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  • Writer's pictureElizabeth Filippouli

International Women’s Day

Updated: Jun 29, 2022

In line with International Women’s Day, Athena40 Presents The 4th Global Conversation “Women as Catalysts for Resilience, Diversity & Change”

Many argue that feminism is no longer needed today, but the pandemic has proven how easily and quickly the advancements women have made over the decades, can regress.

COVID-19 has had a devastating effect on gender equality worldwide, and some experts believe it has set women back decades. Women in corporate roles and entrepreneurs, journalists, legislators, civil society leaders, artists, and stay-at-home moms are even more burned out than their male counterparts, especially over the past two years since COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic.

Let’s take the example of stay-at-home mums, who became more burnt out than they usually would be because of the lack of childcare services during the pandemic. In many communities across the world, there is the common misconception that women are supposed to be able to “do it all”, including being the sole caretakers for the children in their families, even if it meant sacrificing their education or careers. Add to that the closure of childcare centers and schools, and it made it tougher for many women, increasing their daily workloads, creating an imbalance of work within their homes.

A pivoting work-from-home culture has also created major burnout for women in the workforce, who have no boundaries as they take on extended work hours, while juggling their responsibilities at home. Sadly, this has led to many women quitting or leaving their jobs. Women are also affected by microaggressions in the workplace. Often, women are questioned about their expertise or treated as less knowledgeable because they are a woman. These microaggressions became intolerable to many women as other stressors rose for them during the pandemic.

Many women chose to leave the workforce because they felt undervalued and underappreciated for their work. Women often put more time and effort into diversity and inclusion programs. Still, this effort either goes unnoticed or unacknowledged because many employers do not see the value of this work.

Despite these challenges, female leaders are rising to the occasion to help societies in various ways, from employee well-being to diversity, equity, and inclusion.

Fittingly, this year’s 4th annual Athena40 global conversation will focus on how resilience and diversity of thought can bring about a lasting positive effect. In partnership with the Conduit Club, the forum will focus on various issues affecting women today, such as sexism, racism, economic inequality, bias in media coverage, and the lack of women in positions of power.

Here are some questions that will be addressed:

  • How can we address the lack of women in positions of power?

  • Are men and women equally portrayed in the media?

  • Are genders displayed in a biased manner in the media?

  • What role can the media play in the lack of women in positions of power?

  • How can we deconstruct the patriarchy and accelerate the pace of change?

  • Can women help our broken societies heal?

  • How do we nurture activism in women?

  • How can we reinforce the concept of creative activism?

To highlight the theme of resilience at this year’s forum, Athena40 in partnership with London’s Conduit Club will present a photographic project inspired by the beautifully complex and resilient nature of women. The project titled ‘I am, You are: A pebble’ features 20 portraits of groundbreaking women and is a collaboration with London-based German photographer Sebastian Boettcher.

Athena40 is focused on creating global conversations to inspire change. The first three conferences discussed various themes and issues facing women worldwide, including: how women's significant challenges and opportunities lie in who are the real change-makers globally and what can be done to promote diversity and inclusivity, collaboratively and internationally, the importance of women in leadership roles not only for women but for society in general, how to create opportunities for more women to be in leadership roles, and the COVID-19 pandemic, and why female leaders across the world were recognized for their direction, leadership and effective responses to the pandemic.

The main reason for founding the Athena40 Global Conversations was to create a platform where ideas can be shared, ensuring that women from various intersecting backgrounds can hear from each other, to create change globally.

The Global Conversation is also to inspire leaders to focus more directly on the issue of gender equity and hear from the women who currently face these challenges, and to present how best to overcome these challenges, and how to create plans to overcome barriers.

It is only by having conversations about our different experiences and points of view, that we can effectively create meaningful change.

If you are interested in learning more,


Elizabeth H. Filippouli is a journalist, author and executive.


Priya Guha is a Venture Partner at Merian Ventures, investing in women-led innovation.

Khalida Popal began breaking down barriers and empowering women in Afghanistan in 2007 when she helped found the Afghan National Women’s Soccer Team.

Regan Ralph is the founding president and CEO of the Fund for Global Human Rights.

After an extensive career in acting, Baroness Lola Young became a professor of Cultural Studies, a writer, broadcaster and cultural critic.

Lin Yue is a senior executive at Goldman Sachs Asset Management, responsible for managing and growing key relationships across UK institutional investors.

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