The last year has been one of historic highs and extreme lows. On one hand, we’ve lost progress on climate change, we’re more divided across party lines than ever and we’re faced with a rotating cast of high-profile men who have used their power to abuse women. On the other hand, this has also been a monumental time for women’s rights. From the Women’s March to the silence-breakers who came forward and shared their stories as part of the #MeToo movement, women are making one thing clear: We’ve had enough.
On Tuesday night, SheKnows Media kicked off the BlogHer18 Health conference in New York with the Voices of the Year Awards honoring some of the biggest female change-makers of our times. Among them was Chelsea Clinton, who received the Call to Action Award for her work with the Clinton Foundation. In her acceptance speech, Clinton expressed how important this moment in history is, not only for women today, but for future generations, saying, “I hope that my children will have the same benefit and challenge of growing up with the expectation of engagement.”
Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey, the journalists who broke the history-making Harvey Weinstein story for The New York Times last fall, also received an award for their bravery. Onstage, Twohey spoke about the significance of the #MeToo movement. “This is the first time that women were able to come forward with their allegations without fear of being shamed, of being abused in the public spotlight. But it wasn’t just the predators that came into focus — it was also the systemic failures that have allowed them to operate unchecked.”
Gwyneth Paltrow received the Trailblazer Award for founding and growing her company, Goop. Her dedication to starting a business from scratch has inspired other women to take risks and pursue their own goals, no matter how big those goals are. In a taped video acceptance speech, Paltrow said, “I never let go of my vision — I just see a bull’s-eye, and it might be really far away, but I’m just going straight for it.”
Also present to receive awards were Bob Bland, Carmen Perez and Linda Sarsour, founders of the Women’s March Global. “When we say ‘women’s rights,’ we mean all women,” Perez said to cheers from the crowd. Other honorees included artist Krista Suh, creator of the Pussyhat Project, and Tarana Burke, founder of the #MeToo movement, whose daughter Kaia accepted the award on her behalf.