By Anita Oh
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — On Thursday, Philadelphia hosted the 13th Annual Pennsylvania Conference for Women, a professional and personal development event.
Notable speakers included Wharton Professor Adam Grant, Civil Rights Pioneer Anita Hill and soccer star Abby Wambach. “Feminism is not about women taking over the world, although that would be fun,” Wambach said.
After hanging up her Team USA soccer jersey, Wambach wants to level the playing field for other women. Addressing more than 9,000 attendees, Wambach touched upon equal rights, the election and equal pay.
“Until we have not just a seat at the table, but a respected seat at the table, an equal paid seat at the table, then we are not being treated as equals. We’re being treated as a stepchild or the little sister and for me that’s just not good enough,” Wambach said.
Actress Mindy Kaling also took the stage, speaking about her experience as an Indian woman in an entertainment world she says has long been dominated by Caucasian men.
The event inspired many, including two Philadelphia sisters, who pitched their Tahini company, Soom foods, to a panel of QVC experts with the hopes the product will be sold on-air. “I think it really puts Philadelphia on the map in terms of supporting women and really showcasing that we invest in women in our city,” said Shelby Zitelman of Soom.
Young women, like Nina McKay, a senior at Lower Merion High School, walked away hopeful. “It’s just really cool to look around and see all of these women and hear from all these women who have done such amazing things with their lives and to hear from men who are allies and encouraging and say, we’re behind you,” McKay said.
That’s why Mark Lankford, of GlaxoSmithKline, says he volunteered to attend. “Most conference I go to are male dominated,” Lankford said. “It was kind of intimidating walking into a conference with all women and being the only guy. It’s certainly eye opening.”