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International Women PeaceMakers and San Diego Entrepreneurs Speak About Why Women Need to Have a Seat at the Table

Tuesday, December 18, 2018TOPICS: ChangemakerWomen Peacemakers

On November 8, 2018, 150 remarkable women Changemakers gathered for Women for Social Impact’s (WSI) second experience of the year, “A World of Change: What Happens When Women Have a Seat at the Table”. This experience featured the Kroc Institute for Peace and Justice’s 2018 Women PeaceMakers fellows, along with a San Diego entrepreneur, Gayle Tauber. In a fun “superpower”-themed evening, we discussed which heroines have influenced our lives, and what superpowers we each have that can help us gain a seat at the table. The Women PeaceMakers shared with us what “having a seat at the table” means in their home countries, and what it can mean for us here at USD. We gained insights on the value of having women involved in decision-making and negotiations, and how to ensure more women are sitting at the table in education, corporations, government, and civil society.

The moderator for the evening, Tara Salinas from the USD School of Business, asked our first two speakers, Rosa Emilia Salamanca of Colombia and Amira Abdulrahman Hussein Timan of Sudan, about their experiences being involved in decision-making in their own peacebuilding experiences. Salamanca was involved in negotiating Colombia’s recent peace agreement, known globally as one of the most gender-inclusive peace agreements in history. Timan shared insights gained during her experience working with the UN/AU Peacekeeping mission in Darfur (UNAMID). It was an eye-opening conversation on the positive impact their female presence had in those situations, and how women can take action to make their voices heard.

Our next two speakers were Gayle Tauber of San Diego and Mariam Yazdani of Pakistan. Tauber is a highly successful entrepreneur and the founder of Kashi, a health food company, and Yazdani works with
Viva Rio, a Brazilian NGO working in and with impoverished communities in countries experiencing violence. Both women spoke to us about the process of empowering ourselves in today’s society, and how to ensure we are not being passive in creating our career paths and futures.

Attendees then broke into groups, and with our Kroc School student facilitators, discussed what our individual “superpowers” are. We reflected on what we, as women, are good at, and how we can utilize those strengths to get a seat at the table and ensure our voices are heard. In an interactive activity, we created bold and colorful representations of our superpowers, and hung them up for all to see. Often the specific skills and qualities women bring to the table are undervalued or overlooked (sometimes even by ourselves), and this was an inspiring and empowering evening of realizing and honoring those skills.

Ready to use your superpowers to make a positive social impact? Learn more about WSI


Justin Prugh
(619) 260-7573

Joan B. Kroc School of Peace Studies


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