Global Café Recap: Women Empowerment

On March 30th, Iowa International Center hosted the first installment of its Global Café series. The event centered around the topic of Women Empowerment and featured two influential European women, both of whom visited Iowa a few years ago as part of a International Visitor Leadership Program. 

The first speaker of the day was Ms. Paula Harrison, a career diplomat with the British Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development office. Drawing back upon her personal experience as a diplomat, Ms. Harrison said, “Gender issues are best understood when tackled at a national level … each country has gender issues layered with cultural, religious, historical, and economic factors.” Ms. Harrison went on to provide anecdotes from her time in Turkey, and talked about the impact of Sarah Everard’s murder on women in the U.K. 

The second speaker at the event was Ms. Naomi ter Haar, a strategic policy advisor for the Ministry of Defense of the Netherlands. Reflecting upon the global status of women, Ms. Naomi ter Haar said, “There’s still a lot of things [related to women empowerment] that need to be improved, even in liberal countries like the Netherlands.” Among these things, Ms. ter Haar noted access to education, visibility in the workplace, and access to leadership positions.

Following a brief presentation from each of the speakers, participants were divided into two break out rooms and were given the opportunity to share their thoughts. Within this intimate setting, attendees discussed women empowerment, intersectionality, and inclusivity, among other things. 

Iowa International Center would like to extend its thanks to Meredith Corporation for sponsoring this event and to Scooter’s in Waukee for providing the coffee. The second installment of IIC’s Global Café series is set to take place in July and will focus on the topic of Democracy  and Security. Tickets will include coffee and access to the event. For more information, contact

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