“I have to start with myself. Self-care is not selfish. It is self-esteem. I have to be good to myself so I can be good to others. [Humanitarianism] starts at home.”
That was said by Ashley Judd at the closing of Athena International’s 35th Anniversary Leadership Conference on Tuesday.
Judd, who many know from her performances in movies and on stage, is also a humanitarian and political activist. She has traveled the world working with programs that focus on poverty alleviation, public health, human rights and social justice. She also is also a board member of Population Services International and a Global Ambassador for YouthAIDS.
Those in attendance included women leaders and men, and they listened to Judd discuss her struggles, enlightenment, fights and the importance for women being leaders and ensuring their voices are heard through the patriarchy that exists to not only better them, but everyone.
She told those in attendance the importance of a “strong female to female alliance.”
“Women are so creative and industrious,” said Judd. “We need to stand for somebody instead of against our fellows. There are people in this world that do not want to have this discussion [of social justice for women].”
Judd also said that women should be comfortable with who they are, and not be shamed for how they look, or choose to look.
“It’s respecting everyone, with what ever she is doing in this moment,” said Judd. “I have a right to be who I am in this body with out fear of commentary.
“I look at myself in the mirror and say wonderful things about myself. If I can do that for myself, I can do that for other women.”
Athena International was founded in 1982 by Martha Mayhood Mertz, and is a non-profit organization that supports, develops and honors women leaders. Its aim is to inspire women to reach their full potential and strive to create balance in leadership world-wide.