This Week in Women: Not Today, Motherf*cker!
This week, we are looking to the women who are inspiring us and using their superpowers for good—clapping back on cyberbullying, fighting assailants, and standing up for girls’ futures around the world. In the days since International Women’s Day, leaders have continued with the momentum to build a larger platform around women’s rights. Throw on your cape: it’s time for This Week in Women!
Women’s Topics Take Center Stage at The United Nations
During the United Nations’ open session on the Commission on the Status of Women, Time reported that U.N. Secretary-General Anthony Guterres expressed concern that women were experiencing “new assaults on their safety and dignity” on a global front. “Our world needs more women leaders,” Guterres said. “And our world needs more men standing up for gender equality.”
The 61st session focused on bringing together world leaders to discuss issues—including productive employment, equal pay, unpaid care work, mobility, and technology—with a focus on “Women’s Economic Empowerment in the Changing World of Work.”
An official statement from the U.N. put it plainly: “While today’s workplaces are increasingly being shaped by innovation, globalization and human mobility, it is also deeply impacted by persistent gender-based discrimination, rising informality of labour and income inequality.”
Today, a powerful group of women leaders will be meeting to speak on a Gender Gap panel, which includes luminaries, such as fashion designer Mara Hoffman; Carmen Perez, Women’s March national co-chair; Jennifer K. Stuller, feminist pop culture historian, author and media critic; and others.
Uzo Aduba And Kesha Use Public Appearances to Speak Out About Social Injustice
Uzo Aduba—the actress best known for her role on “Orange Is The New Black”—addressed celebrity status and social responsibility this week at an ACLU benefit dinner.
“Everything we make, we create, is to say something,” she said, in a statement to Women’s Wear Daily. “So then suddenly in your life you’re gonna be silent? It is our duty as artists to use our voices as loudly and as passionately as we do when we’re on stage.”
Aduba has made headlines in the past with her activism and eloquence around issues such as LGBTQ rights, the Women’s March, and equality. In January she told The L.A. Times (while holding a “What Meryl Said” sign), “It’s ours to change. We actually don’t necessarily need to have massive coalitions, massive groups or bodies of government. We the people are able to advance and make change. So I want to live my change daily.”
Aduba represents a faction of Hollywood activism that shows no signs of slowing down, as people look to artists and creatives to share their feelings and build advocacy groups.
Kesha also grabbed the world’s attention this week by participating in a panel discussion on cyberbullying at South By Southwest. “You’re making people you don’t know your higher power,” she said, according to Billboard. “I was making trolls, I was making bullies, I was making people I had never met before who were projecting their insecurities on me, on the Internet—I was making them the truth, the higher power.”
Badass Seattle Runner Takes Down Attacker
The unsung heroes are often the people living their day-to-day lives, performing extraordinary feats of bravery, strength, and conviction when it matters most. One of these stories is about Kelly Herron, a Seattle resident who went out for a run on March 6. What happened to Herron is horrific, but hers contains an amazing—albeit regrettably rare—plot twist that is taking the Internet by storm.
Herron was out on a training run when she stopped to use a public restroom at Golden Gardens Park. Upon entering the restroom, she was attacked by a man hiding in her stall (later identified as 40-year-old registered sex offender, Gary Steiner). In a statement posted to Instagram, Herron credits a self-defense class and says, “I fought for my life screaming ‘Not today, M**F**er!’, clawing his face, punching back, and desperately trying to escape his grip—never giving up. I was able to lock him in the bathroom until police arrived. Thankfully I just took a self-defense class offered at my work and utilized all of it. My face is stitched, my body is bruised, but my spirit is intact.”
Thanks to Herron, we have a new battle cry: “Not today, Motherfucker!”
Lead graphic by Jordan Levinson
Stay tuned to Milk for more of This Week in Women and check out our previous installments here.