This year’s Women of the World Conference (WoW) took feminism to a whole new level. From June 11 to 14, artists and industry VIPs including Elle Varner, Macy Gray, Iyanla Vanzant and Michelle Williams took to the acclaimed Apollo stage and City College to serve up greatness through panel discussions and performances.
Street harassment, men’s role in gender equality, domestic abuse and discussion titles like “Orange is the New Black and Brown” also claimed the ticketed event’s hottest topics. Conference-goers even got a taste from 10 of the best global female chefs with WoW Bites, a series of luncheons and fine cuisine from all corners of the world for the ultimate girls’ day out treat.
VIBE Vixen gathered the gems for the taking from the four-day affair below.
1. “You matter just as you are. Until you know that, you will continue to hold on to things and to people that mean you no good.”—Iyanla Vanzant
Host of the Oprah Winfrey Network’s hit series Iyanla: Fix My Life, inspirational speaker and life coach, Iyanla Vanzant, kicked off a night to remember at the Apollo. The 61-year-old strutted and two-stepped her way up and down the aisles to Kelly Price’s “It’s My Time” in an all-white ensemble before taking to the stage. Her message of women empowerment was simple: “You matter.”
She challenged the women of the WoW Conference not only to recognize the magnitude of their existence, but also to be selfish with the seats at their table of life. Evoking a sea of “YASSSSS!”-es, Iyanla spilled the tea on self-loyalty and the importance of separation for elevation.
2. As of 2011, 20.9 million women, men, and children are human trafficked for commercial sex or forced labor globally.
In the “Taken for Real” segment, three ladies with backgrounds in human rights shed light on the taboo topic of human exploitation through sex work and labor with this shocking statistic.