In case you missed our last blog post, it was all about The United State of Women Summit, hosted by Michelle Obama to rally the women of this nation to make even greater strides in gender equality. This is Mental Scoops’ pledge to take our part in the fight for gender equality.
During the event’s kickoff early Tuesday morning, White House Council on Women and Girls, Valerie Jarret highlights the key theme of the summit:
“So today, we both celebrate the progress we have made together for women and girls in America and around the world, while we recognize that our work is not done; important progress remains, FOR US ALL.”
Not only does The United State of Women Summit cover the major hurdles that women have overcome, but it also discusses the issues that remain to be addressed through workshops and speakers on how to continue our progress towards gender equality. Let’s go ladies! The event was available for live streaming and you can still watch it on the summit’s website. But if you missed the summit and just don’t have time to go watch all 12 hours of it, here are the key points:
THE 6 PILLARS OF THE SUMMIT
- Entrepreneurship & Innovation
The summit also placed importance on training & counseling women entrepreneurs, increasing access to capital for women business owners, and enhancing investing & innovation through programs, monetary support, etc. There were numerous workshops and events for finding funding and support for women (& girls) aspiring
- Leadership & Civic Engagement
Another aim is to further women’s roles in corporations, academia, the media and the public sector to increase women’s voices and visibility in society’s fight against gender inequality
- Economic Empowerment
There were informative interventions and panels on equal pay, minimum wage, paid sick leave, and much more. In addition to motivating speakers on the topic, it was announced that $50 million in grants, new policies, tools and partnerships will be committed by the Obama administration, private-sector companies, foundations and organizations to help women and girls!
- Health & Wellness
A deeper look at health coverage, preventative care, pregnancy and more gave us an idea of how much we have done for women and girls across the world but how much farther we still have to go.
- Educational Opportunity
It’s crucial to understand the transformative effect that education has had for the gender equality movement. We need to continue the work on covering education for girls & women, from early childhood to college, through affordable schooling, promoting STEM fields, and broadening efforts worldwide for better education and better lives.
- Violence Against Women
We need to protect all women, including LGBT women, immigrants & Native American women from sexual assault, domestic abuse and human trafficking, and expand tools for responding to victims & perpetrators.
Here Are What These Bad Bitches Said…
“While I was powerless against the man who attacked me, I am not powerless in ending rape culture.”
-Meghan Yap, rape victim & champion of change for State of Women
She delivers a powerful speech with VP Biden standing by her, encouraging us that our talents (or ‘superpowers’ as she calls them) can help prevent violence against women and support victims post-rape, especially by stopping secondary trauma from continued victim blaming.
“We have to throw out the mindset that excuses abuse or sexual assault
by saying ‘boys will be boys.'”
-Joe Biden, Vice President of the United States
What Biden said is so powerful, especially in light of recent events in which Stanford swimmer convicted of rape barely got a slap on the wrist for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman. (You can also read Biden’s open letter here). We also would like to applaud VP Biden for his important work against rape and violence against women and the impact it has had on university policies across the nation.
“We must deepen our analysis on gender-based violence: understanding that it’s a cultural value, it spans micro to macro, it is individual to systemic. That’s why the signature movement moments and strategies for us are so important right now, like Black Lives Matter and Strategies To End State-Sanctioned Violence, like Move To End Violence,…”
-Joanne Smith, Girls for Gender Equity
Four quick solutions: 1.) speak for and believe in women because abuse stems from power, 2.) include women in the governance agenda and politics, 3.) invest resources in strategies such as healthcare, education, jobs, etc., 4.) maintain movement momentum, unite together and call for continued efforts from admin to advocate for gender equality.
“The challenge that we face of uprooting deeply-entrenched societal attitudes that allow these crimes to continue is, indeed, enormous. And to me, there is a no more glaring demonstration of those attitudes than the backlog of those untested rape kits… representing survivors that deserve justice, and perpetrators who deserve jail time. Testing rape kits sends a crucial message to victims of sexual violence: “You matter. What happens to you matters.” ”
-Mariska Hargitay, Founder & President of the Joyful Heart Foundation
“Our reproductive systems are just one of the many working in the body, so why are we so quick to make it controversial?”
-Grecia Magdaleno, Planned Parenthood Federation of America
Take a look at the controversy surrounding Planned Parenthood, abortion, and birth control, and you’ll see that when it comes to women’s reproductive health, we are at a severe disadvantage. Grecia Magdaleno points out the need for us to break the wall of controversy and stigma surrounding women’s health and the need to recognize that the vitality and health of women is a priority!
“Our call for action is to create an America where all people have access to the care, information and services they need to lead a healthier lives with independence and dignity.”
-Jo Ann Jenkins, CEO of AARP
What people don’t know is that policy changes have been working to help women get the healthcare they need, but we need to place emphasis on educating people about the Affordable Care Act and the resources that it provides. We must also work to improve Medicare and expand Medicaid.
“And while you and I are here today, in twenty-four hours, 16,000 kids will die under the age of five of things we can prevent and 800 mothers will die in childbirth. In twenty-four hours. We have to do better. ”
Carolyn Miles, CEO & President of Save The Children
While we have made impressive leaps in reducing the number of deaths in children under five by 50% and we have reduced the numbers of childbirth-related death by 35%, there is still so much more we can do for the women and children around the world. Nobody should die because they are too poor to receive basic healthcare.
“When I reached the lowest low, education helped me recover from my bad choices… Education lifted me out of my personal gutter and put me back on the sidewalk of life. Let’s keep doing the same for others, shall we?”
-Ginny Quillen, Systems Engineer, Rockwell Collins
Ginny suffered from long-term effects of child abuse, was involved with drugs and served time, but she shows us that education has the power to turn lives around. Under the Obama administration, the 2014 TAACCCCT education grant providing support at community colleges and preparing people for the workforce has helped around 700 colleges in the US. As the work continues, it’s important to keep in mind the impact education has on the lives of women everywhere.
“Opportunity. That is why I returned to my village to build a school. So that I can give girls in my village an opportunity to overcome practices that oppress and an opportunity so they can control their lives and their destinies.”
-Kakenya Ntaiya, Founder Kakenya Center for Excellence
While Kakenya is not American, her story of how she paid the price of her education, the price of pursuing her dream to study in the US, by allowing her genitals to be mutilated shows the gender inequality problem that women face everywhere. But, if we continue on the track that we are on and keep the momentum going, we will change the #StateOfWomen everywhere!
On a lighter note, did you know that this is what a feminist looks like? Our POTUS:
Now, that’s what make our FLOTUS go ‘mmmhm, mmmhm, mmmhm…’ as she told Oprah at the summit. Check out the hilarious video below:
If you want to read more about the summit or watch the event, go to http://www.theunitedstateofwomen.org/watchsummit/
Did you watch the summit? Should FLOTUS and the White House host something like this every year?
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Author: Nina Lin
A recovering COFFEE ADDICT, proud ASIAN AMERICAN, and a HOPELESS ROMANTIC who loves NOODLES.