"If Women Ruled the World" is a two-hour PBS documentary special featuring an historic dinner party that took place June 23, 1999 in Washington, D.C.'s landmark Senate Caucus Room on Capitol Hill. The dinner was hosted by Canada's first and only female prime minister, the Honourable Kim Campbell, and the 19 guests were celebrated women from diverse cultural, ethnic, generational, and professional backgrounds. They were coming together to share their experiences and observations as trailblazers in male dominated fields and to explore the prospects for full gender equity.
The aim of the program is to convey how historic and unprecedented women's rise into positions of public power has been, how women's empowerment is transforming both our work and family lives, and why genuine gender equity is proving so elusive.
The consensus of the dinner participants is that women are beginning to assert a distinctive approach and make a real difference as they expand their presence in the professions. This distinctive approach is generally defined as being more social, civil, collaborative, and inclusive, and it's consistent with rising educational standards and the evolution of democracy and globalization toward greater pluralism, decentralization, transparency, and accountability. The factors influencing this approach include women's traditional role in the family as the civilizers and unifiers and their experience as outsiders in the public world.
WHY A DINNER PARTY?
If Women Ruled the World" was partly inspired by Washington, D.C. dinner parties and the role that dinner parties have traditionally played as vehicles for bringing people together from diverse backgrounds. The very diversity of "If Women Ruled the World" and the prominent role that women have played as hostesses/facilitators and arbiters of civilized dinner manners become a metaphor in the program for how women's empowerment is changing the world.
WHY AN ALL-WOMEN'S DINNER PARTY?
In most of Western history starting with ancient Greece, social dinners tended to be all-male affairs, and they tended to be an extension of professional life. So the very fact that you can have a dinner party consisting only of women whose decisions have wide-ranging social, political, and economic repercussions represents a stark historic turnaround, one that dramatizes the seismic change that is taking place in gender roles and relations.
At this critical crossroads in women's history, if women are to finally achieve real power as a group for the first time in recorded history then it is necessary to come together and clarify the lessons of the past.