100 Women: Half the World Speaks

This, Friday 25th October, the BBC are hosting their first 100 Women event at New Broadcasting House in London. 100 women from around the world have been selected and invited to come together for a day of discussion, review and thinking. The event marks the end of the 100 Women season, which has been running across the BBC’s international News Services; BBC World Service radio, BBC World News television and BBC.com.

The BBC’s 100 Women season is a special month of reports in October on the BBC’s global news services on TV, Radio and online, which will seek to shine a light on life for women in the 21st century and the risks, challenges and opportunities they face around the world.

The women are a mixture of female trail-blazers – high-profile women in all spheres of life from politics and economics to culture and sport, with grassroots campaigners and women whose voices are usually silenced. Together they represent a world of women – the progress and the remaining pain. This grouping will enable rich and realistic discussion about the changes that women are striving for and the opportunities they are taking around the world.

The current list of 100 Women who have been invited to take part on Friday includes many familiar names, and a great many more I was unaware of until now. Politicians, lawyers, teachers, journalists, activists, religious leaders, and business leaders who all have something important to contribute to the discussions. The names which stood out to me included:

  • Anna Arrowsmith – Porn director and active member of Feminists Against Censorship
  • Kanya King – CEO and Founder of Mobo
  • Paris Lees – Transgender broadcaster
  • Shazia Mirza – British comedian
  • Brooke Magnanti – US anthropologist, author, former sex worker
  • Claudia Paz y Paz – Attorney General of Guatemala
  • Susie Orbach – Psychotherapist
  • Justine Roberts – Founder of Mumsnet

The conference will be hosted by the BBC’s Shaimaa Khalil and Rupa Jha, and the event will be streamed live throughout the day across the BBC’s Global News channels. The schedule for the day includes: Women Have Your Say (some of the main news stories of the day are debated); The Big Ideas (an invited group of women share their ideas on practical steps to improve the future for women); Is motherhood a barrier to equality?; and Can you be a follower of one of the main religions and still be a feminist?

For more information on the 100 Women season visit bbc.co.uk/100women or on Twitter: #100women

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