Melissa Bradley Talks Gender Equity at the Aspen Ideas Festival

Melissa L. Bradley at the Aspen Ideas Festival 2011, ©Brett Wilhelm/Rich Clarkson and Associates, LLCAs part of Tides’ 2011 focus on Gender Equity, CEO Melissa Bradley recently spoke at the Aspen Ideas Festival on a panel entitled Women on the Rise: Why Invest in America's Women? The panel focused on women’s roles in the economy and workforce, and how changes in policy and culture are needed to improve the lives of diverse women and their families. Also on the panel were Anne Mosle, executive director of Ascend; Joan Dempsey, senior vice president at Booz Allen Hamilton; David Leonhardt, economics columnist at the New York Times; and it was moderated by Michelle Martin, host of NPR’s Tell Me More.

The panelists addressed a range of questions from both Martin and the audience, and Melissa herself discussed topics ranging from Title IX to female CEOs, capital investment in women-led initiatives, welfare reform, pay disparities, and innovative workplace solutions and systems of care. Here’s a brief snippet of one of Melissa’s remarks, addressing questions of mainstreaming the conversation and how to get beyond what one audience member described as the “weariness” of the women’s movement:

I give my props to the women’s movement, I also give my props to the civil rights movement, and then I know there need to be another movement, there needs to be the people's movement... Part of the problem is that we have to move away from these silos, because if success is achieved by a few, then that’s not where I think we need to be… Movements, they start, they end. So does the funding, so does the momentum, so does the policy. And then we go on to something else and we’re often recreating and restarting. And so to me it’s embarrassing that we’re still having all these “firsts” because we have allowed ourselves to be segregated—divide and conquer—as opposed to saying, “what are the ultimate goals we want for America, and how do we achieve those together?”

> Listen to audio from the panel here and learn more about the Aspen Ideas Festival.

Image ©Brett Wilhelm/Rich Clarkson and Associates, LLC; used with permission.