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Oprah Winfrey’s Speech At The Women of The World Summit Give Insights On How Powerful A Woman Can Be

Oprah Winfrey’s appearance at the 2019 Women of the World Summit in New York on Wednesday night April 10 was less a conventional keynote and more a woman’s right rallying cry.

The TV host and philanthropist begins her keynote address with a speech from 19th century abolitionist and women’s rights activist Sojourner Truth. Striding onto the stage, Winfrey posed the burning question, “Can women save the world?” before swiftly offering an unequivocal answer of her own. She says,

“We already are,” the media titan boomed. “We’re bad asses. And above all, we show up, we show up.”

She continues:

”What’s all this talk about women’s rights? Some men at the back there says women are not allowed to have as much rights as men because women need to be helped into carriages, and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place!

And ain’t I a woman? Look at me! Look at my arm! I have ploughed and planted, and gathered into barns, and no man could head me! And ain’t I a woman? I could work as much and eat as much as a man – when I could get it – and bear the lash as well! And ain’t I a woman?

I have borne thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother’s grief, none but Jesus heard me! And ain’t I a woman?”

READ ALSO: Women Summit: Michelle Obama & Oprah Winfrey Speak on Gender Equality

”We women people are used to saving the world,” she says, among them a rising wave of women politicians in the U.S. who have been “forged by fire.”

The game was not built on a level playing field,” Oprah says, encouraging women to use their positive energy to help combat inequity.

Oprah also shares lessons on leadership she’s garnered from her own life, historical figures, and New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern. She further stated:

“We have to make the choice to channel our own inner Jacindas (Prime Minister of New Zealand),” adding that human connection and acknowledgement is the only way to combat global problems such as climate change, racism, and sexism.

“I’ve never seen such leadership,” Winfrey said to booming applause, adding the world’s youngest leader set a “global standard in leadership.”

Winfrey said to the cheering crowd:

“Jacinda Ardern projected peace and goodness. We need to make the choice, every single day — to channel our own inner Jacindas. To exemplify the truth, and the respect and the grace that we actually wish for the world.”

READ ALSO: Oprah Reveals How She Demanded Equal Pay for Her Female Staffers

Talking about Jacinda’s bravery and leadership skills, just hours after a gunman opened fire on two mosques and killed 50 people – including children – and injured 31 others in New Zealand last month, Ms Ardern appeared before the nation.

She condemned the shootings, labelled the attacks “terrorism” and said the perpetrators had “no place in New Zealand”.

The following day, Ms Ardern met with Christchurch’s Muslim community, after telling them it was “for you to determine” how she should spend her time there.

She wore a black headscarf, embraced a mother, listened to mourners intently and told the community the nation was “united in grief”. Her response was widely regarded as inclusive, compassionate and genuine.

Within 10 days of the attack, Ms Ardern announced that tighter gun laws would be introduced in New Zealand. Her deputy Winston Peters, leader of power-sharing and usually anti-regulation party NZ First, said he supported the move.

Winfrey added:

“So women across the country showed their solidarity by wearing head scarfs to emulate the hijab that Ms Ardern chose to mourn in and the Arab community felt their benevolence.

Fifty murders could have brought even more destruction but instead led to a portrait of the Prime Minister displayed across Dubai’s tallest building with the word ‘peace’ shining above it.”

Watch the full speech below:

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