Acceptance speech empowers women

Patricia Arquette uses her Oscar’s speech as a platform for women’s rights


Most viewers of the 87th Academy Awards may not have tuned in for the social or political commentary, however, they received just that during Patricia Arquette’s Best Supporting Actress acceptance speech for her role in “Boyhood.” Arquette commented on the need for gender equality in society, an issue that has recently gotten much more attention in the media due to more open dialogue amongst the celebrity community.
“To every woman who gave birth, to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights,” Arquette said. “It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America.”
Senior Leanne Flazon, an intern at the University of San Diego Women’s Center, watched Arquette’s speech online after it circulated the internet through all types of social media.
“I think it was really beautiful that Arquette used her platform to raise up voices that are not usually heard in mainstream media, but there are women who do this work, fighting for a higher minimum wage, greater social support, and equal pay every single day who almost never get recognized the way Arquette has,” Flazon said. “So I think it is unfortunate that we only find the time to glorify actors.”
Nevertheless, women’s rights and the wage gap are very prevalent issues. According to the National Women’s Law Center, in California alone, women only make 83.9 cents for every man’s dollar. And the statistics are worse for women of color, who make 63.8 cents on average for every white man’s dollar. While this is a nation-wide and global issue, it affects the women of USD as well.
“For the women at USD who are working multiple jobs at minimum wage to support themselves, their education, and their families, [the need for] equal pay and a living wage constantly affects their lives,” Flazon said.
Even though this is such an important issue, many people are still uneducated about the wage gap and how it affects women today.
Freshman Emma Nowakoski feels she is not fully aware of these facts, although she would like to be.
“I feel that there is a lot more that I could know,” freshman Emma Nowakoski said. “I know that it exists and I feel that it is something that is not publicized very well.”
Change cannot happen without the support of all women advocating for better pay and equality in the workforce. USD prides itself on being a Changemaker campus, and therefore, women and men, need to band together to fight the inequality that is waiting for women in the workforce.
“Until we as a country guarantee access to affordable childcare, provide flexible working conditions for parents, and stop funneling women into the lowest-paid industries, I’m not sure we will see much change in the wage gap, as it has been at a relative standstill for the past ten years,” Flazon said.
The Women’s Center, which is located on the fourth floor of the SLP, has great educational resources for all women at USD. Students can attend a StartSmart Salary Negotiation workshop on April 30, which is hosted by the Women’s Center. At the workshop, students can learn more about the wage gap and what individuals can do to advocate for themselves in the job market.
March is also “Women’s Herstory Month”, which gives women a great way to learn more about current issues and means of empowerment. The Women’s Center is hosting many different events throughout the month including a talk by Leslie Morgan Steiner, an Exhibit hall in the UCs, and a short-film festival.
It would benefit USD students to follow Arquette’s lead and empower women throughout this “Herstory Month.”