Becki Smith of Smithhouse Photo
Diana Pearl
October 22, 2017 02:32 PM

Sophia Bush has long used her social media feeds as a place to voice her feelings on hot-button issues like the presidential election and gun control. But in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, she’s spoken up even more about women’s rights and the harassment so many females face on a daily basis.

That’s why the timing was so perfect for Bush to serve as keynote speaker of the Create & Cultivate conference‘s Second Annual Style Summit (in partnership with Simon Malls) in Houston on Saturday, a get-together for women looking to make bold moves in their careers and personal lives.

Ahead of the conference — which was planned before Harvey hit the Texas city and raised funds for the Hurricane Harvey Relief Fund — Bush spoke to PEOPLE about the organization and her passion for women’s rights.

“Even in ‘advanced’ countries, women are ignored, passed over, mistreated and subjugated at rates that are unacceptable,” she said. “It’s impossible not to feel frustrated when you look at the data that shows us this unfortunate reality. And until those numbers change, I’ll be rallying around, and for, women. We shouldn’t have to work so hard just to get to the starting line. The starting line should be the same for all of us.”

RELATED VIDEO: Emma Watson Explains Why Some Men Have Trouble with Feminism

The actress recently shared her own #metoo story following the Weinstein allegations, and said she believes the words ‘me too’ are “the two most powerful words in the English language. If we can use them as a bridge to join hands with other women and create authentic support systems for one another, we can do anything. Being there for other women. Believing other women. Standing up for other women. Showing up for other women. It starts there.”

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