concept of
christianity kept me out of trouble. but also to promote me in a certain direction. but you become involved where you are. especially everyone here has challenges. everyone. big, small, and sometimes we -- that's one of the biggest -- >> so being around refugees and seeing how they needed help grounded you. >> right. and to see i still have my two legs and healthy. in refugee camps, there are other people who are not as lucky as i was. so that also gave me the responsibility to extend myself and to extend whatever i have. so i think you can be an ambassador of race, but when you
start where you are, even if you are in school, i think you started in school, you started by looking at the other as a human being. so i believe that we all have that capacity to reach higher. >> thank you. >> it's very hard to come after these fantastic stories. so i'll be a bit more concrete. i think it's very important not to think that you are very capable and what you're doing. work hard, think more like a man. if there's an application for a job, and it says you need these eight qualities, a woman will say, i only have seven. i can't apply. a man will say, oh two, that's me. [ laughter ] [ applause ] and that's how women have to think, as well. we are a bit overcautious sometimes and think you have to be perfect. no, it's about getting things done, going maybe around the
corner a bit. and not -- and career planning. look ahead, what do you want to do? what is the job you want to have after your next job? so it's really being quite concrete about it. >> i was raised if a village in zimbabwe by a woman who would always tell us that work never killed anybody, just do it. i had a brother who was very lazy. the mothers give us little portions of land to work, and my brother would spend more time to negotiate and play games with the rest of us and figure out how to get us to do his work. and i still remember, even as a little girl, how we would be done with our work, and he's still trying to figure out how to get us to do his work.
i remember now raising my own children, and i would now say to them if this world was a beehive, i could never be a queen, because i enjoy working. i would have to be a worker bee. i thrive off of work. i was raised by a woman who didn't understand why a woman should just sit around the house and do nothing. surely there's got to be something for you to do. there's a dress you can mend. you can rearrange this or that. didn't realize how much that had become so much part of me. i truly thrive off of work. i enjoy just watching, regardless of what it is. i remember visiting one of my fellow doctors, and we were talking about work ethic. as a doct worker, i would pay dn
your room that you didn't even know existed. if i'm going to clean your house, i'm going to clean it the best way i know how. so to young people, i say to you, whether you're getting compensated or not, if you make a decision to do something, give it the best you know how. and the rest will follow. [ applause ] >> you have to top them all. >> i agree with everything that has been said. but i have to say, you said that we are strong women, and i have never identified myself as a strong woman. so i started to think, what is a strength? and if you would pose the question how come i am here, and
then what is my piece of advice, it would be, be true to yourself. do what you are passionate about. and thirdly, i'm a big believer in supporting others, friends, networks, and offer your support to others. so i think that's what i would say. >> i want to thank this panel for sharing your perspectives, but also your lives and hearts. thanks to all of you. [ applause ] >> thank you for coming. please come to our next event. do we have a date, beth? it's coming up soon. not yet. thank you for coming. [ applause ]
c-span's washington journal, live, every day, with news and policy issues that impact you. coming up wednesday morning, democratic congressman bobby scott of virginia and congressman jason lewis of minnesota. with north carolina attorney general josh stein will be our guest aboard the bus. be sure to watch c-span's "washington journal" live at 7:00 eastern wednesday morning. and join us on friday and saturday as we look back to the one-year anniversaries of president trump's inauguration, and the women's march on washington.