Reese attended and spoke at the Watermark Conference for Women in San Francisco on Friday. The conference gathered prominent women from business and entertainment to speak to an audience “to promote, communicate and amplify the influence of women in the workplace and beyond”. Reese spoke about equality, ambition, what being a mother has taught her, and what the best advice she’s been given is. There were lots of snippets of quotes posted by people at the conference, and I’ve compiled a ton of them into a Twitter ‘moment’, which you can find below. The first high quality photos have been added to our Gallery:
• Watermark Conference for Women x27
Reese Witherspoon brings the power of #MeToo to Watermark Conference in San Jose
Reese Witherspoon says she could have earned a degree in English literature at Stanford University and gone on to study medicine, but the one-time teen actress couldn’t afford the tuition.
So she turned to movies and for a time rose to the highest level of fame and accolades in Hollywood, including winning an Academy Award. But along the way, the star of “Legally Blonde” and “Walk the Line” endured the dark side of a male-dominated, often misogynistic film industry. She suffered sexual assault by an unnamed male director when she was 16 and encountered rapidly diminishing career opportunities once she got into her late 30s.
On Friday, Witherspoon was back in the South Bay, probably more triumphant than ever. At the Watermark Conference for Women Silicon Valley, she took to the stage in front of 6,500 attendees as an emerging Hollywood power player, in her way embodying the promise of the #MeToo movement’s call for cultural transformation.
Witherspoon, as an actress and producer, has accomplished a recent string of hit film and TV shows centered on intriguing female characters, capped in 2017 by HBO’s Emmy-winning series “Big Little Lies.” She’s also one of the most prominent Hollywood women leading the Time’s Up movement to fight sexual misconduct and gender inequality in entertainment and other industries.
“I think this is a crazy new time: This year,” said Witherspoon, flashing her signature bright smile while in conversation with former Teen Vogue editor-in-chief Elaine Welteroth. “I mean, does anyone feel we’re on the precipice of something very different?”
When Welteroth suggested that there has never been a better time to be a woman in power, Witherspoon agreed, saying, “I don’t know what happened but they (men) are starting to listen.”
Witherspoon, a 41-year-old mom of three, then suggested that social media, with its ability to instantaneously transmit #MeToo’s call for women to share their stories, has a lot to with “women’s voices finally being heard.” It’s also given a way for women to effectively say “time’s up” on harassing or abusive behavior in workplaces and elsewhere in society, she said.
Witherspoon was the final of several keynote speakers at the 25th Watermark conference, which also featured international human rights attorney Amal Clooney. In certain ways, the conference’s slate of speakers represented the trajectory of the #MeToo movement, which was largely sparked by reporting in The New York Times about decades of sexual misconduct allegedly perpetuated by producer Harvey Weinstein.