The historic day of The United State of Women summit
We can say yesterday (June 14th, 2016) was a historic day. Yes, why not? For the very first time ever we saw powerful people like the US President Barack Obama, the Vice President Joe Biden and strong activists like Oprah Winfrey and Meghan Yap talking about their will to reduce the gender-equality gap. For the very first time the White House hosted the United State of Women Summit, a daylong conference with important press coverage to discuss women's rights and address the sexual assaults issue. This, dear readers, is historic.
Roughly 5.000 women from across the world were there, besides the live streaming, to hear Joe Biden saying that "every single woman has a fundamental right to live her life free of violence". He went ahead: “All the other progress we have made closing the pay gap, institutionalizing pay, expanding opportunity in the corporate world — none of it matters if women cannot be free of violence.”
Biden’s speech was one of the strongest in the summit. Over the 40 minutes he talked to the crowd, he spoke about the sexual assaults issue for several times. “Over the years”, he said, “I have heard hundreds and hundreds of testimonials from survivors, each different and specific, but also painful in their similarity. So many people being isolated and not being believed. [Saying] 'Yes, I was drunk, yes, I was wearing a short skirt. Was it my fault?”
Biden, by the way, was introduced by Megan Yap, who conducts research on how college and university campuses address sexual assault and is one of the leaders of the “It's On Us” campaign to end this sort of violence. "I was powerless against the man that attacked me but I am not powerless in ending rape culture," Yap said.
Earlier in the summit, US$ 50 million towards gender-equality initiatives were announced. In his speech, President Obama highlighted actions taken by his administration to improve women’s rights. He talked about the initiative with more than two dozen big companies, such as Amazon, PepsiCo and American Airlines to move towards undertaking a yearly company-wide gender pay analysis as part of the summit. “We need to keep changing the attitude that prioritizes being confident, competitive, and ambitious in the workplace – unless you’re a woman”, he said.
Definitely it was a historic day. Now we all should move forward to keep making history, growing day after day the movement towards women’s rights and to stop sexual assaults.