top of page
renee engln.jpg
Melissa Berton.jpg

Due to Covid19 this Forum has been Postponed 

We hope to resume our series of Forums in 2022

Gender Matters: A 20/20 Vision for an Inclusive Future
      Saint Helena Performing Arts Center, Saint Helena, California 

Friday  (Date to Be Determined)  Performing Arts Center

5:00PM - 6:00PM     Wine Reception – Forum Speakers and Guests Social with local wines.

6:00PM - 7:15PM     Keynote Address "I See You: First Steps Toward Gender Equality"

Britta Wilson began at Pixar Animation Studios in October 2016 as Vice President, Inclusion Strategies, after similar posts with Expedia and Paramount Pictures. She develops and nurtures an inclusive workplace where a wide variety of voices are empowered to shape the studio’s stories. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from UCLA, and her MBA and doctorate from Pepperdine.

7:30PM - 10:00PM   Sponsor Dinner

Saturday  (Date to Be Determined)  Performing Arts Center

9:00AM - 10:00AM  “The Biology and Evolutionary Psychology of Sexual Attraction: Can Understanding Basic Human Nature Help Guide Us to Gender Equity?”

Helen E. Fisher, PhD biological anthropologist, is a Senior Research Fellow, at The Kinsey Institute, Indiana University, and a Member of the Center for Human Evolutionary Studies in the Department of Anthropology at Rutgers University. She is the author of Six books including THE SEX CONTRACT: The Evolution of Human Behavior.

Dr. Fisher will talk about how men and women are the same and how we are different, about the biological imperative of procreation and how evolutionary and cultural mating strategies have shaped gender equity (or inequity). Understanding basic human nature will guide us to a more gender equal world.


10:00AM - 11:00AM  “Teach Your Children Well: How to Move Beyond Implicit Gender Bias and Cultural Conditioning”

Natalia Khosla, Dancer, MD candidate at the University of Chicago, Fulbright scholar at the London School of Economics, BS Yale University.   Natalia will use her skills as a dancer to illustrate how gender specific body language informs the way we are perceived in social and business circumstances. She will discuss how and why we create gender biases that last a lifetime in children before they can talk or walk, and how we can break that cycle.

11:00AM - 11:45AM BREAK

11:45AM - 12:45PM   " Epigenetics and the Biology of Gender: from DNA to the Brain"

Karissa Y. Sanbonmatsu, PhD, Columbia University, University of Colorado Boulder, University of Cambridge. Dr. Sanbonmatsu is an American structural biologist and astrophysicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory where she works on the mechanism of non- coding RNA complexes.

Dr. Sanbonmatsu will discuss her work in epigenetics, the study of RNA/DNA triggers that tell our genes how to behave. She will talk about how in our first trimester of life our sexual hardware         (genitals) develop, while our sexual software (brain chemistry) develops in the second, and what happens when there is a mismatch.
12:45PM - 2:00PM    LUNCH

2:00PM - 3:00PM  "Why Should Men Step Up for Gender Equity?"

Dr. Michael Kaufman, PhD, has works extensively with the United Nations, including with UNESCO, UNICEF, UN Women, UNDP, UNFPA, and IFAD. He has written or edited eight books, as well as numerous reports and articles. His work has been widely translated and has appeared in The Guardian, The Daily Telegraph, The Toronto Star and other publications. Dr. Kaufman's latest book is called: The Time has Come: Why Men Must Join the Gender Equality Revolution.


Dr. Kaufman will talk about why men, despite benefiting from a patriarchal world, should work toward universal gender equity.

3:00PM- 4:00PM   “Beauty Sick: The Cultural Forces that Keep Women Insecure about Appearance and What We Can All Do to Turn the Tide”

Dr. Renee Engeln. PhD, Author- Beauty Sick, Professor of Applied Social Psychology, Northwestern University. Director - The Body and Media Lab, which conducts research exploring issues surrounding women’s body images.


Dr. Engeln will discuss why we allow the $500 billion cosmetic, fashion and diet industries to sell their products by manipulating our deepest insecurities for profit.

4:00PM- 5:15PM   "Period. End of Sentence", Documentary Film Presentation                                                                     with Remarks and Q&A


Melissa Berton, Academy Award Winning producer for Best Documentary Short ( 2019); CEO and Founder  The Pad Project; Faculty Sponsor, Girls Learn International; Three-time Delegate to the Annual United Nations Commission on the Status of Women; English teacher at the Oakwood School (Los Angeles); Published Poet; former Asst. Editor of The Antioch Review; 2019 recipient Eleanor Roosevelt Global Women's Rights award.

Ms. Berton will tell us how, by raising money through bake-sales and car washes, she and her high school students bought a machine that makes menstrual pads, sent it to India where in many cases girls quit school after their first period, changed the lives of women in one village and beyond. The documentary film, “Period. End of Sentence” won the 2019 Academy Award for “best short documentary film”. This remarkable story will inspire our teachers, students and all of us to “think big and think globally”.


Sunday  (Date to Be Determined)   Performing Arts Center

9:00AM- 10:00AM     “Positive Steps to Change”

Edward Wageni,  Program director of United Nations Women non-profit He will discuss the new international initiative to up-date the twenty five year old “Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action” from the two conferences in Mexico City and Paris this year. The effort will be to realize gender equality by 2030 and he will discuss how we can all help. 

10:00AM- 11:00AM  Speaker to be announced

11:00AM-11:30PM   Break

11:30AM-12:30PM   “Making Space for All”


Catherine "Cady" Coleman,  Col. US Airforce, PHD MIT, retired NASA astronaut. Cady is a veteran of two Space Shuttle missions, and departed the International Space Station on May 23, 2011, as a crew member of Expedition 27 after logging 159 days in space.

Having lived six months on the ISS, Dr. Coleman has been privileged to see the world from a different perspective than most. Viewing our planet as a giant spaceship and humans as the crew, Cady envisions a future where people from all over the world work together to solve problems that affect everyone on the planet Earth.

With real-world experiences to show the impressive results of diversity and inclusive collaboration, Dr. Coleman advocates how working together, with people we never would ordinarily think of working with, is the way to overcome some of our greatest challenges.

12:30PM - Adjourn

bottom of page