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United State of Women

United State of Women

For years, we have fought. Ever since that loud, determined voice rung out above the crowd, demanding women’s suffrage, demanding equal rights, we have fought. Our voices have commanded attention, recognition, respect. We have marched, sung, cried, and celebrated in all our efforts to be given the same strong handshakes, and offered the same opportunities as our male counterparts.

Over time, our fight has gotten easier. People have listened, lawmakers have lent an ear, and we have made steady progress. Even still, though, there lies a gap between men and women, a gap we need to conquer.

This year, Michelle Obama held a summit called The United State of Women, which hosted hundreds of prominent and successful American women to address key societal gender gaps and goals for equality.

Our first job in life as women… is to get to know ourselves, and to fight the limited definitions that people have of who we are. Michelle Obama

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Michelle emphasized that as women, “we spend our time pleasing, satisfying, looking out into the world to define who we are.” She stressed that instead, “our first job in life as women… is to get to know ourselves,” and to fight “the limited definitions that people have of who we are.”

Notable participants included Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi and Piper Kerman, author of Orange is the New Black. These women gathered to focus on six major pillars: economic empowerment, health & wellness, educational opportunity, violence against women, entrepreneurship & innovation, leadership & civic engagement.

The strength and wisdom present in the room was tangible as speakers gave their advice and opinions on women in society. Notable participants included Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi and Piper Kerman, author of Orange is the New Black. These women gathered to focus on six major pillars: economic empowerment, health & wellness, educational opportunity, violence against women, entrepreneurship & innovation, leadership & civic engagement.

President Obama put it perfectly: the daughters of this generation are not waiting around for the world to come to its senses, they expect the world to catch up to them.

One of the summit’s major initiatives is the White House Equal Pay Pledge, under which companies must reassess their hiring and promoting process and conduct annual gender pay analysis to ensure equity. Thanks to a communal effort, the summit produced $50 million worth of commitments to improve the lives of women and girls around the world.

Though we haven’t yet won, this fight is one in which women are prepared to triumph. President Obama put it perfectly: the daughters of this generation are not waiting around for the world to come to its senses, “They expect the world to catch up to them.”

Lani Allen

Lani Allen is a junior at Columbia University majoring in Creative Writing with a concentration in Spanish. Having served as Vice President of her class for two years, she has since contributed written pieces and illustrations to many on-campus publications. As a writer with an interest in the beauty industry, Lani intends to pursue a career in either journalism or fashion marketing.

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