updated 3/1/2011 12:16:34 PM ET 2011-03-01T17:16:34

NEW YORK, March 1, 2011 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- The Wall Street Journal today announced the program and speaker lineup for its inaugural Task Force on Women in the Economy ( http://womeninecon.wsj.com ).

The invitation-only conference will bring together more than 150 leading men and women for highly interactive working sessions to address key issues that affect not only women and their potential, but also companies and their ability to harness the opportunities offered by this vital segment of the workforce. The conference will take place April 4-6 at the Four Seasons Resort in Palm Beach, Fla.

The opening night session will feature Robert Zoellick, president of World Bank Group, and Sandra Day O'Connor, U.S. Supreme Court Justice (Retired) for a wide-ranging discussion of women's progress, providing a perspective on the history of women in the U.S. economy, a special focus on women in Asia, and a look at the role of women in economic development in the poorest countries.

In a session titled, "Common Threads: Business Perspectives on Women in the Workforce," representatives from select industries will provide a perspective on women's advancement, or lack of advancement, in each industry – featuring Sallie Krawcheck of Bank of America; Julie Louise Gerberding of Merck & Co.; Debra Lee of BET Networks; and Marissa Mayer of Google.

Actress and advocate Geena Davis, founder of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, will discuss her research on gender disparity in film and television. Additional sessions will feature interactive discussions on topics including the challenges facing young women across the career lifecycle and the impact of genetics on gender development.

Research partner McKinsey & Company will present specially commissioned research into women's role in the workforce and contribution to overall economic growth. Throughout the conference, participants will collaborate to identify the most urgent priorities for business and government, and to create action plans for immediate solutions.

Other participants include:

  • Preeta D. Bansal, general counsel and senior policy advisor, Executive Office of the President;
  • Beth A. Brooke, global vice chair of public policy, sustainability and stake holder engagement, Ernst & Young;
  • Kim Campbell, former Prime Minister of Canada;
  • Nancy M. Carter, senior vice president, research catalyst, visiting Scholar, INSEAD;
  • Wei Sun Christianson, chief executive officer, Morgan Stanley China;
  • Paula Dobriansky, senior vice president of government affairs, Thomson Reuters;
  • Esther Dyson, chairman, EDventure Holdings;
  • Linda Fairstein, author, former head of Manhattan district attorney's sex crimes unit;
  • Moira Flanders, director, Inter-American Defense College, United States Navy;
  • Barbara Hackman Franklin, president and CEO, Barbara Franklin Enterprises;
  • Claudia Goldin, Henry Lee professor of economics, Harvard University;
  • Pascal Goldschmidt, senior vice president for medical affairs, dean of the University of Miami Leonard M. Miller School of Science;
  • Patricia G. Greene, president's distinguished professor of Entrepreneurship and academic director, Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses, Babson College;
  • Amy Gutmann, president, University of Pennsylvania;
  • Kevin Kelly, chief executive officer, Heidrick & Struggles;
  • Kay Koplovitz, founder USA Network, chairman and Co-founder, Springboard Enterprises;
  • Neelie Kroes, Dutch politician, vice president for the Digital Agenda at the European Commission;
  • Jeanne C. Meister, founding partner, Future Workplace;
  • Rachel Moran, dean and Michael J. Connell professor of Law, UCLA School of Law;
  • Annette L. Nazareth, partner, Davis Polk;
  • Susan Ness, senior fellow, center for transatlantic relations, Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies;
  • Clarence Otis Jr., chairman and chief executive officer, Darden Restaurants;
  • Karen Peetz, vice chairman, BNY Mellon, the Bank of New York Mellon Corporation;
  • Michael P. Smith, executive director, Media Management Center, Kellogg School of Management, Medill School of Journalism, Northwestern University;
  • Diana Taylor, managing director, Wolfensohn Fund Management L.P.;
  • Frances Fragos Townsend, senior vice president of worldwide government, legal and business affairs, MacAndrews and Forbes Holdings;
  • Melanne Verveer, ambassador-at-large, global women's issues, U.S. Department of State;
  • Eric Vilain, professor of human genetics, David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA;
  • Saadia Zahidi, director, Women Leaders and Gender Parity.

Women in the Economy will be hosted by Wall Street Journal deputy managing editors Alan Murray and Rebecca Blumenstein. The task force findings and original research will be published in a special worldwide report in The Wall Street Journal and on WSJ.com. For more information please go to http://www.womeninecon.wsj.com.

About The Wall Street Journal

Founded in 1889, The Wall Street Journal is the world's leading business publication. Boasting more than two million subscribers, the Journal is the largest newspaper by total paid circulation and has the largest individually paid circulation of the top 25 U.S. newspapers. The Wall Street Journal franchise, with a global audience of 3.8 million, also comprises The Wall Street Journal Asia, The Wall Street Journal Europe and The Wall Street Journal Online at WSJ.com, the leading provider of business and financial news and analysis on the Web with more than one million subscribers and 26 million users per month. WSJ.com is the flagship site of The Wall Street Journal Digital Network, which also includes MarketWatch.com, Barrons.com and AllThingsD.com. The Wall Street Journal Radio Network services news and information to more than 375 radio stations in the U.S. The Journal holds 33 Pulitzer Prizes for outstanding journalism, and, in 2009, was ranked No. 1 in BtoB's Media Power 50 for the 10th consecutive year.

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