Female leadership rises up against oppression in times of war

Sigrid S. McCawley, legal counsel for the Jeffrey Epstein prosecution, at Santander WomenNOW. / Alex Rivera

The new conflicts, such as the environmental one, the persecution of the powerful or the Russian story, are debated at Santander WomenNOW

Domenico Chiappe

The second day of the Santander WomenNOW congress addressed several of today's most serious issues, such as the new scenario of war against the West, the persecution of the powerful who commit sexual abuse and the protection of the environment. Alexandra Cousteau, the granddaughter of the famous oceanographer, recalled that her grandmother - Jacques's wife - was a fundamental part of the crew of the Calypso, the ship with which the deep sea was explored and filmed.

“My grandmother was the caretaker of the diving team, who did dives three times a day, but nobody knows her. Now the roles have changed and the ones who are transforming the world are young women », she assured, and gave Greta Thunberg as an example. “In the most recent documentaries there is room for diversity. The way of telling has changed, but the stories themselves also have to change because I already know the problems. And I want to meet the people who have things to teach us."

Cousteau, who is also active in defense of the seas with his organization Oceans 2050, concluded: "I dream of our children living with the restored abundance of the oceans, as my grandfather knew them."

With the background words of the women who were there the day before -such as the athletes Adriana Cerezo and Ainhoa ​​Arbizu, the politicians Teresa Ribera and Fawzia Koofi, and the feminist activist Ambra Battilana, one of the first to denounce Harvey Weinstein-, the turn of Sigrid S. McCawley, Virginia Giuffre's legal representative in her indictment against the American billionaire Jeffrey Epstein.

against the mighty

McCawley confessed that he uses his "physical presence to impose me in court, because femininity is very powerful", and recalled the moment he met Giuffre, in New York. “She told me her tragic story and it seemed almost unbelievable that she had experienced the same trauma twice, in her childhood and her youth. But I could understand her and connect with her. We have to learn to listen to the victims.”

A partner at the Boles Schiller Flexner law firm, McCawley applauded the fact that Ghislaine Maxwell is finally handed down this summer, after eight years of legal proceedings. "We can succeed against the privileges of the powerful, we see it slowly," McCawley said. On the case of Epstein and Maxwell, McCawley lamented that it took 20 years to stop them. During that time they silenced, through coercion, their victims. "Epstein was addicted to sexual abuse and they brought him girls three times a day," said who won his lawyers in the United States courts. “Three times a day he changed his victims. If we don't stop men like that, we're going to have more child victims."

story war

The war returned to plan, like the previous day, on the forum that has the support of Banco Santander as Global Partner, the sponsorship of DKV, Heineken, Iberdrola, Iberia, Inditex, L'Oréal Paris and the collaboration of El Corte Inglés , Hotel Princesa Plaza Madrid, Multiópticas and Salesforce. With the intervention of the Afghan artist, exiled in France, Rada Akbar and the expert from the London School of Economics and Public Sciences Kristina Spohr, two of the international events that have astonished the West in the last year were addressed: the Taliban triumph in Afghanistan and the invasion of Ukraine.

“In some senses you can talk about a third world war, but not like those that happened in the 20th century,” Spohr explained. "The Russians have been involved in polarizing societies to create social unrest. Instability is the effect of this third world war, and there is a lot of tension. Inflation and narrative construction are two of Putin's weapons. With the narrative he generates a cyber war through social networks ».

In this scenario, in which "conservative men try to occupy all the spaces", there is also "a new generation of very well-trained and educated women, who inspire confidence, which adds characteristics that were not there before," Spohr analyzes. "For example, the Prime Minister of Finland, Sanna Marin, who shows her face throughout her country and that she may be the next Russian target."

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