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A conversation with Eva Longoria and Karla Martinez

22.06.2019

A conversation with Eva Longoria, Actor, Director, Producer and Activist and Karla Martinez, Editor in Chief, Vogue Mexico and Latin America

“Representation matters”

 

By Yessica Trejo, Daniel Elizondo; HEC Paris

 

For the closing of the Women’s Forum, Eva Longoria, stated that women face a reality that sometimes pulls them out of the workforce, out of opportunities to advance in their careers; that is why women have to support each other, to accomplish collective goals and also individual goals. It comes to how to stay independent, how to keep ahead, how to advance in our careers.

Following up on the subject Karla Martinez questioned what prevents women from building confidence, especially in a time when social media sets the stereotype of what women should look like.

In Eva Longoria’s words: “There is a systematic oppression for women that is centuries old. We have been told in life that we are not equal and that those opportunities are not for you, they are for men.” This systematic oppression, diminishes women confidence. We have to let them know about their worth and potential. In order to achieve this, women need to be more represented, in government, society, schools. We have to be conscious of what we tell young girls, of what we tell them they can be.   

Eva tells the story of a time she posted a picture in the White House, all the comments she received where about the way she looked, and what a beautiful first lady she would be. Why isn’t she told she would look great as president? The reality is that any men who posts a picture in the white house would receive at least a comment of how presidential he looks. We as a society by making this comments, limit women’s aspirations to being a great first lady, we keep out of the scope the possibility of aspiring to be the president. We need to set that aspirations on young girls, and we can do so by encouraging them, removing these limits, and being an example. In the US 51% are women, but still there are not enough women in office, there is not enough representation of women in government

Women need to be raised to be independent, to dream high and fight for her dreams. Eva states she has been raised by strong women, she was feed with strong positivity when growing up. Karla’s parents as well support her to be independent, to reach her own goals. But that doesn’t happen to majorities, as patriarchy is still present in our society, not every woman is raised with that kind of positive reinforcement. Women who have had this privilege should be encouraging others, they need to hear more of this affirmations, they see more examples in order to gain confidence and aim higher.

Women everywhere are facing unsafe work places; not even Hollywood is exempt.  Time’s up is trying to do something against this. This movement started in the living rooms of some Hollywood actresses that started talking about what they have been through in the industry. It evolved to a movement that is not only representing Hollywood, but representing women across all industries that are facing inequality or harassment. Misconception about activism is that we think we are not big enough, not famous, but change starts with one person. We can provoke change, even if it is only for one person.

If you are in a position of leadership it is your responsibility to mentor a girl, it is our job to ask for women to fill positions. By mentoring other we get to encourage them to speak up, to dream big and to reach their full potential; we ensure representation of women grows.

Brands have the power of influencing people, of changing the stereotypes that for years have been engraved in women ‘s minds. L'Oréal, a brand founded by women, is trying to do so by its slogan “Because I am worth it”, it is trying to encourage women to find their self-worth and use it as a super power.

And this is the perfect close for an event that leave the audience encouraged to start a change, or to keep making a difference, to speak up for the women that don’t have a voice and to act accordingly to help them find their voice. To aim and reach higher for other women to see, because “Representation Matters.”

 This article is part of a series on #WFAmericas. Watch the full session on YouTube.