Thursday night saw the opening of London’s first Women in the World Summit, a packed event featuring a range of speakers that included the Queen of Jordan, Germany’s first female federal minister of defense, a Yazidi Iraqi parliament member and an Oscar-winning actor. Queen Rania of Jordan spoke on the impact of the Syrian refugee crisis in her country, where 1.4 million million refugees now account for 20 percent of the country’s population and 25 percent of its budget, and implored the West to distinguish between the Islam practiced by people over the world with the extremism practiced by ISIS. Ursula von der Leyen, Germany’s defense minister, spoke about the successful introduction of a paid parental leave for fathers in Germany — a move that created, in her words, “an enormous shit-storm from these middle-aged men, especially those in politics.” Vian Dakheel Saeed, a representative of the Yazidi people and a member of Iraq’s parliament, discussed the tragic plight of the Yazidi people and their need for greater aid. And Meryl Streep delivered a message in tune with her role as activist Emmeline Pankhurst in the new film Suffragette, telling women: “Don’t give up the fight. It’s not over.”
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