Thousands of women, including Hollywood stars, gathered in San Jose Friday for the Watermark Women’s Conference where networking, workshops and inspiring speeches were all on the agenda.
Among the women in attendance were Amal Clooney and Reese Witherspoon as well as Jodi Kantor, who broke the story about Harvey Weinstein’s alleged abuse and sparked the #MeToo movement.
As an investigative reporter for the New York Times, Kantor opened up about her work and said she couldn’t have imagined it would prompt a massive new movement, with thousands of women coming forward to tell their own stories.
"It felt much more like a spontaneous uprising," she said. "The idea that women were actually doing it spontaneously and taking our work to a place we never could have imagined. It was really inspiring."
Despite the outpouring support, Kantor said that there still much more to be done for Me Too and it would not be easy.
"Solving harassment is not as easy as firing the alleged perpetrator," Kantor said. "We've got to have a gigantic, complicated, messy social discussion about what to do about it."
Watermark Conference For Women 2018
The conference tackled topics like leadership, diversity and gender equality. Issues that human rights attorney Amal Clooney told the crow were not yet present in our society.
"The issue for women is not so much bare numbers, but making sure we have opportunity and the same rewards as men do," Clooney said, "and I think we're not there yet."
Clooney’s message of equal opportunity in the workplace was a shared feeling among keynote speakers. Reese Witherspoon, who started her own production company said that sometimes, one has to create their own opportunity.
"How many women in this room have saved themselves?" she asked the crowd. "You don't turn to someone next to you and ask. What are we going to do and how are you going to help me? You pick yourself up, get a new job, get a better relationship and save yourself."
This was the fifth conference of its kind.