She Opened the Door: 1,000 Take Part in First Columbia University Women's Conference

On February 9-11, 2018, more than 1,000 Columbia alumnae, faculty, students, and staff gathered on the Morningside campus for She Opened the Door, the first University-wide women's conference.

"She Opened the Door" is a tribute to Winifred Edgerton Merrill, the first woman to receive a degree from University, opening the door for women to gain admission to Columbia's graduate and professional Schools at a time when co-education for women was under heavy debate. 

Whether you were unable to attend the conference, or would like to relive the inspiring moments from the weekend, check out the powerful She Opened the Door photos here, and keynotes and session videos below:


CNN journalist Poppy Harlow '05CC speaks with Supreme Court Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg '59LAW about her life before, during, and after Columbia and about the people who opened the door for Ginsburg over the course of her career.

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In a conversation with A'Lelia Bundles '76JRNSallie Krawcheck '92BUS, CEO and co-founder of Ellevest, discusses embracing and investing in women's natural strengths.   

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Healthcare pioneer Faye Wattleton '67NRS, the first woman and first African-American to be president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, shares lessons of leadership in global women's reproductive rights and public policy advocacy and healthcare delivery.

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Emmy Award-winner Abigail Disney '87GSAS, '94GSAS, CEO and president of Fork Films, shares her insight on the significance of amplifying women's voices for peace. Disney discusses the power and importance of filmmaking as a peacebuilding tool. 

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Through cultural resistance, artists and creative warriors across industries challenge unjust systems at play. Roxana Geffen '95CC, Sheila Nevins '60BC, Mabel Wilson '91GSAPP, and Christina Macchiarola '10CC, '13SOA unpack how culture serves the resistance and empowers our communities.

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Concerns about educational and career achievement through young adulthood run high, especially given recent national increases in depression in adolescent girls and substance abuse in boys. President of Barnard College Sian Beilock and Professor Anne Marie Albano discuss advances in mental health care, community advocacy and services, and educational supports.

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From entertainment and music, to purpose-driven brands, to fashion, there is no industry unaffected by the digital age. Elizabeth Ferdon '05CC, Danielle Lee '97CC, '04BUS, Anushka Salinas '10BUS, Rachel Webber '04BC, and Danielle Maged '89CC, '97BUS, alumnae in these industries, talk about building businesses and organizations for the 21st century.

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Geraldine Downey, Ana Paulina Lee, Anupama Rao, and Gordana Vunjak-Novakovic, distinguished Columbia and Barnard faculty, share fascinating research with moderator and General Studies Dean Lisa Rosen-Metsch '90GS, and discuss how their findings impact women in key ways. Topics include stem cell/tissue engineering, women juggling science careers and home life, the importance of education for women in prison, and how women in international urban slums address poverty and social exclusion.

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While the number of women considering running for office has skyrocketed in recent years, the US is ranked 101st in female elected officials. What are other concrete things woman can do to make a difference? Karine Jean-Pierre '03SIPA, Athena Jones '99JRN, Brette McSweeney '04SIPA, and Hannah Rosenzweig '05PH explore these prescient questions.


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