March is Women’s History Month.
Last week, the political action committee EMILY’s List hosted a pre-Oscars brunch and panel appropriately titled “Resist, Run, Win.” The organization was founded in 1985 with the mission to elect pro-choice, Democratic women to office — but interest and involvement has surged since Donald Trump’s electoral college victory in November 2016. A historic number of women are running for office in 2018, many with the support of Emily’s List.
On February 27th, several hundred women (and a handful of men) gathered in Beverly Hills, eager to hear the panelists’ words of advice, hope, and wisdom. The conversation was moderated by activist, comedian, and author Chelsea Handler, who serves as co-chair of the PAC’s creative council.
The panel was comprised of former senator Barbara Boxer, former editor-in-chief of Teen Vogue Elaine Welteroth, and three entertainment figures who double as activists: Amber Tamblyn, Constance Wu, and Padma Lakshmi.
Each woman brought her own unique, valuable insight to the table. Here are six of the most inspiring, insightful quotes from “Resist, Run, Win”:
1On the importance of women supporting women
“You don’t have to be everybody’s best friend, but as a woman you have to be a sister to every single woman you meet.” — Chelsea Handler
2On turning our anger into action
“So much of this is about harnessing our anger and making sure that we’re using it proactively and that we are actually creating change and action with the anger that we have. Women are angry and women are organized. We’re angrinized.” — Amber Tamblyn
3On the power of young people
“I forced myself to challenge the status quo [at Teen Vogue] and that’s what ultimately transformed youth media. But I didn’t do it by myself. There were allies in my office that I relied on. It’s so empowering to be surrounded by young people who are fearless, because we can look through history and see that young people have always been at the forefront of change. Young people have always been fearless and adults are mired in our limitations. Sometimes we need to drag adults forward.” — Elaine Welteroth
4On the “scarcity complex”
“It’s not [that women] are inherently competitive [with each other]. I think it’s a scarcity complex. There’s so few women in politics and on movie posters, and the images we see affect what we think we can achieve when we’re kids. And if you think there’s only one slot for a woman, of course you’re going to be competitive. So it’s the culture that has created an environment of competition. It’s not our inherent selves, which is why I think doing this is so important.” — Constance Wu
5On the importance of what we teach both young girls and boys
“It’s important to bring in the young boys. They hear such mixed messages. It’s no wonder they think they should be aggressive and make the first move… We have to promote women being strong and girls being powerful and going after what they want, and what their strengths lead them to. We also have to be sensitive about the messages that we’re giving to young boys because they didn’t start out the way they wind up.” — Padma Lakshmi
6On doing what’s right, even when it’s unpopular
“When I voted against the war in Iraq, I cannot tell you what that was like. Eighty percent of Californians supported the war in Iraq. I got literally strung up for that vote and I stuck with it. I said, ‘This is wrong, it’s a disaster, it’s never going to end, it’s awful.’ I was proven right and in the next election people saw that. So even if [something] is a momentary step back, people will look back later and say, ‘That person had courage.'” — Barbara Boxer
As Amber Tamblyn said during the panel, we’re in the midst of a revolution. Thanks to EMILY’s List and the amazing women who are running this year, we’re poised to increase the number of women in public office — and it looks like it will happen far more rapidly than many of us believed on the night of November 8th, 2016.