I was the first generation that women’s lib hit full on. During college I was forced to pay someone to type my term papers, because I’d attended an all girls prep school that drilled it into us that we had to be the top executives of fortune 500 companies. They didn’t offer a course in typing for fear we would settle for being secretaries. I didn’t dare say aloud that my biggest aspiration was to become a mother.

Julie Anne, Tatjana, and Nick Rhodes

I eventually found a way to forge a successful and fulfilling career while playing “Suzy Homemaker” for the multitudes as a personal chef. Still, no matter what new peak of success I climb, none will be more important, more gratifying, or a stronger driving force than my role as mother.

Obviously I think the ideal of equality for women is a great one, and I’m grateful for the freedom that it has afforded me, but in our quest for change, somewhere along the line we silenced our own feminine voice. A powerful voice that holds an inherent responsibility to women and children in countries less fortunate. One should not preclude the other. We can be successful people without denying our femininity – our ability to nurture.

The lioness with her cub

The moment my daughter was born, I became acutely aware of a fierce power within me. Love had an entirely new meaning. I knew I would not hesitate to do whatever it took to feed and protect my child. If we, as women unite to find our collective feminine voice, I believe we can harness those primal instincts to effect real social change – the kind that will protect neglected and abused women and their children globally. One that may ultimately protect the future of the entire human race.

I don’t pretend to be a spiritually evolved intellectual with all the answers. I am a constant work in progress (that often feels more a mess than gleaming example), but I seem to have an innate gift for attracting exceptional human beings into my orbit. People who are actively working towards making unnecessary deaths during childbirth and starving children atrocities of the past. Women who understand the importance of education and universal acceptance in the fight against poverty – effectively our greatest hope for world peace. Women who truly inspire.

June Sarpong and Julie Anne Rhodes

June Sarpong MBE, the stunning young English television presenter, ambassador for the Prince’s Trust, and active campaigner for the Make Poverty History movement asked me to introduce her to to acclaimed spiritual speaker and multiple New York Times bestseller, Marianne Williamson whose own work with Sister Giant and RESULTS, I knew, would afford the perfect opportunity for two extremely powerful, like-minded women to bond. It was an electrifying evening. June has fervently been organizing the upcoming WIE Symposium with co hosts Sarah Brown (former Prime Minister Gordon Brown’s wife), influential dynamo Arianna Huffington, and fashion virtuoso Donna Karan; and wanted to ask Marianne to speak at the first WIE Symposium scheduled for September 20th in New York City. I got to witness a part of the miracle coming together.

As a woman and a mother, I can no longer remain complacent, so I joined the WIE network, and will be attending the symposium to learn how I can be part of the solution. The irony of finally honoring motherhood through an organization of highly successful women in enterprise appealed to me. Tickets sales will benefit the White Ribbon Alliance for Safe Motherhood and the Urban Zen Foundation. It is my sincere hope that you will take action too.

“Western women should be a moral force on this planet. We should not be infantilized; we should not be pretending we don’t know what’s going on; we should not be giving in to the various and ubiquitous temptations to anesthetize ourselves. Quite the opposite, we should be taking the wheel of human civilization and saying to anyone who will listen: We’re turning the ship around, and we’re turning it around NOW.” Marianne Williamson

For more information on any of the wonderful organizations mentioned, and how you might like to get involved, just click on the links above (where the names are highlighted). I’d love to hear your recipes for hope! Click on comments below, and let me know of any thoughts, concerns, or solutions you may have that you would like me to take along to the WIE Symposium.
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