WASHINGTON, D.C. (CBS) — The White House convened the nation’s first Summit on Women. The three-day conference brought together 5,000 women and men from across the country.
The United State of Women brought together advocates, leaders and influential women and men in fields ranging from women’s sports, health, media, business and more. The goal was to celebrate women’s rights while rallying women to push to the next phase to achieve true gender equality.
“Our country is not just about the Benjamin’s it’s about the Tubman’s too,” President Barack Obama told the crowd in attendance.
But the Commander-in-Chief was just one of the scores of power brokers who gave speeches, sat on panels or were interviewed on stage at the conference. The list includes Gloria Steinem, Warren Buffet, Kerry Washington, Loretta Lynch, Oprah Winfrey and Michelle Obama.
“Our first job in life, I think, as women is to get to know ourselves,” Michelle Obama told Winfrey in a live interview. “A lot of times we don’t do that– we spend our time pleasing, looking out into the world defining who we are.”
Jazmine A. Smith was nominated as a White House “Changemaker” for her non-profit Eyekonz Sports, a lacrosse and field hockey league for girls of color in Philadelphia.
“All these women collaborating together for one aspect and unity, it was amazing,” she says.
“We are a force to be reckoned with,” says Tracey Welson-Rossman, founder of TechGirlz, a Philadelphia-based group that encourages more girls to get involved in STEM fields. “More work needs to be done, but this is a definitely a shot over the bow.”
Shymara Jones, an activist with Fight for $15, has been working in Philadelphia to increased the minimum wage. She introduced White House Senior Advisor Valerie Jarrett during the conference and says being on stage was empowering.
“It was amazing,” she says, “having so many women around me who believe the same thing I do– it was wonderful.”
Other Philadelphia attendees, included Cheryl Wadlington of Evoluer House and Patrice Banks of the Girls AutoClinic.