Last Friday Jessica was honored at Power of Women NY for her work with Planned Parenthood and also for being a vocal supporter of women’s rights everywhere. Scans of Variety issue are also in our gallery.
Variety published her full speech, and you can now watch in our video archive. Also, a transcription has been added and you can read it below:
First of all I have to thank that incredible lady Lena there for such a wonderful intro and I’m so inspired by everything that she does for women and for girls of all ages, and I know I’m probably not the only that is excited to see what she’s does next.
I feel so honored to be in the company of the women in this room and the inspiring Chelsea Clinton, Blake Lively, Gayle King, Sheri Redstone, Audrey McDonald and Tina Knowles.
Variety, thank you for hosting this event today and for bringing us here together to shine the spotlight on organizations that support and empower women around the world. I feel privileged to stand here with Planned Parenthood, an organization that is so vital, indispensable now more than ever. Over 270,000 pap test and 360,000 breast exams are provided at Planned Parenthood annually, which detects and prevents cancer. The numbers do not lie. We need Planned Parenthood.
As the daughter of a single mother and a low income household I am indebted to the organization. As i grow up they made it financially possible and accessible for me to educate myself and to make decisions regarding my health and my future. Planned Parenthood is an incredible organization that provides women with the opportunity, the equal opportunity of that of her male counterparts of having jurisdictions over her life, her body and her health and the knowledge to make necessary personal choices.
It is crucial that to fight for this and I believe that we can and we will prevail. Why? Because women are strong, we are powerful, formidable, we are a force to be reckoned with. Women are half of the population and we’re not going anywhere.
The brilliant Gloria Steinem, who’s one of of my personal heroes, defines a feminist as “anyone who recognises the equality and full humanity of women and men”. This was shown around the world on January 21st when nearly 4 million people marched for women’s rights. It was the largest protest in the history of the United States. I can’t begin to tell you how much i love that the largest protest in the history of the United States is called The Women’s March.
Yes, millions of women and their allies marched in solidarity for the principle that women’s rights are human rights and when an individual’s right are under threat, we are all under threat.
What i felt that day in our nation’s capital was the warmth of intersectional feminism. The diversity that was represented was inspiring as we were all there united for equal rights, not only for women but for all humans. I felt a surge of hope and a certainty that no matter what is thrown our way, we are capable of demanding and creating change so we must educate society by accepting only behaviour, words and laws that protect us all.
In January we set a collective resounding no to policies that could hurt us and it was a declaration heard around the world. Most recently women said no to a certain Fox News anchor. After years of sexual assault accusations and settlements were unearthed. Women’s rights group called for the advertisers to pull their support from the show and companies listened. And so did Fox and as a result this news hour will now be known as simply “The Factor”. This is our collective power in action.
Little girls are born believing that they can do anything and be anything that they dream but as we grow, society tells us otherwise… We must let each girl know that she can be the CEO of the fortune 500 company, she can be a successful filmmaker, and yes, she can be the president of the United States.
I see gender discrimination in my industry everyday. There is no shortage of female talent and yet women make up only 7% of filmmakers today. On the set of my most recent film, The Zookeeper’s Wife, I had the rare feeling of being surrounded by other women at work, while in truth, women made up not even half of the crew. We were creating a movie directed by a woman, produced by a woman, adapted for film by a woman, based of a novel written by a woman and telling the heroic true story of a woman and let me tell you, not only did the world keep turning but that movie is currently the highest grossing speciality film of 2017.
So, women are good for business. I’m hopeful that we are approaching a day when this will be the rule and not the exception on the set of films and in other male dominated fields. It is time that we use our voice to say no to being outnumbered and under valued and while it is so important to recognize the challenges ahead it is vital that we keep moving forward to persist, talk can be powerful but actions more so.
We need to ask ourselves: “what am i doing to make a difference in this world?” It begins by saying no to sexual harassment. It begins with demanding fare pay and turning down the job where you make half as much as your male counterpart with equal experience. It begins with donating to organizations such as Planned Parenthood and motivating others to do the same. It begins by supporting other women and embracing this sisterhood because we know that each woman’s accomplishment is a victory for us all.
Huge thanks to my friend Mouza for help on transcribing her speech. Check screen captures added in our gallery.