Madeleine Albright: Ukraine is a ‘basket case’

Madeleine Albright: Ukraine is a ‘basket case’

At Women in the World’s first event in Washington D.C., an impressive group of female powerhouses convened to discuss the ongoing crisis in the Ukraine, challenges facing women and girls around the world, and how to improve the lives of children in the capital’s own backward. Read a full recap by Eleanor Clift on The Daily Beast and read highlights below:

Former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright, on the future of the Ukraine:
“A lot depends on Europeans. I have tried to analyze all this in three venues. One is the Ukraine itself—it used to be the breadbasket of the region, now it’s the basket case. It has very rich soil, smart, hardworking people, and the question is how you deal with this crisis….When we were in office, we were waiting for the Europeans to do something about Bosnia, and things that are in Europe you think Europeans would take care of. The bottom line is how to get the EU involved and give economic support….the Europeans have a responsibility here, along with the U.S., in how we get [the Ukraine] back on their feet.”

Obama senior adviser Valerie Jarrettpreviewing this summer’s upcoming White House Summit on Working Families:
“As more and more women enter the workforce we have to change the paradigm on what working is like. We will pull together a diverse group of academics, business owners, leaders, and entrepreneurs and let’s challenge ourselves to really look within ourselves and ask, how can we make this better? Changing how we view the workplace will be good not just for our families but for our society. Let’s make sure that we do it together. Let’s make sure that our voices are heard. And just remember, this is going to be a year of action.”

Activist Humaira Bachal, on working to build schools in Pakistan for women and girls: “Education is the most powerful thing which we can use to change the world. Education is the most powerful weapon we can use against intolerance and extremism.”

Oscar-winning director Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, regarding the grassroots organizations taking place across the country: “In Pakistan, you are finding people like Humaira who are risking their lives every day to bring change to their communities. They are doing it because they believe strongly that they want a better tomorrow for their generation. In the 24-hour news cycle that we have, there is a lot of fatigue about Pakistan. Beyond the headlines, there are percolations across the country. That should be talked about. I think Pakistan’s greatest assets are its women.”

Catherine Russell, ambassador-at-large for Global Women’s Issues, on the responsibilities in her portfolio:
“We’re making some tough choices and identified three priorities: one is dealing with implementing a strategy on gender-based violence, and that also includes women in conflict, and the White House already has strategies in place regarding this. Another priority is women economic empowerment and supporting women entrepreneurs. The third priority is a little bit of a new one, which is a focus on adolescent girls. We’re trying to hone in on the certain age group of girls where things can go awry and focus on children marriage and girls’ education. We want to keep girls in school, it’s a priority for this administration, the president, and first lady.”

D.C. Greens cofounder Lauren Shweder Biel, on the lack of access to fresh food and how children are living: “The things that you see them eating are a lot of processed foods, nothing that’s going to give them any kind of nutritional value. This is a process. You’re talking about two generations of lost food knowledge. A coordinator from D.C. Greens just today was doing a cooking demonstration with seventh graders, and a lot of them had never cracked an egg before. We’re moving further and further away from knowing where our food comes from. When they can see that you plant a seed and food grows—it’s amazing! And kids are much more likely to try it and like it.”

Toyota and Women in the World honored Lauren Shweder Biel as a Mother of Invention. Find out about other Mothers of Invention honorees.

Watch the full event: