Held only two days after a contentious presidential election, the Atlanta Women’s Foundation luncheon had two iconic speakers to offer insight and advice after Hillary Clinton’s historical loss. These two women, activist and actress Jane Fonda and feminist Gloria Steinem sat side by side at the same luncheon twenty years ago to kick off the Number Too Big to Ignore annual fundraiser event.
“I am scared as a woman with daughters and granddaughters,” Fonda said, “but I’m optimistic.” Fonda continued, ““As women, we have to have each other’s back no matter who we voted for.”
Sitting in the audience inside Georgia World Congress Center’s Thomas Murphy Ballroom, it was easy to feel the friendship and shared comfort between these two strong leaders. I sat amongst 1600 other women and felt instantly connected not only to the palpable frustration expressed by many in the room but also to the speakers frank and honest voices.
Admittedly, I grieved for 48 hours as I realized that there would not be a woman elected as the first female president of the United States. But Steinem summed it up best when she said, “Solutions are both deep and simple. You should do what you feel. You can do things, know things and accomplish things that no one else can.” Political activism may be the answer – to get involved in the micro level and impact real change.
Change can start in your own family. Steinem said, “Raise our daughters like we raise our sons. And we have to raise our sons like they’re our daughters. We will never have a democracy until we have a democratic family.”
The work is definitely not done nor by a long shot, is it over. It is just the beginning. Let’s surprise ourselves by finding out what we are really capable of. Let’s say a collective “Yea!” when we find out which one amongst us is that dazzling political star and strengthen their voice through ours.