Jane Fonda has been using her celebrity to further progressive political causes for decades, and on Thursday she continued that tradition by visiting Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, to encourage U.S. lawmakers to expand protections for female farmworkers and domestic workers.
As Variety reports, the “Grace and Frankie” star was joined by several female activists while meeting with Democratic lawmakers, including Senators Cory Booker, Patty Murray and Bernie Sanders.
“We are here with the domestic workers and the women farmworkers and, as has been said, these women, often women of colour, often migrants, immigrants, are very, very vulnerable and they work in a very isolated way and their voices are not heard,” said Fonda, 80, at a press conference.
“Hollywood realized that we have the privilege of being able to stand alongside these most vulnerable women who don’t have privilege and whose voices are not heard and lend our support to that,” she continued. “We are like repeaters, those towers at the top of mountains that can pick up signals in the valley and spread them out wider.”
She added that while visiting DC, “it occurred to me that my father, Henry Fonda, who was an actor, is very present with me,” pointing to one of her father’s most iconic films, the 1940 adaptation of John Steinbeck’s Depression-era classic “The Grapes of Wrath”.
As Fonda pointed out, the movie depicted farmworkers “fighting for dignity and rights and risking their lives doing so. Now we have women farmworkers who are even more vulnerable. So the issue of workers rights has been with me for a long time.”
Fonda also touched on the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements. “I never thought I would live to see a day when women were actually heard,” she declared.
“I am very aware of the fact that in the beginning, this happened the way it did because the women who were speaking out were white, and they were famous,” she continued, adding, “I think that there is a beautiful synergy that is happening now with celebrities in Hollywood being able to learn about the realities of working women who are far more vulnerable than we are, and this is going to be ongoing,” she said. “This isn’t something that is going to peter out. This is not a moment, it is a movement.”