Like anyone who’s just turned 30, the International Women’s Health Coalition has done a lot of thinking and reflecting about the past three decades. We had a fabulous birthday party in June, but on September 9, 2014, we gathered nearly 300 of our closest friends and supporters for an event that looked back and looked forward to the next 30 years.
Our headlining guest, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, riveted the audience for an hour-long dinner discussion with IWHC President Françoise Girard and IWHC board member Aryeh Neier, who recognized Ginsburg’s talents back in 1971 when he enlisted her to start the Women’s Rights Project at the ACLU.
Ginsburg discussed her litigation work to advance women’s rights—including a story about the Vietnam-era reproductive rights “dream case” that never made it to the Supreme Court—how she thinks Roe v. Wade should have been decided differently, why she dissented in Hobby Lobby and how the disastrous majority decision may have a silver lining. (Read more about Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s dinner conversation remarks.)
Earlier that day, Erin Burnett, host of CNN’s “Erin Burnett OutFront,” moderated a panel discussion with three outstanding IWHC partners: Sheena Hadi, director of Aahung, based in Karachi, Pakistan; Fadekemi Akinfaderin, co-founder and executive director of Education as a Vaccine (EVA), one of Nigeria’s leading nonprofit organizations; and Yvette Kathurima, head of advocacy of FEMNET, the African Women’s Development and Communication Network, a pan-African network of civil society organizations based in Nairobi, Kenya. The wide-ranging panel covered numerous issues, including the challenges of working within different religious and cultural contexts in their countries, the state of the feminist movement, and demanding accountability from their governments. (Read more about the panel discussion.)
Following dinner, the lights dimmed, and guests screened a five-minute video that features some of IWHC’s past and current partners and celebrates IWHC’s leadership advocating for women’s and girls’ rights around the world.
As the video wrapped up, servers entered the room carrying three-tiered trays laden with chocolate and vanilla cupcakes decorated with IWHC-pink frosting. The evening closed with IWHC Board Chair Marlene Hess and Girard leading a champagne toast to IWHC’s next 30 years.
See more photos from the event: