Your Platform, Your Voice, A Feminist Panel

“No one can now say you have to sleep with a guy to get involved in politics,” said Michaelle C. Solages, Hofstra alum and New York State Assemblywoman, “Women need to speak up, not to be shy. We are strong, we multitask, and we get done what needs to get done!”

On October 24, 2017, The Hofstra Campus Feminist Collective partnered up with the organization Platform to hold a panel in the Netherlands Core discussing the experience of three career women in politics and the importance of every woman using her voice.

Jen Mandelblatt, the founder of Platform, introduced the event along with Lola Solis, Hofstra junior and president of the Hofstra Campus Feminist Collective. “Young women just need a platform to make our voices heard, our words respected, and our rights protected,” said Mandelblatt while introducing the guest speakers. “Platform is for all who identify as women. All members will be respected and heard.”

Included on the panel were Torey Van Oot, Senior Features Writer for Refinery29, Assemblywoman Michaelle C. Solages, and Rachel Noerdlinger, managing director of Mercury and former chief of staff to Chirlane McCrayNew York City Mayor Bill de Blasio's wife.

Photo Credit: Marissa Matozzo

The three women were mostly asked questions relating to their experience as women in politics, how they overcame difficulties regarding the latter, and what advice they could offer to feminist young women and politicians. They also discussed how women could still make their voice heard under the Trump regime and how to not be silenced by Republican dominance in society.

“I believe in demonstration and legislation, and finding new ways to be engaged,” said Noerdlinger. “There’s nothing stopping us but ourselves,” she said.

When asked how to combat misogyny and injustice in politics, Van Oot said, “Start with your inner circle. Talk about issues, start small to build critical mass. The more dialogue you insert day to day, the more normalized it becomes....Trump is changing the relationship between the press and White House, and the White House and the truth.”

“Contact your legislator, so that they can know what people are talking about,” Assemblywoman Solages held up her phone, “Use your voice and call! Smartphones have opened up the world so that we can get involved in politics in our daily lives.” 

Also in attendance at the event was Jennifer Reres, the Chair of Ms. Foundation’s Young Professionals Advisory Committee. Ms. Foundation is a non-profit with a quintessential feminist founder, Gloria Steinem.

After the panel was moderated, refreshments were provided, as well as networking rotations. Hofstra students formed groups of four and were able to speak with the three panelists, Platform directors, and members of Ms. Foundation.

“I thought this event would be important for Hofstra students because there is not enough confidence with women in places of power,” said Solis. “Platform reached out to CFC over the summer to have the event on campus. I researched the organization and found it was intersectional and uplifted the voices of women in politics.”

The panel was essential for CFC members and Hofstra students to meet with accomplished women in a very progressive and modern field.

“Women always say sorry and doubt ourselves while men don’t,” said Assemblywoman Solages. “We have to think like Beyonce," she said with a laugh. “We do run the world, as well as businesses and families. Think about it."

“These are some unique times,” Noerdlinger added, “So get out there and be fearless.”