Allison Williams and Maggie Gyllenhaal Share Their Feminist Views at Keds's Be Bold Event

Photo: Brad Barket/Getty Images

Keds's latest mission is more than a stylish statement—it's a call to action.

"Be Bold for Change" reads the colorful mural that hung outside Tictail market on N.Y.C.'s Lower East Side, the site of Keds's inaugural International Women's Day event.

Actress, Keds Brand Ambassador, and activist Allison Williams participated in the event's panel discussion alongside fellow actress Maggie Gyllenhall, sharing her ideas about motivating others in the long-term pursuit of women's equality.

"I remember our former first lady, Michelle Obama talked about, when you make it you turn around and reach back and pull someone up with you, and that's an image I try to keep in my head because there can't be this phenomenon of women who get off on being the only girl in the room. You have to turn around and lift other people up behind you. Not because they can't do it themselves; because no one else wants them to be able to do it," she professed to the crowd. "So you have to decide—just deciding that because you're in a position of privilege, because you've risen to the ranks that you have, that you're just going to populate your office in a way that feels representative of the way the world looks. It's just a series of people making decisions on the behalf of other people, and also selfishly, 'cause when you run a company with a more diverse workforce, everyone wins … We need to start doing it and stop talking about it," she concluded.

Gyllenhaal spoke about coming to terms with public opinion, sharing the wisdom of a mentor: "When I thought about Hillary Clinton, I thought about all the vitriol that woman had slung at her and I thought 'How did she take it?' And this woman, much older than me, said to me 'What makes you think she took it?' I've been kind of like tripping on that. I've been trying to think about that. You know, you don't have to take it in," she advised the audience.

Both Williams and Gyllenhaal made clear their awareness of their own privilege, and a desire to use it to the advantage of others.

"For me as a white, privileged woman, there isn't that much at stake if I stand up and say what my politics are," Gyllenhaal said, "and so I guess I believe that it's my responsibility to stand up and say what my politics are."

Speaking candidly with InStyle, Williams said, "I've spent my whole life feeling like I'm working off the credit that I had from being born into such a fortunate situation, so all of my free time, for the most part, is—when I'm not watching The Bachelor—is spent doing work for Horizons, and I do a lot of work with RED overseas with HIV/AIDS work, and I do work with Keds, and I do work with the prison reform criminal justice system ... I do a lot of stuff—and a lot of it is private because I feel like I'm better off not telling people I'm creating platforms for other people to speak for themselves, because I can't speak to anyone's experience but my own."

Brad Barket/Getty Images

When it comes to being "bold for change" in her own life, the Girls star told us, "If I hear someone speaking in a way about a woman or women that is not appropriate, it's just like, 'Shut up.' There's no more time for this stuff anymore. So many groups need our love and attention—they just need everyone to focus on each of them and treat them with kindness and understanding and compassion."

VIDEO: Allison Williams's Red Carpet Style

Um, Allison Williams for President...?

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