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'We will not be silenced': Filibuster-famous Wendy Davis says women must speak up to fight sexism

"They win when we leave the conversation."

James Temple for Re/code

Wendy Davis made national headlines in 2013 when she filibustered for 11 hours on the floor of the Texas State Senate against a bill that restricted abortion access in the state. The following year, when she ran for governor of Texas as a Democrat, journalists asked her if she felt she had been treated differently in politics because of her gender.

“I answered, ‘No,'” Davis said on the most recent episode of Re/code Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher. “And I answered ‘no’ because I was afraid of coming across as a victim. If I could go back and do it differently, I would.”

Now out of public office, Davis is launching a digital women’s-rights initiative called Deeds Not Words that hopes to turn passionate millennials into confident political actors. She said hateful speech and behavior against women — both in the real world and on social media — must be called out for what it is.

“We will not be quieted, we will not be silenced, we will continue with these conversations and we will continue to call it out when we see it,” she said. “They win when we leave the conversation.”

Davis hopes Deeds Not Words will give young women a place to both connect and learn how to become politically active, though she stops short of calling it a social network.

“#BlackLivesMatter started as a hashtag, but it led to unbelievable and impactful activism,” she said.

Listen to or download the episode in the audio player above, or click here to subscribe to Re/code Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher on iTunes; we also just launched on Google Play Music! Or, you can also find Re/code Decode on TuneIn, Stitcher and Clammr.

Kara Swisher will be back in this space next Monday with another great guest. And on Thursday, don’t miss Re/code Media with Peter Kafka. This week, Peter talks to Redef CEO Jason Hirschhorn. Click here to subscribe to Re/code Media on iTunes, or click here to listen on Google Play Music.

You can also hear Kara this Friday on Too Embarrassed to Ask, her podcast with Lauren Goode of The Verge. Click here to subscribe to Too Embarrassed to Ask on iTunes right now, or click here to listen on Google. And you should also check out Re/code Replay, an archive of audio content from our events and interviews by Kara Swisher, Walt Mossberg, Peter Kafka, Ina Fried and more. To subscribe to that, click here for iTunes and here for Google.

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