Evening made possible through the generous support of GUCCI & Skype

3 November 2014: Bringing together an audience of change makers, philanthropists and celebrities, Equality Now celebrated its second Make Equality Reality fundraising event at the Montage Hotel in Beverly Hills, California. More than $550,000 was raised during the inspirational evening celebrating activist, writer and Equality Now Board member, Gloria Steinem, and award-winning actor and director, Salma Hayek Pinault. “Equality Now is proud to honor these dynamic women,” stated Global Executive Director Yasmeen Hassan, “for their integrity, their courage and their activism that changes the world every day.”

Opening with the declaration “Let’s talk about feminism!” fearless host Kathy Griffin had the audience laughing throughout the night with her sharply insightful comedy. Yasmeen Hassan paid tribute to Equality Now’s Efua Dorkenoo, a powerful activist who passed away in October, and gave a heartfelt speech on the need for collective action to create a better world. “Equality Now’s mission is clear — make good laws and enforce them to end awful practices…When women and men share equal rights our world is safer and there is less conflict. When you invest in women, everyone thrives.”

Next, actor and singer, Mia Maestro, and legendary music producer, Quincy Jones, teamed up to present Salma Hayek Pinault with Equality Now’s award in recognition of her efforts to ensure justice and freedom from violence for women and girls. Ms. Hayek Pinault spoke eloquently on the need for ‘conviction, compassion and commitment’ to evolve the human race — “EQUALITY NOW! This is not a request. This is a demand.” — and was visibly moved to be honored alongside Gloria Steinem. “Life has given me always much better things than anything I’ve ever asked for. Because I would never in my wildest dreams imagine that Equality Now would give me an award for the work that I have done with so much passion on the same night as one of my heroes…Gloria, this is much better than the Oscars!”

Congresswoman Maxine Waters presented Gloria Steinem with an award in recognition of her life-long work for women’s rights and gender equality. Upon taking the stage, more than 300 guests got on their feet to applaud Ms. Steinem and were then actively engaged by her thoughts on “feminine” and “masculine,” reproductive freedom and domestic violence. “Consciousness is always the first step to making a profound change…We have, I think, figured out, what the beginning key to ending violence of all sorts is. And that is the equality, the safety, of both men and women.” She concluded with, “If you think about the human race as a bird with two wings, you understand that if one is damaged or broken, no one can fly… We are here tonight … to make sure that once again — as in times in the past — once again the human race can fly.”

Introduced by actor and Equality Now supporter, Daphne Zuniga, the audience was also captivated by young actors and activists, Vikki Eugenis, Odley Jean and Darci Siegel, who performed an excerpt of The Arts Effect NYC’s play, “A Day in the Life.”  The play expertly illustrated just how nuanced and damaging the sexualization and exploitation of girls is in the United States. Closing out the evening was a lively performance by the talented musicians of Raining Jane.

View pictures from the event:

Click on image above to enlarge, or click here.

Make Equality Reality was co-chaired by Paula Ravets and Equality Now’s Board Co-Chair, Sue Smalley, and was attended by Equality Now co-founder and honorary president, Jessica Neuwirth, as well as last year’s honoree, Joss Whedon, members of the Honorary Host and Event Committees, and friends and supporters of Equality Now. The event was produced by Control Room.

Watch videos from the event:

Gloria Steinem Yasmeen Hassan A Day In The Life

Equality Now is deeply appreciative of everyone who contributed to making the evening a success, and would like to extend a special thank you to: