Jennifer Morrison has had a lengthy and successful career in Hollywood, starring on TV shows like House and How I Met Your Mother before settling in as Storybrooke savior Emma Swan on ABC's Once Upon A Time . Spending so many years in the industry is bound to teach you many valuable lessons, and Morrison's no slacker when it comes to using the platform that has come along with her success for good. As part of her position as an advisory council member for the ANNpower Vital Voices Initiative, which aims to foster young girls into leadership positions, Morrison spoke to a group of high school students in Washington D.C. on Monday, June 15, about the importance of kindness, perseverance, and most importantly, of supporting one another as women. And if anyone knows how brutal the competition between women can be, it's Morrison, who has spent over a decade in show business.
"There were several times in my life that I had some pretty major obstacles, externally and internally, to overcome in order to be a stronger version of myself, and in order to be able to continue to grow and to change and evolve into the actor today and the director I am today and ultimately be in positions of leadership on set and with the people around me, and do it in a way that I hope is graceful and kind and productive," she said during her speech. It was a message she hoped would resonate with the young girls before her, and certainly one that all of us can learn from at any time.
During her address, Morrison also recalled being in a salon several years ago as the other women there tore apart the female celebrities they saw on the pages of the magazines they were looking through. "It's very scary to exist in that place. That's not helping anyone. We're talking about trying to bridge a gender gap that's been a problem for a really long time," she explained. "Yes, we're actually getting better at it — salaries are getting better, there's more and more women moving into leadership in the world, which is wonderful — but we also have to be kind to each other and support each other."
It's an important thing to remember, considering that the gender gap is still very much in existence and the only way that we can start to bridge it is by sticking together, empowering one another, and being truly supportive of our fellow women rather than in competition with them. There's certainly enough room for us all to succeed, and the chances of more of us doing so are only increased when we help lift one another up rather than attempting to drown each other out. It's an issue that's close to Morrison's heart, as she told People magazine following the ANNpower event this week:
One of the greatest obstacles that women face in all businesses — not just the industry, but it's pretty prevalent in the industry — is that women aren't always very nice to women. Men do this thing where they sort of band together and they support each other and try to lift each other up and try to encourage each other to get these different positions, and women somehow seem to be fighting against each other instead of for each other.
I think we can all agree that only good can come from deciding to buck what society tells us about competing with each other and started embracing the things that make us unique and special as women, and as individuals. Thankfully, people like Jennifer Morrison are out there actively working to spread that message and help the movement along. I'd say that's pretty inspiring, wouldn't you?
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