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:
CNN's Erin Burnett (far right) moderated a panel discussion with IWHC partners (from left to right): Fadekemi Akinfaderin of Education as a Vaccine (EVA); Yvette Kathurima of FEMNET; and Sheena Hadi of Aahung. (Photo: ©Sean Sime)
Fadekemi Akinfaderin, Executive Director of Education as a Vaccine. (Photo: ©Sean Sime)
From left to right: former IWHC board chair Ellen Chesler, current IWHC board chair Marlene Hess, Justice Ginsburg, and former IWHC board chair Kati Marton. (Photo: ©Sean Sime)
Aryeh Neier, Justice Ginsburg, and IWHC President Françoise Girard at the evening's panel discussion. (Photo: ©Sean Sime)
Ben Feder of ZelnickMedia (left) with IWHC board members Sisonke Msimang and Alex Farman-Farmaian. (Photo: ©Sean Sime)
Sheena Hadi, Director of Aahung, during the panel discussion. (Photo: ©Sean Sime)
Three of IWHC's partners in Nigeria, from left to right: Fadekemi Akinfaderin (Education as a Vaccine), Ndodeye Ofem Bassey (Girls' Power Initiative), and Adenike Esiet (Action Health Inc.). (Photo: ©Sean Sime)
Erin Panichkul (left) and Brigitte Amiri of Law Students for Reproductive Justice. (Photo: ©Sean Sime)
Sarah FitzGerald, founder of Sacred Valley Health, with IWHC board member Stuart Burden. (Photo: Owen Hoffmann/PatrickMcMullan.com)
Janus Adams of Janus Adams LLC, with IWHC board member Marnie Pillsbury. (Photo: ©Sean Sime)
Cynthia Eyakuze, Director of the Women's Right Program at Open Society Foundations, asks Justice Ginsburg a question. (Photo: ©Sean Sime)
Annie Bakke Jensen and Ambassador Ib Petersen, Permanent Representative of Denmark to the United Nations. (Photo: Owen Hoffmann/PatrickMcMullan.com)
From left to right: Kirtna Pai, Kelli Payne of Planned Parenthood, and Ayo Roach of the David Rockefeller Fund. (Photo: Owen Hoffmann/PatrickMcMullan.com)
Dinner followed the discussion with Justice Ginsburg. (Photo: ©Sean Sime)
IWHC staff with guests. (Photo: Owen Hoffmann/PatrickMcMullan.com)
Lindsey Boylan of McKinsey & Company with panelist Fadekemi Akinfaderin and David Donat Cattin, Secretary General at Parliamentarians for Global Action. (Photo: Owen Hoffmann/PatrickMcMullan.com)
Guests toasted IWHC's 30th anniversary with pink-frosted cupcakes and Champagne. (Photo: ©Sean Sime)