The Women in the World Summit organized by Tina Brown this year is celebrating a major milestone, its 10th anniversary. The event, scheduled for April 10 to 12 in New York, will address signature issues such as anti-gun violence and equal pay. “We’re building up to a really epic year,” Brown said. “We’ve really played a really big role in bringing the issues we’ve been discussing for the last nine years to the forefront. The #MeToo movement, we feel in a sense, is no longer a mission — it’s a reality.”
Last year’s “get” was Hillary Rodham Clinton, who moderated a panel made up of journalists working in countries ruled by strongmen, including Russia, Turkey, the Philippines and China. The upcoming summit will feature a rare conversation between Vogue editor in chief and Condé Nast artistic director Anna Wintour and Brown.
Much has been made about the rivalry between the women. Bravo in 2017 even planned a series about Brown and Wintour, “All That Glitters,” but ultimately, pulled the plug on the project.
Brown downplayed any competition with Wintour. “If you read ‘The Vanity Fair Diaries’ [Brown’s book about her 1983-to-1992 tenure as editor in chief of the publication], that was always a construct of the media,” she said. “I share so much history with Anna. We have so many of the same mutual friends and we were at Condé Nast together during a real golden moment.
“In my ‘Vanity Fair Diaries,’ I recall how I was in the elevator with Anna one day and she was pregnant with her first child, and I was pregnant with my first child,” Brown said. “It was probably the first time an editor in chief at Condé Nast was pregnant. I remember her tiny bulge beneath her Chanel and I thought, ‘Why don’t I look like that?'”
Brown said she and Wintour will discuss their shared passion for magazines, “as well as the whole trajectory of her amazing career. She’s become a very significant force in business and in fashion and a role model for so many women. She’s maintained a standard of perfection in face of challenges.”
Wintour, who limits her public appearances, finally agreed to participate in the summit. “We’d see each other and have lunch together,” Brown said. “I said, ‘This year, Anna, why don’t we do this?’ Anna doesn’t do a huge amount of media and is always quite discerning. I think we asked her last year and it didn’t fit into her schedule.”
The last summit’s participants included presidential hopeful Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), writer Margaret Atwood, journalist Ronan Farrow, Uber ceo Dara Khosrowshahi, and Academy Award-winning actress Viola Davis, among others. Aside from Wintour, Brown declined to divulge Women in the World’s upcoming lineup.
While Donald Trump’s presidency has inspired waves of activism, Brown noted setbacks such as Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearings for his nomination to the Supreme Court. “The Republican Senate judiciary committee was eight white men who didn’t look anything like America, and yet there they were still making decisions. They even had to rent a woman to be the questioner,” Brown said, referring to Rachel Mitchell, the attorney hired by the committee to cross-examine Christine Blasey Ford, who accused Kavanaugh of sexually assaulting her.
“We’re pushing ahead and saying women can save the world,” Brown said. “The summit will be a celebration of strength and will highlight women who get things done. Women are fighting sexual trafficking and fighting sexual harassment or simply being powerhouses in business. Our theme has really been that women need to be at the table because the guys, frankly, have had their turn and it’s not going so well.”