Girls! We run this mother. Girls! We run this mother." Beyonce echoed throughout the auditorium on a day where women in power throughout the United States were celebrated during the United States of Women's Summit hosted by the White House. Remarkable women like #FLOTUS and Oprah graced the stage to share how they were commanding a society historically dominated by men. GIRL POWER filled the Washington E. Carver Convention Center in D.C. as leaders, advocates, entrepreneurs, and policy-makers took the stage to talk gender-equality and a female takeover. One of the nation's biggest feminists was present as well; President Barack Obama. During the summit, President Obama pointed to himself and acknowledged what a real feminist looked like. In honor of the Fourth of July, we have some of the biggest takeaways from the summit at Capitol Hill.
Take-away #1: In a society where women are marginalized based on their gender and appearance, women have to be pillars of strength and stand-up and overcome gender stereotypes. Vice President Biden spoke to one of the worst stereotypes involving rape culture. Women can be victimized simply for just being a beautiful you. Make-up and clothing choices often criminalize women who fall victim to sexual assault and rape. A big point hit home was to start holding men more accountable for THEIR crimes committed, and to offer more support for the women who fall victim. Sexual assault is never a woman's fault simply because she was wearing a short skirt. Nobody is ever "asking for it". Ladies, do your part and be better, not bitter! Support the women in your life and lead by example to not fall into these stereotypes of others. Meghan Yap, who introduced Vice President Biden, said: "I was powerless against my attacker, but I am not powerless against rape culture." I urge all those #caughtcakin to see how you might take a stand to help end rape culture. And, if you see something, say something.
Take-away #2: #FLOTUS said it best when Oprah asked her "What can men do?" Her response was classic. "Be better. Be better. Be better. Please." As Oprah burst into laughter (a sound I never dreamt I'd hear in real-life) the women in the room nodded unanimously in agreeance. The women of the world are on the move, so men better step it up. Just take 11-year-old entrepreneur Mikaila Ulmer for example. Mikaila followed her curiosity and later found herself featured on SharkTank to fund Me and the Bees Lemonade. She has been picked up in Whole Foods and knows that if you BEElieve in yourself, anything is possible. Our founder and CEO, Cashmere Nicole, overcame the adversity of breast cancer, put her faith in Jesus, and used grit to persevere in the beauty industry. You can conquer, too.
Take-away #3: This is the greatest country in the world hands-down. Freedom is a fickle thing and doesn't mean much without an appropriate education. We should all aspire to be lifelong learners at some capacity. Kerry Washington discussed the importance of gaining economic empowerment and freedom. With access to education comes knowledge and with knowledge comes freedom. Make sure we are all doing our part to be as equipped as possible to run this mother. In the words of Maya as spoken by Oprah, "make me proud to spell my name W-O-M-A-N."
Check out more at http://www.theunitedstateofwomen.org/.
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