November 8, 2010 — Vol. 26 No. 38
Idaho State University's Cynthia Pemberton, associate dean of the ISU Graduate School, was among the 116 women leaders from all 50 states who attended the Vision 2020 national convention in Philadelphia this fall to begin a decade-long initiative to advance women's equality and leadership.
"What an incredible experience to meet and network with such a talented group of women leaders," Pemberton said. "I was and am, honored, excited and eager to join them in helping to realize the vision embodied in the Declaration of Equality."
Following three days of discussions and debate in Philadelphia, the Vision 2020 delegates generated hundreds of ideas to advance women's leadership and achieve equality by the year 2020.
"Vision 2020 and its delegates are now off and running united by one goal," said Lynn Yeakel, co-chair of Vision 2020, a national initiative of the Institute for Women's Health and Leadership at Drexel University College of Medicine.
Equality is a measure of our democracy. Yet women, who make up 51 percent of the population, represent only 18 percent of top leaders in the United States, according to Vision 2020 organizers. The Vision 2020 national delegates from all 50 states are committed to giving more women a voice in government, media, education, and business.
Following the model of the Continental Congress, these delegates gathered in Philadelphia in late October. There, just two blocks from where 56 men signed the Declaration of Independence 234 years ago, these 116 women signed the Declaration of Equality. They pledged to return to their home states and work to realize the goal of greater women's leadership. Kathleen Hall Jamieson, director of the Annenberg Public Policy Center at the University of Pennsylvania, presided over the signing at the National Constitution Center.
The women leaders from across the United States will be creating action projects and breaking down barriers to leadership in their home states. They will gather again in 2011 to share ideas and successes in their advocacy.
"Like any movement, Vision 2020 will not be neat and it won't be tidy," Vision 2020 co-chair Rosemarie B. Greco said when addressing the delegates. "But it will change the way women see themselves and the way the world sees them."
The National and Visionary Delegates will serve for the next three years. There are two National Delegates from each of the 50 states, plus Washington, D.C. Visionary Delegates are women with national influence. For more information, visit www.drexel.edu/vision2020.