Movie Screening AND Panel Discussion, This Changes Everything

In the follow-up to his documentary Casting By, Tom Donahue explores the insidious and systemic sexism in Hollywood through the voices of actors, including Geena Davis, Meryl Streep, Sandra Oh, Jessica Chastain, and many other ambassadors of the #TimesUp movement.

Introduction: Frances Tan, HKS
Moderator: Cecily Tyler, Research Fellow, Ash Centre for Democratic Governance and Innovation

  • Director Tom Donahue

  • Producer IIan Arboleda

  • Executive Producer Ku-Ling Yurman

  • Director/Activist Maria Giese

Keynote Opening Remarks

The Women in Power Conference begins with reflections on achieving gender equality and ending discrimination against women by a leading women’s rights activist and international development pioneer. Winnie Byanyima, executive director of Oxfam International, will bust big myths about the global economy and expose the hidden and visible barriers for women and girls — especially those who live in poverty — that deny them opportunities. Echoing women worldwide who are leaders on the frontlines of change, Ms. Byanyima will discuss how we can build a fairer, more feminist, human economy.

Speaker: Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of Oxfam International

Young Female Leadership: The Next Generation’s Journey to Power

Girls have the power to transform themselves, their communities and the world. This panel explores the importance of nurturing self-confidence and 21st century skills for girls, and the pathways to empowering the next generation’s access to power. It will specifically draw attention to education, training and supportive environments necessary to invest in young female leaders today.

Moderator: Vandinika Shukla, Conference Co-Chair

  • Heather Barnabe, CEO, Girls20

  • Jess Teutonico, Executive Director of We Are Family Foundation

  • Hanna Birna Kristjansdottir, Senior Advisor on Women´s Leadership, UN Women

The Future of Women in the Republican Party

Despite the characterization of 2018 as “Year of the Woman,” the number of Republican women serving in Congress is at a 25-year low. If we are ever to reach gender parity in the United States, women need to be elected on both sides of the aisle. What’s happening to women in the Republican party during the Trump administration? And where do we go from here?

Moderator: Amanda Patarino, Conference Co-Chair

  • Kodiak Hill-Davis, Policy Director, Republican Women for Progress

  • Libby Wuller, Lead Right PAC and Quorum

Women’s Empowerment Through Sexuality

Studies have shown a significant “pleasure gap” in matters of sex. This panel explores the ways that Alexandra Fine’s female-driven team is working to change this by creating thoughtfully designed toys for all kinds of couples. We’ll discuss why it’s important for women to take ownership of their sexuality and the implications for public health as well as what it means to be a woman in the male-dominated space of sextech.

Moderator: Kathleen Addison, MPP Student at HKS

  • Alexandra Fine, Co-Founder and CEO of Dame Products

  • Bryn Austin, Professor, Department of Social and Behavioral Sciences, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health


Mayor Michelle De La Isla will speak to the ways she has cultivated intersectional leadership as daily practice. Mayor De La Isla made history as the first Latina, first single mother, and second female to serve as mayor of Topeka. She critically examines her social location as a means to build cross-cutting coalitions and advocate for her family, communities, and city. In the spirit of this weekend, Mayor De La Isla invites the audience to challenge our preconceived notions of “Women in Power” and build intersectional modes of feminist leadership for the twenty-first century.

Moderator: Lynsey Heffernan, MC/MPA Student at HKS

  • Michelle De La Isla, Mayor, Topeka, Kansas

Supported by the Taubman Center for State and Local Government

Women in Power: Rise. Challenge. Thrive., explores the tensions and opportunities women around the world face in pursuing seats at multiple tables. The goal of this panel is to tease apart the different experiences and goals women have based on their identity and experiences from race, income, occupation, family status, immigration status, sexual orientation, to relationship with people in positions of power and beyond. Discussing what feminism means to a diverse group of women and understanding how this intersects and diverges will be essential to building solidarity across our multiple feminisms.

Moderator: Koa Beck, former editor-in-chief of Jezebel and the co-host of “The #MeToo Memos” on WNYC’s The Takeaway, current Shorenstein Fellow at the Kennedy School

  • June Eric-Udorie, editor of Can We All Be Feminists? + student at Duke University

  • Palak Shah, Founding Director of NDWA Labs and Social Innovations Director, National Domestic Workers Alliance

  • Ruby Corado, Founding and Executive Director of Casa Ruby, a bilingual, multicultural LGBT organization in Washington, D.C.

  • Zoe Marks, Lecturer in Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School

(Re)Defining Feminism for the 21st Century

Gender-Based Violence on University Campuses

This panel focuses on the prevention and support of survivors of gender-based violence on the university campus. We will be discussing ways to support survivors through mental health services and on-campus Title IX Coordinators. The panel will focus not only on experiences of survivors but also provide resources and actions steps on prevention and support of survivors of gender-based violence on campus.

