Mirren calls on women

To change the future by voting

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif.  — At a Friday event to recognize philanthropic contributions by Hollywood women, Helen Mirren said women can “change the landscape for future generations” by voting in the upcoming presidential election.

“It’s time for the best role model in the White House,” Mirren said to cheers from the overwhelmingly female audience.

The annual Variety Power of Women luncheon celebrates women’s leadership in charitable and humanitarian efforts. Held at the Beverly Wilshire hotel, the event also recognized Miley Cyrus, Scarlett Johansson, Ava DuVernay, Laverne Cox, fashion designer Georgina Chapman and Spanx founder Sara Blakely and the various nonprofits they support.

Mirren, who was honored for her work with the Stuttering Association for the Young, said she used to think such women’s events weren’t necessary, that women should just “barge their way in” to positions of power.

“I’ve come to realize this is a fantasy,” she said. “Without an organization, without a megaphone to make your voice heard, your voice remains feeble. It is ignored.

“In the next few weeks we will see a real-life example of this,” she continued, “as women of all ages and all economic situations, all professions, vote.”

Mirren wasn’t the only honoree to mention the upcoming election and women’s role in it. Johansson, an advocate for Planned Parenthood, said reproductive rights should be “taken off the ballot.”

“A woman’s right to choose what to do with her body shouldn’t just be a women’s rights issue,” she said. “It’s the year 2016, and this is a human rights issue.”

DuVernay, who works with 1000 Black Girl Books, said it’s important to celebrate women, “especially in a society, in our culture right now, where at the highest levels of public discourse there’s been such a degradation of women.”