How USOW Galvanized Me to Action

In June of 2016, JWI had an opportunity to be a part of the first United State of Women Summit in Washington, DC, which brought together thousands of people to discuss gender issues facing women today. This May, the event came to Los Angeles, and members of JWI and our Young Women's Leadership Network were again inspired by incredible speakers, and made valuable connections. 

By Ariela Cohen

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As a member of JWI’s Young Women’s Leadership Network I was fortunate to be able to attend The United State of Women (USOW) Summit that took place on May 5-6 in Los Angeles. The passion and commitment of the women I encountered galvanized me. I’m now ready to roll up my sleeves and get involved. I know there’s hard work ahead if we’re going to break down barriers to equality and improve the state of all women in the United States—and abroad.

The speakers were incredibly inspiring and spanned the generations of feminism. They included actress Jane Fonda, former First Lady Michelle Obama, Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA), #MeToo Movement Founder Tarana Burke and many others who shared their reflections on where we are today and what we must do to achieve progress.

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One of the breakout sessions I attended was on investing in women. With my background and interest in impact investing, this session helped me to better understand what opportunities exist to promote women’s endeavors by allocating private capital. If we can help women grow their assets, we will help balance the power dynamic across the world.

I saw firsthand how important it is for us to meet with diverse groups in order to have effective dialogues about the intersectionality of issues facing women today. It was also really illuminating for me to see how various social issues relate to women’s issues. Of course, important topics that one might anticipate such as ending sexual harassment and abuse were addressed. (The presentation by the USA Gymnasts was particularly powerful for me, considering what their members have gone through!) But what also struck me was how such issues as gun control, immigration, and prison and prisoner treatment reform are related to problems that are central to being a woman in the United States.

I left the conference very excited to implement some of the calls to action, especially through the great initiatives of JWI, a USOW partner organization. Let’s get to work!

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Ariela (Ari) Cohen is a finance professional with a focus in impact investing. She currently works with TriLinc Global, a private investment company that invests capital in small and mid-sized businesses in developing economies globally through a series of impact-focused investment funds. Prior to this role, she was based in New York with experiences at The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) and J.P. Morgan. Ari graduated summa cum laude with a BA in Philosophy, Politics, Economics (PPE) from the University of Pennsylvania. Ari grew up in Los Angeles as the daughter of Argentinean-Israelis and the youngest of four. Her favorite activities outside of work include exploring the outdoors, singing, biking at the beach, and spending quality time with friends and family.