Moderator: Charlene Wang, HKS Interim President Co-Chair of Gender-Based Violence Prevention & Outreach Committee, MPP Student at HKS

  • Christine Vu, Associate Division Director at Boston Public Health Commission

  • Evelyn Nam, Founder of Powerful Women Network and GVBPO

  • Nina Harris, Education Specialist at the Harvard Office of Sexual Assault Prevention and Response

New Political Narratives

This panel examines the work of women who cultivate practices of intersectional leadership throughout their daily experiences, all on their terms. This space is situated in a distinctly (U.S.) Southern context. 2019 marks 400 years since when enslaved Africans first arrived (on record) to US shores. Though a monumental juncture in US history, global media headlines continue to amplify the racism and misogyny from Southern political figures, particularly from places like Richmond, Virginia, the former capital of the Confederacy. This conversation engages with both established and emerging leaders from the region, fully dedicated to dismantling systems of patriarchal power. The conversation should offer insight into how stakeholders may leverage their own positionalities to center the work of those narrating new visions of intersectional movement-building.

Moderator: Akshaya Kannan, MPP Student at HKS

  • Aisha Moodie-Mills, IOP fellow, President & CEO of the LGBTQ Victory Fund and Institute

  • Chelsea Higgs Wise, Initiatives of Change, USA Narrative Change Officer of Richmond, Virginia's Truth, Racial Healing & Transformation team

  • Delegate Lashrecse Aird, Member of the Virginia House of Delegates

  • Mariah Parker, Commissioner for District 2, Athens-Clarke County, Georgia

  • Omilade Janine Bell, President and Artistic Director, Elegba Folklore Society

Keynote Fireside Chat

“How Do We Make Gender Equality Happen?”

Gender diversity isn’t just the right thing to do; it’s the smart thing. But unconscious bias holds us back, and debiasing people’s minds has proven to be difficult and expensive. This conversation will explore ways we can translate our ideas into action through smart changes with big impacts-often at low cost and high speed. This interactive conversation will explore what we can do to create more inclusive environments, level the playing field and help diverse settings at the workplace, universities, and schools succeed.

Moderator: Vandinika Shukla, Conference Co-Chair

  • Iris Bohnet, Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government and Co-Director, Women and Public Policy Program

  • Nancy Gibbs, visiting Edward R. Murrow Professor of Practice of Press, Politics and Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

Agents for Change: Debiasing Classrooms to Bridge Gender Gaps at Harvard and Beyond

To close the gender gap, we need individuals across the spectrum to make changes. This panel will discuss how professors and faculty across the Harvard Kennedy School are being intentional about addressing gender bias, promoting equality in classrooms, and working to create a more inclusive community at the Harvard Kennedy School and beyond.

Moderator: TBA

  • Erica Chenoweth, Ph.D., Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

  • Eric Rosenbach, Co-Director of the Belfer Center, Harvard Kennedy School

  • Teddy Svoronos, Lecturer in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

  • Yohannes Abraham, Adjunct Lecturer in Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School

in conversation: Women Shaping Foreign Policy

This intimate discussion with Dr. Elizabeth Sherwood- Randall will focus on her career path and current work as a senior leader in foreign affairs and energy policy. Panelists will discuss recent trends in U.S. foreign policy, including international energy policy, national security, and trade policy.

Moderator: Diana Barnes and Caitlin Keliher, MPP Students at HKS

  • Elizabeth Sherwood Randall, non-resident Senior Fellow at Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs; former Deputy Secretary of Energy

Gender Inclusion in International Development

This session will explore the lived experiences of women in international development to understand the intersections of their multifaceted identities and the challenges and opportunities they face within these spaces. Panelists will discuss strategies and initiatives to promote gender equality and the empowerment of women within development.

Moderator: Janina Matuszeski, Lecturer in Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

  • Arlene Graham, Founder and CEO of Caribbean Returning Nationals Foundation (CRN) and Global Idea Synergy

  • Jennifer Musisi, City Leader in Residence, Bloomberg Harvard City Leadership Initiative

  • Lucia Diaz-Martin, Policy Manager, J-PAL Global

  • Melissa Fleming, Head of Communications and Chief Spokesperson for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

Female Entrepreneurship and Gender-Lens Investing

Gender-Lens Investing (GLI) has emerged as one of the fastest-growing areas of impact investing over the past decade. By supporting companies that empower women, investors seek to turn finance into a tool for social transformation. Yet the trade-off between immediate financial return and the long-term goal of gender equality is acute, and feminists fear “pink-washing” of initiatives that fail to challenge inequality at a systematic level. Panelists will address the challenges of GLI today and its prospects for the future economy.

