Variety held its annual Power of Women event at Cipriani on Wall Street, presented by Lifetime Television. While the luncheon has always been an occasion to honor important women and the charitable causes they stand for, this year’s event took on particular weight in the wake of #MeToo, as many presenters and honorees spoke passionately about the movement and its gains (while still managing to squeeze in some jokes). Below are a few of the highlights from the day:
Host Samantha Bee, on the importance of hiring women at the Power of Women event:
“If you are in the position to hire people, take it from me and hire women. Sometimes you just gotta put your money where your mouth is and go for it. They’re incredibly smart, they smell like flowers, and you save a fortune because they only cost a fraction of what you pay men.”
Tina Fey, honored for her work with Reading Is Fundamental, on why women are not cappuccino machines:
“When I first started out, female comedy writers were treated a bit like cappuccino machines, where if you tried to hire a few more between seasons, people would look at you like But we have one! It’s you. We have one. And God forbid the one you had was a little bit broken because then it’ll be like: Oh, you know, we had one before and it didn’t work. We got rid of it.
Somewhere in that time early on in my career I kind of made a vow to myself to not accept that privilege of being the only woman in the room, to make sure that I was not a cappuccino machine, and to use any power that I had to create opportunities for others.”
Viola Davis introducing #MeToo founder Tarana Burke and talking about how sexual violence disproportionately affects women of color at Variety’s Power of Women:
“I don’t think that people really understand that when sexual assault happens to a woman, she describes it like a death. Usually, that’s how it becomes, that’s how it described. Let me tell you about the time and the day that I died. She leaves her body and the journey to becoming a survivor and overcomer, to bringing the oppressor to justice, is a long road. And more than likely she is suffering from PTSD, dissociative disorder, she has flashbacks, she has eating disorders, suicide, depression … it is traumatic.
And so if you could imagine how horrific that is, then also imagine that a black woman is 66 percent more likely to be assaulted again if she is raped before the age of 18. That 96 percent of the people who are sex-trafficked are women, and 77 percent of them are women of color. Which is why usually nothing is done about it …. if you can wrap your mind around it, if anything is lower than people see than being a woman, it’s being a woman of color.”
Read more about the Power of Women event on thecut.com.