The Most Powerful Quotes That Came Out Of The United States Women's Summit

In case you missed it, The United States’ held it's first ever Women’s Summit on June 14th. The convention is an effort to rally advocates of gender equality together, highlight what women have achieved, identify the challenges we still face and chart the course for addressing them.

The United States of Women conference was a celebration of how far women have come. And we have come a long way. The goal of the summit, however, was not only to highlight what women have achieved, but to start conversations about how far we still have to go, both in this country and around the world. Among the speakers were Billie Jean King, Jen Welter, Kerry Washington, Amy Poehler, Patricia Arquette, Connie Britton, Planned Parenthood president Cecile Richards, Vice President Joe Biden and President Obama.

The summit addressed six major areas including:
-Economic Empowerment & Equal Pay
-Health and Wellness
-Educational Opportunity
-Violence Against Women
-Entrepreneurship and Innovation
-Leadership and Civic Engagement

Moreover, the summit went further than just talk and started on the path of action. The White House announced $50 million in commitments to improve the lives of women and girls around the world, including initiatives that target gender gaps in society.

One initiative is the White House Equal Pay Pledge, through which companies promise to conduct annual gender pay analysis and ensure equity though hiring and promoting procedures. Giants including Airbnb, Amazon, PepsiCo, Johnson & Johnson, Pinterest and Spotify have signed the pledge. The Department of Labor is updating its sex discrimination guidelines for the first time since the 1970s and companies like AOL and Oracle are joining a $20 million investment in women’s education through First Lady Michelle’s Let Girl’s Learn initiative.

President Obama, introduced by his daughter, Malia, opened with a powerful speech. He started by saying, " I may be a little grayer than I was eight years ago, but this is what a feminist looks like". He dedicated part of his speech to how far women have come, saluting the fearless women who have paved the way for us, while going on to address the gender issues that we face today and what we need to do to start solving them. Some of my favorite points:
First Lady Michelle Obama and Oprah sat down together for an enlightening while casual and friendly chat. I watched it in it’s entirety and it is worth every single second. Watch it below.


They tackled a myriad of issues, including women’s roles in the household, education and how men can positively impact the gender equality movement. First lady Michelle Obama told women that their primary goal ought to be to get to know themselves and like themselves so that they can continue to push for equality.
The crowd was largely female, but there were notably many men in the audience as well. When Oprah asked the First Lady what men can do leaving the summit, Michelle responded with, 
As far as continuing the fight for women, Michelle Obama had this to say,

The whole day ran long because Joe Biden went off script and talked, and passionately, for twice his allotted time about sexual assault and violence against women. Biden acknowledged that, as the Stanford rape case proves, a culture of victim blaming and offering leniency to the abuser is a sad but true fact. His main message was that in order to change the culture of violence, men need to get involved. He called for changing our culture and encouraging bystander intervention, saying “You guys in the audience, we’ve gotta overcome this social discomfort of calling out the misogyny that happens when no women are present: the locker room talk, the bar banter, the rape jokes,” he said. “As a man, maybe it makes you uncomfortable, but if you let it pass because you wanna become of the one guys, you become an accomplice.”

I have my issues with Biden, his reputation as a champion for women is spotty (for a later discussion) and his speech was flawed and could be construed as mansplaining, but focusing on the positive- we have a man in power speaking out against violence against women, and he has used his power to encourage action on gender violence throughout his political career. In 1990, he introduced the Violence Against Women Act. He created the Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault in 2014, and later that year, helped launch the It’s On Us initiative. He recently wrote an open letter to the woman sexually assaulted by Stanford student Brock Turner.

His bottom line was:

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