The Long Beach Convention Center was the place to be last week for Maria Shriver's annual Women's Conference. I was one of the 25,000 women in attendance at the two-day gathering. This was my first year covering the conference. Monday I hit up the Night at the Village event which featured: rows of vendors, book signings and countless community orgs tabling. I've been to conferences for women but this was one came with a double shot of estrogen. On that night, 10,000 women networked, shopped and snuck off to the corner for a glass of wine. Target built a mini-beauty spa in the middle of the convention floor. Folks got free manicures and pedicures. While speakers in different sections of the convention area talked about empowerment, building businesses, juggling families, etc. Makeup-infomercial pioneer Victoria Jackson, psychologist Cheryl Saban, environmentalist Majora Carter and Ariana Huffington were some of the speakers I heard.
I died and went to Wonder Woman heaven. I loved every feminine and thought-provoking moment. But someone was missing.
Can Young Women Kick It?
Where were my young sistas? Not just black, but young women of all backgrounds. I'm in my thir, thirrrr, third decade of life. As a young, professional woman this conference was right on for me. But there should be programming at this conference for girls in their late teens and early 20s to dialogue and figure out how they can be, as the theme was, "an architect of change." Girls are having sex at younger ages. Teen pregnancy and high school drop out rates continue to be a problem. And this generation of youth are infatuated with the idea of fame. Little Stacy needs exposure to women who became successful without making a sex tape. The more "seasoned" women could inspire youngins' with their stories. Shriver held the conference on a Monday and Tuesday--school nights. That could be a deterring factor. Also the price, I believe was $25 just for the Night at the Village. It's more for the next day's event.
I also expected to see more women of color. Women of various races showed their support. Being that this was Long Beach, the black/brown/yellow turnout was a little low.
Regardless, California First Lady Maria Shriver and her team gave 25, 000 people an amazing experience. Ladies, mark your calendars for next October so you can attend.
Below are a few shots from the conference....
Woman to Woman
Ariana Huffington interviews author and psychologist Cheryl Saban
Giant Puppets created by artist Michelle Berne
Bling in the City
Candace Bushnell rocking a gorgeous ring during her book signing. There are too many diamonds to count. Can't wait to see the new Sex and the City movie next summer.
Glam Me Up
Make Up artists giving free makeovers at the Target spa. If you look real close you can see the Giorgio Armani booth in the back.
Now Polish Me Off
Ladies getting their nails "did" for free courtesy of Target.
One Cup at a Time
Now you know if you get women togther we're gonna talk about our bodies--including our boobs. Good thinking Loma Linda University!
1. Maria Shriver/ http://californiawomen.org
All other photos taken by Jenee D.