Women's rights have come a long, long way in the past century, but the struggle for gender equality isn't over yet. Though populated by battles against systemic injustices, the fight could not advance if the bonds and support systems created between women were absent. In a conversation at this year's MAKERS conference, feminist icon Gloria Steinem and actress America Ferrera highlighted just how crucial it is for women to lift each other up.
In a discussion that spanned a range of topics — from the presidential election to diversity in Hollywood — Ferrera spoke of intersectionality and interdependence between social justice movements.
The award-winning actress and producer noted that she had grown up surrounded by strong women, including her mother whom she described as "a force of nature." Yet despite her strong female relationships from when she was young, it took some effort on her part to consciously "unlearn" the culture of seeing other women as competitors and instead value the inspiration and support that they lent her.
"When I stopped thinking of other women as competition to me and started thinking about them as my partners in life... my whole experience of life changed," Ferrera said in response to a question from the audience.
"Now," she continued, "I have so many friends and dear mentors and women in my life who keep me going ... And I hope for so many young women growing up today, that the stories we're telling them about [themselves] and their female relationships are positive ones."
Cover images via Jonathan Leibson / Getty Images for AOL.