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It was a celebration of the “phenomenal woman” as nonprofit Equality Now recognized social activist Gloria Steinem and Academy Award nominee Salma Hayek Monday night at the Make Equality Reality dinner at the Montage in Beverly Hills. “Let’s talk about feminism,” said host Kathy Griffin. “I’m sick and tired of these young girls not owning this word!”
Quincy Jones and actress-singer Mia Maestro both introduced their longtime friend Hayek who received a necklace designed by Tara Hirshberg engraved with her idol Steinem’s words, “Linked, not ranked.”
“Quincy is the first person who taught me how to do fundraising,” said Hayek.
In 2013, Hayek co-founded Chime for Change with Frida Giannini and Beyonce Knowles-Carter to strengthen the voice for women around the world who are denied basic rights. The global campaign recently released a new film, Humaira: The Game Changer, which follows education advocate Humaira Bachal as she creates her “Dream Model Street School” for girls and boys in Karachi, Pakistan.
“We need to make war against hate,” Hayek told The Hollywood Reporter. “I think that if you hate women you hate humanity. You hate life itself because there is no man who came to this world that did not come through a woman.”
“Until there is respect, equality and the curiosity to discover the magical miracle that is womanhood around the world we will not have a chance to find dignity for humanity,” said Hayek.
Congresswoman Maxine Waters had kind words for her close friend Steinem (they met at the Women’s Conference in Houston in 1977).
“She is a woman that had a great influence and impact on my life,” Waters said. “She knew who she was a long time before I knew who I was.”
Waters also hinted at Hillary Clinton‘s potential presidential bid during the night when she stated that girls will soon have a new female role model as the first woman president.
The night flowed into an appreciation for Steinem’s decades of activism.
“One of the issues is women are asked about it and men are not,” Steinem said about plastic surgery while speaking with THR on the red carpet. “To the extent that females are made to talk about or have plastic surgery more than males we can see is a problem. The pressure is greater in the entertainment industry, as I understand it.”
An introductory video paid homage to Steinem’s achievements. As she approaches her 80th birthday, Steinem shared in the video that although she knows she won’t be around for 30 more years, there is still much work to be done in the movement.
“If we are ever to have peace and democracy in the world, we must first have peace and democracy in the home,” said Steinem. “Right now in this country, home is the most dangerous place for women.”
The Raining Jane closed out the evening with a performance of hits including the Eurythmic’s “Sweet Dreams.” Other guests in attendance were Aubrey Plaza, Rosanna Arquette, Daphne Zuniga and past honoree Joss Whedon.
“If you think about the human race as a bird with two wings — if one is damaged or broken, no one can fly,” said Steinem.
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