An Evening with Jodi Kantor

Vermont Women's Fund - An Evening with Jodi Kantor

“What are we going to be able to tell our children? That the #MeToo moment passed? Or where were you when the wall came down? And what did you do?”

These are the questions investigative journalist, Jodi Kantor, posed to a capacity-crowd of more than 700 people assembled in Burlington at a special gathering hosted by the Vermont Women’s Fund in early February (2018).

Since October 2017, when the Harvey Weinstein story broke, thanks to incredible work of Kantor and her New York Times colleague Megan Twohey, we have experienced a true sea change around issues of sexual harassment and abuse, most especially in the workplace.

The Harvey Weinstein story, chronicled a 30-year history of sexual harassment and predation in the film industry. Then, the explosion of the #MeToo movement quickly followed. As it turned out, Weinstein’s behavior was not so different from other powerful leaders who engaged in inappropriate behavior and were publicly fired or forced to resign.

When Jodi gave the keynote address at our 2016 annual event, we celebrated her stories that put a spotlight on harassment and pay equity issues in Silicon Valley and her story that inspired Vermont’s own Mamava. Who knew back then that Jodi’s reporting would start a cultural revolution?

Thanks to her investigative reporting and to the actresses who were brave enough to go on the record with their stories, a light is shining on women’s struggles like never before, revealing the inequities of the power dynamic at its very core. Jodi explained that the strength of the Weinstein story came from the women; these women were more famous and held more public trust than the harasser. The “moral impetus” shifted when women who previously agonized over whether or not to tell their stories, took the risk and hoped for change. Jodi shared that over and over, women told her, “If I don’t come forward, will someone else get hurt?”

The highlight of February’s event with Jodi was an open question and answer period. The most poignant question came from a Champlain Valley Union High School student who posed, “What should my generation do?” Jodi stayed true to her role as a journalist and responded with a thought-provoking question of her own, “You are the first generation attending high school and college since this public airing. Let’s see how that plays out. How will your generation decide to respond?”

This is an ongoing story and one that we will be following as it relates so strongly to the Vermont Women’s Fund’s work with Change The Story and our mission to fast track women’s economic security. We are so grateful to Jodi for making the time to come to Vermont when she is in such high demand and stay tuned for more about her book, being published in spring 2019.

Event photos by Barrie Fisher Photo