Welcome by Jean Shinoda Bolen, M.D.
I went to the Women Economic Forum (WEF) 2018 in New Delhi and brought 1500 large round blue buttons with 5WCW in white and India 2022 in orange. Winter Safranoff, Susan Baily Harnden and I put them in the center of the round tables in the plenary hall and in the break out session rooms, and replenished them as women picked them up and took them. They fit in the palm of the hand, the message was read, and the buttons were kept—maybe they had some mojo or fairy dust . I also gave them away, and invariably, after holding and reading it, women would say, “I’m going to go to this!” At this point, it is a seed idea that is responded to as if it is a reality. This is something I too, am feeling-- once "India 2022" was envisioned and added to the blue button, I found myself shifting from “needs to happen,” to “it will happen."
The 2022 date had been suggested by Harbeen Arora and Vinay Rai, whose vision and energy created Women Economic Forum in India which has led to conferences in Europe, North and South America, Africa and Australia. While I was in Delhi, thanks to Pam Rajput and Ruchira Gupta, I met women who were making a difference in the lives of women and girls (India has more NGOs than any country in the world). If this truly is an idea whose time has come, it will happen. At the same time that I have become sure about this I stopped counting on the United Nations to bring it about. Components of the UN such as UNICEF, UN Women, would be a UN presence, without it going through the General Assembly’s three year requirements and behind the scenes lobbying efforts to block it as was done in 2012 after the Secretary General and President of the General Assembly asked that a resolution be passed.
It made sense to me to bring together leaders of NGOs concerned with women and girls after being at the annual WEF conference in New Delhi. I found that women business and NGO leaders have a lot of qualities in common. It takes commitment, hard work, attention to funds and to people to succeed at either. Women who work with women share the Artemis archetype of sisterhood and goal-focus. For WEF women, once their businesses are established, connection to NGOs will provide another level of meaning. With this in mind, I emailed Harbeen and Vinay about the similarities and urged that the WEF-India 2022 vision include NGO leaders: their response: “total agreement.”