PARIS, Feb. 15, 2016
–While a growing body of research demonstrates that gender parity in the workplace benefits both women and men, the World Economic Forum recently found that only 28 percent of leadership roles worldwide are held by women.  On March 18, 2016 from 10:30 a.m.-5:30 p.m., prominent European leaders in business, government and the fashion industry will gather to discuss this trend and the rapidly-changing policies that are influencing women’s roles at The Global Symposium: Women Changing Europe.  Hosted at The Westin Paris-Vendôme by Barnard College, the prestigious women’s college a part of Columbia University, this is the first time that the Global Symposium will be held in Europe since the series began in 2009.

The event, which expects to draw more than 400 guests, is free and open to the public and was held previously in Beijing, Dubai, Johannesburg, Mumbai, Sao Paulo, Shanghai, and New York.  

“So many of the world’s most pressing issues—the state of the global economy, public health, environmental concerns—are inextricably tied to gender inequality and women’s rights,” Barnard College President Debora Spar said. “This symposia series exists to explore the ways in which women are leading efforts and igniting change at every level and in every corner of the world, and to consider the barriers and triumphs that have influenced their lives and careers along the way. It is an honor to host the Symposium in Paris, as we continue to build on the legacy and promise of creating an international network of women leaders who can inspire the next generation.”

Featured speakers include Anne Hidalgo, Mayor of Paris, who will provide the keynote address; Pamela Golbin (Class of 1992, Barnard College), the Chief Curator of Fashion and Textiles, Musée des Arts Décoratifs; Luciana Nunez, CEO, Danone Nutricia Early Life Nutrition U.S.; and Alessia Mosca, Member of European Parliament, Italy. View the full list of panelists and event schedule.  

In addition to the Global Symposium, Barnard College students will conduct the Young Women’s Leadership Workshop for local high school girls.  The workshop, which will be held on March 16 from 6:30-8:30 p.m. CET at Reid Hall, the Columbia University Global Center in Paris, will focus on developing leadership potential and engaging students in conversations about the social issues faced by young women around the world. 

The Global Symposia series aims to provide a dynamic forum for discussion of women's issues, to create a network of women leaders from around the world, to inspire young women about their own leadership potential, and to provide an opportunity for Barnard, as an American college, to learn from women in other parts of the world.

Founded in 1889, Barnard was the only college in New York City, and one of the few in the United States where women could receive the same rigorous and challenging education available to men. Today, with more than 2,500 students hailing from over 50 countries—along with faculty research, work, and volunteer experiences happening across the globe—our commitment to understanding the challenges and opportunities in an ever-changing world is more vital to our mission than ever. The College offers 150 study abroad programs on six continents, in partnership with institutions such as Sciences Po in France; the London School of Economics, Oxford and Cambridge in the UK; Heidelburg University in Germany; the University of Oslo in Norway; and the National Theater Institute in Moscow—all enhancing its international perspective. As the world-renowned liberal arts college for women at Columbia University, Barnard College remains devoted to empowering extraordinary women to become even more exceptional. For press inquiries, contact Lorie Lichtlen at or 01 56 03 13 01 /+ 33 6 03 40 36 38.  For press inquiries in New York City, contact or 212.854.2037.