This year’s Oscar best supporting actress Patricia Arquette spoke again about women’s equality, this time at the UN Women’s event for the 20th anniversary of the Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing Tuesday night. A rally was held at New York City’s Hammerstein Ballroom.
Arquette famously used her Oscar acceptance speech last month as a platform for making a statement on equality for women. At the time the actress called for equal pay for equal work for all women.
Last night she continued on that theme saying, “Let’s get real here! This is about supporting families and giving women what they have already earned from their hard work. It’s time that we stop forcing women to pay what is effectively a gender tax.”
Arquette also talked about growing up in poverty. “If I were to tell you as a child that there were times when I lived below the poverty line, literally not having shoes to wear that fit me, that would also be true, ” she said.
“If I told you that I was a single mother at 20 and lived with my baby in a converted garage, and that I would worry about my baby’s nutrition while nursing because I could only afford to eat macaroni and cheese mixed with water for a week so that I could afford diapers, that would also be true. But truer still is that my past hardships are irrelevant to why I’m here today. I’m not a lone-standing activist, I’m not an academic, but there’s something I am that qualifies me to speak out, and it is not the fact that I’m an actor, or a woman. It’s simply the fact that I am a human. I am an American, I see what is happening to women in America. That is reason enough.”
The actress added, “As we rightfully fight for women’s rights everywhere, we need to remember those on our shores as well, so I’m focusing this speech on America — an undisputed superpower and a self-professed world leader, and in many ways, it is.”
“However, in a recent study analyzing wage equality in 142 countries, America ranked a 65th. Women make less than men for the same work in nearly every profession and industry, from entry-level positions to high-powered executives, no matter if you have a high-schools diploma or a PhD. It’s insidious, it’s devastating.”