Kamala Lopez, Patricia Arquette, (Photo: THT)
Kamala Lopez, Patricia Arquette, Nicolette Sheridan (Photo: THT)

by Dr. Laura Wilhelm, LauraWil Intercultural & Valerie Milano

Milano interviewing, with other reporters, Gloria Allred (Photo: THT)
Milano interviewing, with other reporters, Gloria Allred (Photo: THT)

Los Angeles, CA (The Hollywood Times) 8/29/16 – On August 26th, 1920 the 19th Amendment to the United States Constitution granting women the right to vote was certified as law.  The amendment was first introduced many years earlier in 1878.

Every U.S. President has published a proclamation for Women’s Equality Day since 1972, the year after legislation was first introduced in Congress by Bella Abzug.  This resolution was passed in 1971 designating August 26th of each year as Women’s Equality Day.

But are U.S. women really equal?  Director Kamala Lopez examines this controversial question in her documentary EQUAL MEANS EQUAL, which screened on the evening of Friday, August 26th, 2016 at Laemmle’s Music Hall Theatre located at 9036 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills.

The unrated one hour and thirty-three-minute film was preceded by an all-star red carpet graced by actress Nicolette Sheridan and followed by a panel discussion to promote Women’s Equality Day.  Director Kamala Lopez and Executive Producer Patricia Arquette were front and center on the red carpet to discuss the film.

“This is the civics class we’re never given in school,” said Patricia Arquette at the panel discussion, which also included Kamala Lopez and Gloria Allred among others.  Allred is a lawyer known for taking on high-profile women’s rights cases who was born in Philadelphia and received degrees from the University of

Bamby Salcedo is the founder of the Los Angeles-based TransLatin@ Coalition, which according to its website "is an organization form[ed] by Trans Latin@ immigrant leaders who have come together (Photo: THT)
Bamby Salcedo is the founder of the Los Angeles-based TransLatin@ Coalition, which according to its website “is an organization form[ed] by Trans Latin@ immigrant leaders who have come together (Photo: THT)
Pennsylvania, New York University, and Loyola Law School in Los Angeles.  Noted Hispanic playwright and human rights activist Josefina Lopez (REAL WOMEN DON’T HAVE CURVES) was on hand to moderate.

Milano interviewing, with our reporters, Nicolette Sheridan (Photo: THT)
Milano interviewing, with other reporters, Nicolette Sheridan (Photo: THT)

Arquette, 48, used her 2015 Oscar acceptance speech for Best Supporting Actress (BOYHOOD) as an opportunity to champion women’s rights in America.  “To every woman who gave birth to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody else’s equal rights.  It’s our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America!”

In EQUAL MEANS EQUAL Kamala Lopez uncovers how outdated and discriminatory attitudes inform and influence seemingly disparate issues such as workplace harassment to domestic violence, rape and sexual assault to the foster care system, and the healthcare conglomerate to the judicial system.  Along the way, she reveals the inadequacy of present laws to protect women.

“I found laws that are incomplete, insufficient, and in some cases actually deleterious to the women they are supposed to be helping,” Lopez says in her Director’s Statement on the film’s official website.  “What are noticeably and shockingly absent are the basic explicit human and civil rights protections that men are afforded by the Constitution.”

For the complete statement and more information, please visit http://www.equalmeansequal.com./

Kamala Lopez and Gloria Allred (Photo: THT)
Kamala Lopez and Gloria Allred (Photo: THT)

In unflinching detail Lopez illustrates how the American system repeatedly fails women in their dual roles as underpaid wage earners and underserved mothers.  Possible solutions to “The War on Women” are presented in the form of the national Equal Rights Amendment and the international Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women.  However, the United States is still far from adopting either of these.

Perhaps the most definitive statement on gender relations in the film came from Presidential Medal of Freedom recipient Gloria Steinem, the world-famous publisher of MS. Magazine.  “We are linked, not ranked,” said Steinem.

THT prefers to keep the present article relatively short as EQUAL MEANS EQUAL will become available for house party screenings on Tuesday, September 6th, 2016.  Please see this fact-laden film for yourself and let it spur you to action during the two months remaining before the 2016 Presidential election!  Failure IS impossible.

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