2018’s Well-Spoken Women Lead the Way Forward
Let’s Toast Their Rousing Words
Early in the year Oprah Winfrey foretold promising change declaring, “A new day is on the horizon.” Her Golden Globes speech was a tour de force reminiscent of John F. Kennedy call for all Americans to put their country before themselves and Martin Luther King’s proclamation, “We shall overcome.” Relive the power of Oprah’s clarion call for justice for #MeToo survivors as she accepts a lifetime achievement award.
It was the pause that was felt around the world and at the election booth. At the March for Our Lives, Emma Gonzalez spoke volumes when she stood silent for 6 minutes and 20 seconds marking the amount of time it took the Parkland School shooter to gun down her classmates and teachers. Emma and countless students channeled their grief into action by campaigning for anti-NRA candidates who scored huge victories on Election Day.
“Change can’t wait.” The phrase coined by newly-elected Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley (D-MA) sums up the record shattering success of women candidates who ran for public office. The unprecedented diversity of the women elected to Congress and statehouses moves us closer to representative government. However, the cautionary tale is women are not quite half-way to holding half of the seats in Congress.
The White House Correspondents’ Association bucked decades of tradition when it announced that 2019’s featured speaker will no longer be a comedian. The change comes after Michelle Wolf caused an uproar by demanding the press hold administration officials accountable for behavior damaging to our democracy. Thumbs up to Wolf for stating the obvious and thumbs down to the Washington insiders on the right and the left who couldn’t handle her truth telling.
Christine Blasey Ford, Rachael Denhollander
In her first public appearance since September, Christine Blasey Ford honored gymnast Rachael Denhollander with Sports Illustrated’s Inspiration of the Year Award for speaking publicly about the USA Gymnastics doctor who sexually assaulted her when she was 15 years old. In a video, Dr. Ford speaks of her admiration for Rachael’s courage that inspired more than 300 young women to come forward with their own stories. Dr. Ford’s display of courage during her testimony was a civics lesson for us all. What these women have endured is a reminder of how much work remains to be done before sexual abuse is dealt with effectively.
Soraya Chemaly, Brittney Cooper, Rebecca Traister
Three wise women bearing books discuss how women’s anger can be a “superpower” in the wake of the 2016 election. The brilliant authors appeared together on NPR’s 1A program for a conversation that dissects the double standards regarding women’s and men’s anger and explores how women can use rage to exert political power. Be sure to pick up their titles Rage Becomes Her, Eloquent Rage, and Good and Mad.
An unfiltered Michelle Obama got real on her book tour revealing she has experienced the imposter syndrome, a crushing feeling of self-doubt. But what she’s learned from sitting at powerful tables – at the UN, corporate boards, and foundations is that, “They are not that smart.” And, the roof blew off the house, when the former First Lady debunked the myth that women aren’t doing enough, “That whole ‘so you can have it all.’ Nope, not at the same time…That’s a lie. And it’s not always enough to lean in, because that s*** doesn’t work all the time.”
Can’t wait to hear what Michelle says next…
“I didn’t lose, I just didn’t win,” said the first African-American woman to almost be elected governor of any state. In her non-concession speech, Stacey Abrams pledged to defeat “systematic disenfranchisement, disinvestment, and incompetence” with a new voting rights initiative Fair Fight Georgia.
Best of all, Stacey is already planning to run for office again. Her indomitable spirit is motivation for any woman who hasn’t won, yet.
Thanks to Well-Spoken Women for
Taking Us Onward and Upward
Photo credit: Paolo Bovo, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons