It has been a momentous year in the ongoing battle for global gender equality, but there is still much more to be done, Amal Clooney has warned. The Beirut-born human rights lawyer delivered a keynote address at the Massachusetts Conference for Women in Boston on Thursday, where she gave a stirring speech on the tumultuous issue. “We are living through a moment of reckoning and a rebalancing of power,” the 40-year-old told attendees, according to the event’s Twitter account. “But it’s a long way from #MeToo to Never Again. For too long, women have suffered abuses without speaking out or without being believed.”
The mother of two, who shares 1-year-old twins Ella and Alexander with Hollywood actor husband George, was also joined by her father-in-law for a discussion. Wearing a midi leather skirt and sleeveless black turtleneck, both from Givenchy, Amal sat down with veteran broadcaster Nick Clooney, where she opened up about her experiences with sexual harassment. “In the sense of unwanted advances that were inappropriate and awkward to deal with, yes,” she revealed, after being asked if she had ever experienced harassment. “I think at the time, I would not have felt comfortable speaking out about it because other [women in similar situations] weren’t, and so I think that’s changed now,” the lawyer added, according to the Daily Mail.
The renowned philanthropist shared, however, that she believes the world will be different for her daughter. “I think the workplace is safer for my daughter and is more fair than it was,” Amal added. “I don’t think women of her generation are going to expect that that’s just something that we have to put up with and I think now it’s the men, or the harassers, who have something to fear and not the victim and that’s a very good change, so thank you to the women of the #MeToo movement.”
Amal, whose clients include Nobel Peace Prize winner and Yazidi campaigner Nadia Murad, also stated that equality is “not just the right thing to do, it is the profitable thing to do”. “No country can reach its full potential until women have equal rights.” The star’s address came just days after she was honored with the UN Correspondents’ Global Citizen of the Year Award. Amal was recognized for her tireless and passionate work on behalf of refugees, those affected by conflict, and those in need of education at a ceremony in New York on Wednesday.
Amal was appointed to her first UN commissions in 2013, including acting as an adviser to Special Envoy Kofi Annan on Syria, and first spoke at the UN in 2016, revealing why she chose to represent Iraqi activist Murad. Together with husband George, the British-Lebanese lawyer has also been behind several philanthropic moves this year, with the couple pledging to donate US $100,000 through their justice foundation to the Young Center for Immigrant Children’s Rights in June. They made the donation in an effort to help migrant children being forcibly separated from their parents at the US-Mexico border, citing their duties as parents.
“At some point in the future our children will ask us: “Is it true, did our country really take babies from their parents and put them in detention centers?” the couple wrote in a statement. “And when we answer yes, they’ll ask us what we did about it. What we said. Where we stood. We can’t change this administration’s policy but we can help defend the victims of it.” This also comes only a few months after the husband and wife donated US$500,000 to the March for Our Lives, in the name of their children.
On the day of the UN Correspondents Awards, the couple’s latest endeavor was revealed: TrialWatch. The global initiative will monitor court trials where there is a risk of abuse, and rank countries’ judicial systems. “Today, courts all over the world are used as tools of oppression,” Amal said in a statement. “Governments get away too easily with imprisoning opposition figures, silencing critics and persecuting vulnerable groups through the courts. Trial monitoring will shine a light on these abuses.”