WASHINGTON, D.C. -- As difficulties surrounding the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START) continue to play well in the news, media icon Ted Turner used the stage at TEDWomen this afternoon to push an old hobbyhorse of his: nuclear arms reduction.
"If only women were elected to public office" -- let men continue to do everything else: run the businesses and the media -- "we'd have a much safer and better society in a short time," Turner said. His practiced soundbites were greeted by significant cheers and applause. "We wouldn't be building aircraft carriers and submarines, which are no good for anything anyway; we'd be putting money into healthcare."
TEDWomen, a first-of-its-kind conference hosted by TED, brought 70 speakers and performers to Washington to discuss women's issues. The driving force behind TED is the belief that everyone has an idea worth spreading and the conference, as a result, was filled with thought-provoking quick hits. Turner's short interview with co-producer Pat Mitchell was an outlier, an old idea worth spreading.
And his responses were echoed as the day wore on. "Certainly a woman is not going to spend her money buying guns," confirmed President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia, the only elected female head of state in Africa, in a separate interview with Mitchell. "I think a world where half of our countries are run by women ... would be a better world," said Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook, during a presentation about how "women are not making it to the top of any profession anywhere in the world."