Skip to Content Skip to Navigation

The 2nd Annual Vital Voices Festival kicked off with an opening panel titled, “Rule Breakers, Trailblazers, Movement Makers: Why It’s Time for Women’s Leadership.”

“The change we want to see isn’t promised. Progress isn’t promised. We have to insist on it,” said Alyse Nelson, president and CEO at Vital Voices.

This dynamic panel featured several world leading rule breakers, trailblazers and movement makers who shed light on their groundbreaking work to advance gender equality while on stage with Nelson. Panelists Kah Walla, Activist and President of the Cameroon People’s Party, Elizabeth Hidalgo Reese, Senior Policy Advisor for Native Affairs and Domestic Policy Council at The White House, Shirin Musa, founder of Femmes for Freedom, Helena Gualinga, environmental and human rights activist and Laura Alonso, former Secretary, Public Ethics, Transparency and Anti-Corruption, Anti-Corruption Office of Argentina.

Panelist shared personal stories that led them to Vital Voices and spoke about why now is an urgent time for women leadership.

“If we want our societies to change, if we want social justice, if we want inclusion, we cannot count on the people who have built the current status quo to change it. We must embrace power as women. The first thing we have to do as women is get comfortable with power” — Kah Walla

Panelists included:

  • Kah Walla: President, Cameroon People’s Party, CEO, STRATEGIES!, and Activist (Cameroon)
  • Elizabeth Hidalgo Reese:Yunpoví (Willow Flower), Senior Policy Advisor for Native Affairs, Domestic Policy Council, The White House
  • Shirin Musa: Founder, Femmes for Freedom
  • Helena Gualinga: Environmental and Human Rights Activist, Ecuador 
  • Laura Alonso: Former Secretary, Public Ethics, Transparency and Anti-Corruption, Anti-Corruption Office of Argentina