Graduation from any level of education is significant, but this year, there is added meaning to the ceremonies.
According to the Associated Press, 2018 marks a milestone in U.S. college graduation exercises, as “the majority of the nation’s top colleges are featuring women as their spring commencement speakers” for the first time in at least two decades. The impetus behind the change? AP reports that industry experts are crediting the swing toward female speaks to the #MeToo movement that has reignited the flame of female empowerment in the United States and around the world.
And the increase in female commencement speakers this year is significant; AP reports that this year, “women account for nearly 60 percent of the speakers at the 25 schools that have the largest endowments and traditionally carry the clout to draw big names to the lectern.” In previous years, however, AP says women accounted for a mere quarter of the speakers at those same schools over the past 19 years.
While AP says that while some universities said the #MeToo movement didn’t specifically shape their decisions, companies hired to find commencement speakers said that they’ve seen a major increase in requests for women that correlated with the timing of the the #MeToo movement’s inception and takeoff.
“There’s been a much bigger push to bring in white females, black females — anyone other than a white male,” said Richard Schelp, owner of Executive Speakers Bureau.
So just who are some of the women speaking at graduations this year? For starters, Sheryl Sandberg will do the honors of delivering a commencement address at MIT, according to AP, while Dartmouth will host Mindy Kaling. Not to mention Amal Clooney will descend upon Vanderbilt, while AP says Hillary Clinton will return to her alma mater and speak at Yale’s commencement.
The Glamour Women of the Year Awards celebrate some of the strongest and most inspiring women in the world today, and this year’s awards were no exception.
According to HuffPost, at the Nov. 13 ceremony, Olympic gymnast Aly Raisman, attorney Anita Hill, police officer Ann Cardenas and model Cameron Russell all took the stage of the King’s Theatre in Brooklyn, N.Y. to share their own #MeToo stories, stories of sexual assault and misconduct that have followed since news broke of allegations against Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein.
Hill told of her experience in 1991 testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee after alleging that Clarence Thomas, a U.S. Supreme Court justice, harassed her when she was his boss and was therefore unfit to serve on the high court, reports HuffPost.
“The outcome of my testimony was not what I’d hoped, but in no way was it the final word,” she said. “In the five years after I testified, sexual harassment complaints filed with the EEOC more than doubled. Legislation against harassment slowly but surely began to pass. And I saw that we had a chance to shift this narrative.”
Raisman also shared her story, says HuffPost, saying that she is one of many abused by Larry Nassar, a former U.S. Olympic and USA Gymnastics team doctor.
To prove that there is always another #MeToo story out there, HuffPost says Raisman and Cardenas asked audience members to (if they were comfortable doing so) stand if they personally or someone they know has experienced assault, harassment or abuse.
The outcome: “Not a single person was still seated,” according to HuffPost.
Contestants of a recent Miss Peru pageant threw tradition to the wind and in the process, brought attention to a very worthy issue.
According to Vogue, during a specific portion of the pageant, contestants are typically asked to share their bust, waist and hip measurements, but instead, they “offered statistics about gender violence in their country.”
One woman, Camila Canicoba, shared that her measurements were that “2,202 cases of femicide reported in the last nine years in my country,” while another, Almendra Marroquín, offered that “more than 25 percent of girls and teenagers are abused in their schools,” reports Vogue.
As the contestants were sharing the statistics, Vogue says newspaper clippings were shown behind them, displaying headlines of different murder and assault instances against women. In the final round of the competition, the issue was brought up yet again, Vogue reports, this time asking contestants to share “how they would best help to end femicide in Peru,” an “initiative is part of a larger movement in Latin America, #NiUnaMenos, ‘not one less,’ started by Argentine feminists.”
Here’s to using these pageants for more than just judging the appearance of women.
Broad City’s Ilana Glazer had enough of sexual harassment. So she did something that not many women have the chance to do.
According to HuffPost, the actor took to Instagram to post her own response to the #MeToo campaign, a social media movement that reawakened after many women came forward to share their stories of sexual harassment against famed producer Harvey Weinstein. In her post, Glazer detailed the numerous occasions in her life when she was subjected to sexual harassment, going back as early as her middle school days.
However, as she landed on her current stage in life, HuffPost says Glazer wrote that she fired staff for sexual harassment.
“i’ve fired a couple dudes — one background actor and one sound guy. i was asked ‘are you sure?'” she wrote. “hm 🤔 okay yeah lemme think a sec — YEAH I’M FUCKING SURE. cuz getting sexually harassed seems to be a constant, but having the opportunity to do something about it is rare.”
Way to go, Ilana!