By Corinne Ahrens on October 18, 2019
To sum up the importance of the event, Congressman Beyer noted that “when women succeed, America succeeds,” and this is something to keep in mind as we continue #FightingForEquality.
Congressman Don Beyer (VA-8) with Jane Fonda (left) and Megan Beyer (right) on Oct. 12, 2019.
On Saturday, October 12, Congressman Don Beyer (VA-8) hosted his Fifth Annual Women’s Conference and Forum: Nevertheless, She Persisted. The event took place at George Mason University’s Arlington Campus and featured an impressive lineup of female speakers, presenters, and moderators. Notable guests included Megan Beyer, Marie Ridder, Tanya Bradsher, Carol Jenkins, Jocelyn Frye, Lisa Sales, Dorianne Mason, Michelle Millben, Marion Brunken, Dr. Bonnie Stabile, Kenda Sutton-El, Mary Huber, Gracia Melendez, and special guest- Jane Fonda.
Congressman Beyer’s annual Women’s Conference brings an array of “local stakeholders and experts” together to discuss the current social, political, and economic issues impacting women. The Conference offered attendees an opportunity to learn more about local organizations that focus on voting reform, women’s representation, and local women’s issues through tabling and exhibiting run by community organizations. Presentations and conversations that occurred within the event’s Plenary Session focused on the Wage Gap and Unfair Pay: Cents and Insensibility as well as two breakout sessions focused on Driving Social Good: The Powerful Convergence of Everyday Life and Social Impact and Women’s Rights and the Law: Understanding the Impact on Women’s Issues.
During a “Fireside Chat” with Megan Beyer, Jane Fonda had much to say about climate change, feminism, and the importance of activism and political participation. Fonda believes that we are currently “facing an empathy crisis” and connected debates surrounding Title X and women’s reproductive rights to the idea that “if a woman has control over her body, she has control over her life!” Following her Friday arrest, Fonda urged attendees to join her at the U.S. Capitol for “Fire Drill Fridays” that aim to bring attention to the importance of acknowledging and working to fix climate change. Fonda also made it clear that “we [as voters] should not vote for anyone that does not support a Green New Deal.” With this in mind, the centrality of Fonda’s remarks come from her belief that “women are not as vulnerable [as men] to the disease of individualism” and that “if we’re going to make [change], it will be because women will stick together.”
Congressman Beyer’s annual Women’s Conference and Forum: Nevertheless, She Persisted provides those interested in women’s issues, both locally and federally, an opportunity to come together and learn more about the moment’s most pressing issues. The conference creates a space for attendees to network with those who share similar interests, hear from women experts leading some of the most important conversations, and participate in a dialogue open to the community and experts alike. To sum up the importance of the event, Congressman Beyer noted that “when women succeed, America succeeds,” and this is something to keep in mind as we continue #FightingForEquality.
Corinne Ahrens is RepresentWomen’s Fall 2019 Communications Intern from West Chester, Pennsylvania. She is a Sophomore at American University in Washington, D.C. studying Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies as well as Political Science with a specialization in Gender, Race, and Politics.