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Reporting Live from the CARE National Conference!

US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton smiles as she speaks at a news conference during the informal NATO Foreign Ministers meeting in Tallinn
Later today, I'll be leaving on a jet plane for Washington, DC to attend the CARE National Conference.* If you've read this, this or this, you know I'm a big fan of CARE and the work they do to empower women and eliminate poverty around the world. I'm looking forward to having my mind and eyes opened at the conference, and invite you to follow along with me.

The goal of the conference is to gather individuals from across the country to further three issues at the core of CARE's mission: lowering maternal mortality, eliminating child marriage, and global hunger/food security. In addition to gathering us in sessions to learn more about these issues, the two days will bring us an impressive roster of speakers: CARE President Dr. Helene Gayle, First Lady of Mozambique Maria da Luz Guebuza, First Lady of the Republic of Sierre Leone Sia Nyama Koroma, Wife of Prime Minister of Kenya Ida Odinga, Chief of Staff (to Laura Bush) Anita McBride, and--last but certainly not least--Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. And that's just the first day.

Day Two will bring us to Capitol Hill, where small group meetings with member of congress have been scheduled, allowing us to address these issues head-on with those who have the power to do something about it. I've never lobbied on Capitol Hill before--I haven't even been there since a childhood family vacation--so I'm equal parts nervous and excited for this portion of the trip.

I was describing these events to one of my interns the other day, and she asked me a great question: As a journalist who's also passionate about a number of key issues such as women's rights, where do I draw the line between advocacy and journalism? That is, in going to Capitol Hill to speak to politicians about these issues, am I crossing an ethical line or blurring the lines of objectivity? My response to that was: If I was a newspaper reporter, yes, most certainly. There are newspaper reporters who don't even vote for fear of tainting their valued objectivity. But the fact of the matter is I'm lucky enough to work for a magazine that exists to support, advance, celebrate and help women. Though it was founded in 1982 to support working women in Chicago, that sentiment extends beyond our city's borders. I firmly believe that as women in the U.S. gain greater economic, social and political power, it is our duty to help advance the rights of women elsewhere.

And so that's why I'll be attending the conference not only as an invested citizen, but as a reporter. I'll be updating you on my adventures on this blog and here as often as possible, and will have  full report later this week, but for up-to-the minute updates, be sure to follow me on Twitter @CassandraGaddo, where I'll be live-tweeting the conference.

*Full disclosure: as a member of the press, my conference fee and airfare were kindly covered by CARE, along with partner, Delta airlines.



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