Moderator: Maria Emilia Correa, Sistema B

  • Geeta Aiyer, President & Founder, Boston Common Asset Management

  • Julianne Zimmerman, Managing Director, Reinventure Capital

  • Katie Neave, Senior Impact and Partnerships Manager and Lead of Women in Agriculture Initiative at Root Capital

  • Mara Bolis, Oxfam America

Women in Technology and Gender Data Gaps

On any given day, the world produces 2.5 quadrillion bytes of data. But data on gender equality is still frustratingly hard to come by. The “gender data gap” makes it difficult to create effective policies and gauge the progress of programs and services designed to empower women. Today, women and girls continue to be systematically underrepresented as users and leaders in the tech industry. The tech gender gap produces major disparities in economic opportunity, reproduces biases in new technology, and impoverishes the talent pool for innovation. This panel explores solutions for more meaningful representation of female leaders in technology and the way forward for debiasing innovation and the tech industry. This conversation will also draw a spotlight on bridging gender data gaps.

Moderator: Vanessa Rhinesmith, Associate Director, Digital HKS

  • Heather Krause, CEO Datassist, PStat, Data Science for the Non-profit World  

  • Ali Mortell, Campaign Team Manager, Political Analyst, Blue Labs: Analytics, Data, Technology

  • Kathy Pham, senior fellow and adjunct lecturer, digital HKS; former founding team member United States Digital Service

  • Anisha Asunada, Research Fellow, Gender Specialist, Women in Public Policy Program, HKS

Gender and Changing Climate: Challenges and Opportunities

Our climate is changing and humanity is responsible. Women are leading the charge around the world to stand up for our planet, for communities vulnerable to climate change, and for the changes we need to make in our economies and cultures to fight and respond to this crisis. This panel brings women of diverse experience working in the energy and climate space to discuss how they have thrived in their careers, and how to lead the change we need to ensure all women thrive amid changing climate.

Moderator: Laura Tabor, MC/MPA Student at HKS

  • Gina McCarthy, Director of the Center for Climate, Health, and the Global Environment, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health

  • Halla Logadottir, Co-Founder and Co-Director of the Arctic Initiative at the Harvard Kennedy School

  • Bridget Burns, Executive Director WEDO

keynote closing remarks: madame gandhi

“Own Your Voice: Music as a Source of Personal Liberation”

Speaker: Madame Gandhi, Artist/Activist, Former drummer for M.I.A., Free-bleeding runner at the 2015 London Marathon, Forbes Music 30 Under 30


The Arts have forever been more than ink on canvas or movement on stage. They have revised historical narratives, confronted the construction of gender roles, explored the intersectionality of race and gender and called for structural change. Rather than being confined by words, political art often transcends the barrier of language. As we explore the importance of performing arts in amplifying the movement for gender equality, we conclude the Conference with music, poetry and art that elevate and celebrate the female voice.


  • Diksha Bijlani, MPP Student at HKS

  • Tanya Gupta, CEO, Here There Everywhere introducing Artwork

Reception supported by Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation



This interactive workshop will help participants increase their negotiating effectiveness whether negotiating a large multi-stakeholder deal or overcoming conflict with a partner or friend. Research has shown that women find fewer situations negotiable, set lower targets than their male counterparts, and significantly increase their negotiating outcomes when negotiating on behalf of others. Through this interactive workshop, you will have the opportunity to diagnose your own approach to conflict and practice the foundational skills of interest-based negotiation.

Facilitator: Monica Giannone, Harvard Kennedy School Negotiation Project

Note: This workshop is not recommended if you have taken a negotiation course

The Arts of Communication

Public speaking is not just about giving a speech; it’s about exercising leadership with your voice, using your voice to speak up on behalf of yourself or others. Whether pitching for funding, interviewing for your next job, or simply speaking up in class, your words matter. In this interactive session, you’ll learn techniques that will transform the way you communicate every single day. You’ll leave the session with the confidence and the skills to use your voice to have a powerful and positive impact on the world.

Facilitator: Allison Shapira, Harvard Kennedy School Communications Program

Public Narrative

This interactive and reflective workshop introduces participants to Public Narrative, the leadership practice of translating values into action, and the craft of telling our Story of Self. Stories not only teach us how to act – they inspire us to act. Stories communicate our values through the language of the heart, our emotions. And it is what we feel – our hopes, our cares, our obligations – not simply what we know that can inspire us with the courage to act.

Facilitator: Tanvi Girotra, Public Narrative Coach

Allyship through Anti-Oppression

The workshop will challenge conceptions of inequity and reframe the task of achieving equity and racial equity. Participants will explore individual roles and team roles in dismantling inequity in their own communities.