Leadership

Arianna Huffington on the Women's March: 'This is the moment for women to find their voice'

Last year's Women's March set the tone for 2017.

Motivated by the 2016 U.S. election, women around the world took to the streets to vocalize their frustration. With numerous allegations of sexual misconduct in the workplace, a growing #MeToo movement and a blatant gender pay gap in 2017, women will march worldwide this year as well.

Arianna Huffington, founder and CEO of wellness site Thrive Global, says this movement has been a long time coming.

"We've seen so many powerful men be toppled that this is not just another social media hashtag moment," she tells CNBC Make It.

In fact, 2017 saw political wins for women that may foreshadow a turning tide. In Virginia, women unseated 11 male incumbents in the House of Delegates, one of whom is the first openly transgender female to be elected to the state legislature.

Film producer Harvey Weinstein was accused of decades of alleged sexual assault, resulting in a ripple effect of women speaking out on sexual harassment within the workplace and the ensuing #MeToo movement.

Mark Wahlberg (L) and Michelle Williams attend the premiere of Sony Pictures Entertainment's 'All The Money In The World' at Samuel Goldwyn Theater on December 18, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California.
Getty Images
Mark Wahlberg (L) and Michelle Williams attend the premiere of Sony Pictures Entertainment's 'All The Money In The World' at Samuel Goldwyn Theater on December 18, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California.

Just this year, USA Today reported that Michelle Williams was paid less than 1 percent of her male co-star Mark Wahlberg to reshoot scenes for the film "All the Money in The World." Though this type of pay disparity has been embedded in the workplace for years, the report led to a further outcry from women and a renewed interest in equal pay by gender.

"It's quite amazing that we continue to be facing a pay disparity after this has been an issue for so many years," says Huffington.

Women in Hollywood and beyond have also banded together for Time's Up, a campaign to tackle harassment and sexism in the workplace, regardless of the industry. As of this article's publication, the Time's Up legal defense fund has brought in just under its goal of $19 million.

Arianna Huffington speaks onstage during the "THRIVE with Arianna Huffington" panel at The Town Hall during 2016 Advertising Week New York on September 28, 2016 in New York City.
Slaven Vlasic | Getty Images Entertainment | Getty Images
Arianna Huffington speaks onstage during the "THRIVE with Arianna Huffington" panel at The Town Hall during 2016 Advertising Week New York on September 28, 2016 in New York City.

Huffington believes that we are living in a historic moment. One that will bring about changes in the workplace and changes in what's considered acceptable behavior.

"This is real and now we have to make sure that this leads to systemic change affecting low wage workers, as well as women in the entertainment and the media industries," says Huffington.

The media mogul has acknowledged in the past that it will be up to women to lead this charge in revolutionizing the workplace.

"The workplace and all the habits that we embody were introduced by men. And now, it's time for women to say [those habits] are not working," she told Fortune in 2017. She still stands by that sentiment.

"I think women have an opportunity to say we don't just want to be at the top of this world, we want to change the world [and] the way it is designed," says Huffington." Because let's face it, right now this world is not working for women [and] it's not working for men."

Protesters walk during the WomenÕs March on Washington, with the U.S. Capitol in the background, on January 21, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Mario Tama | Getty Images News | Getty Images
Protesters walk during the WomenÕs March on Washington, with the U.S. Capitol in the background, on January 21, 2017 in Washington, DC.

Huffington, who has two daughters in their twenties and oversees many young female employees at her wellness company Thrive Global, advises women to speak up when it comes to salary negotiation and make it clear that unwanted advances in the workplace are not welcome.

Likewise, she urges women to speak out "in real time" rather than harboring this type of injustice and waiting years to publicly come forward. "This is the moment for women to find their voice," says the businesswoman.

Though Huffington does not specify whether she will be attending the march herself, she says that her daughters and many of her employees "absolutely" will.

"The Women's March is another pivotal moment that has been so influential in the way that our lives and beliefs have been shaped," Huffington tells CNBC Make It. "There's nothing more important, I think, than women being empowered."

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