NEW YORK CITY: Diane von Furstenberg appeared on stage at the Lincoln Center overnight to reveal what she believes is the defining trait of an extraordinary woman. The designer will hold her annual DVF Awards on Wednesday night as part of the Women In The World Conference – a week-long summit of talks from female leaders advocating for a better world for the next generation of women.
This year’s DVF Award honourees are Anita Hill, Katy Perry, Nadia Murad, Hadeel Mustafa Anabtawi and Susan Burton.
“They have all shown the strength to fight, the courage to survive, and the leadership to inspire,” said Furstenberg.
“[But] what they all have in common is character.”
“Because character is the only thing that we have total control over,” she continued.
“You can lose your health, your money, your partner, your children, you can even lose your freedom, but you can never lose your character.”
On singer Katy Perry, the 72-year-old labelled her “remarkable”.
“She really uses her voice and she really opens her heart. And she’s actually very vulnerable. Her vulnerability is her strength. She doesn’t even know it. I tell her. She cries, she really opens her heart.”
All five women have dedicated their lives to transforming the lives of other women.
Hill, a woman of colour, bravely fronted the US Congress in 1991 to testify that a supreme court judge had sexually harassed her. Images of Hill staring down a panel of white men, who were suspicious and dubious of her claims, have become synonomous with feminist power and fearlessly standing up for justice. She went on to become the first African American to be tenured at the University of Oklahoma College of Law and now teaches subjects on gender, race and legal history.
Murad is a leading advocate for survivors of genocide and sexual violence. She also was the co-recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize in 2018.
Anabtawi is a social entrepreneur who founded The Alchemist Lab which empowers girls to turn into confident women and have fair access to an education.
And Susan Burton works with ex-convicts in the United States and helps them assimilate back into society, breaking the stigma of women – like herself – who have been incarcerated. She founded the non-profit organisation A New Way Of Life.
“The 21st century is the century of women. If we want to save humanity we need every woman to get up and act,” said Furstenberg.
You heard the woman. The time is now.
GRAZIA Australia is reporting live from #WITW in New York City all week. Check back for more.