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Nicole Kidman Goes All Feminist at Variety Awards

by Kerensa Cadenas
October 9, 2013 12:07 PM
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Nicole Kidman was honored at this year's Variety Power of Women awards for her work with UN Women to advance the rights of women and girls across the world. 

Variety's 5th annual Power of Women awards aim to highlight women in the industry who have used their high-profile status to make a difference in the world.

Kidman gave a powerful speech at the event, speaking about her work with UN Women and making it explicit that equal rights for women is extremely important. Here's Kidman's speech in full.

I am proud to represent UN Women on this wonderful occasion. Thank you Variety and Lifetime for acknowledging the work done by this important organization. Simply put, UN Women works so that half of humanity--women--can finally enjoy the same rights and opportunities as men.

I became involved because I was raised by a feminist mother who planted the seed early in me to speak out against the fact that women are so often treated differently than men. She was very clear with me: she said stand tall, do not settle for less than what is fair. Discriminating against more than 50 per cent of the population just because they are female is terribly unfair.

But it is also not very smart.

We know that when women have money, they invest more in their children, and therefore in our future. But in many countries, women cannot own land and have no access to credit. And almost everywhere they earn less than men for the same work. We also know that where women have a say in politics, they put more emphasis on social issues, on education and the environment. But only one in five Parliamentarians worldwide is female. And by the way: companies --and this includes the film and television industry, of course-- with more women in management positions turn a significantly higher profit. Only 21 women, however, lead Fortune 500 companies.

UN Women is a smart organization, and I have seen with my own eyes what they can do: they go and work directly with women in countries around the world. They support women to get elected into office and help them to have viable options to earn a living for themselves and their children. Right now, in conflict zones like Syria, where women and children are particularly affected, UN Women is rendering much-needed assistance to respond to women's humanitarian needs. UN Women supports women in Syria and elsewhere to make their voices heard.

I have also seen UN Women address what to me is the greatest injustice and outrage of all: violence against women. No matter how long I devote my time to this, I will never be able to comprehend and I will never accept that one in three women and girls will be raped, beaten or otherwise abused in their lifetime. UN Women supports local organizations, right at the grassroots, to provide shelter and support for survivors of violence. It works to change laws so that there can be no impunity for violence and it works with youth to prevent violence from happening in the first place.

I am asking you today: join me in advocating for women's rights, wherever you are, whatever you do. Support UN Women to fulfill its mission and vision of a world in which women can live free from discrimination and violence.

Thank you!

Kidman serves as UN Women's Goodwill Ambassador to promote women's rights across the world. She's also been the international spokesperson for the "Say NO - UNiTE to End Violence against Women" initiative which calls attention to acts of sexual violence and supports survivors worldwide. Much of Kidman's focus has been on ending violence against women. For more information on the work UN Women do, go here.

Kidman spoke more about her work with UN Women to Variety. Check out the video below. 

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More: Nicole Kidman, Feminism, Advocacy

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  • Kathy | October 12, 2013 2:34 AMReply

    I'm glad that Kidman talked about UN Women and I hope that in the near future, one of her movies roles will be feminist activist. I have heard women say that after they saw Iron Jawed Angels, they got the courage to start calling themselves feminists. When women saw Alice Paul and the Silent Sentinels risk their lives so that American women could vote, it showed that it's to cowardly to shy away from the feminist label. So I believe very strongly that we need to campaign for good movies about feminist activists.

  • Linn D. | October 9, 2013 3:18 PMReply

    @GRAOVRIAEJV: The statistics she is referring to are more for third world countries/areas than the USA or other Western countries. A great resource for facts, statistics and an education on the problematic situation is "Half the Sky" written by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.

    From their book description: Pulitzer Prize-winning reporting team, husband and wife Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, take us on a journey through Africa and Asia to meet an extraordinary array of exceptional women struggling against terrible circumstances. More girls have been killed in the last fifty years, precisely because they are girls, than men were killed in all the wars of the twentieth century combined. More girls are killed in this routine 'gendercide' in any one decade than people were slaughtered in all the genocides of the twentieth century. In the nineteenth century, the central moral challenge was slavery. In the twentieth, it was totalitarianism. In the twenty-first, Kristof and WuDunn demonstrate, it will be the struggle for gender equality in the developing world. Fierce, moral, pragmatic, full of amazing stories of courage and inspiration, HALF THE SKY is essential reading for every global citizen.

    (No, I don't work for them. It's just a great place to start for getting facts. And since they are news reporters they list their sources/data)

  • Kathy | October 12, 2013 2:25 AM

    Sorry but I had a problem with Half the Sky. The authors could have never written that book without global feminism and yet, they don't give credit to the feminist movement. Very cowardly and very unfair. Also, they bend over backwards, forwards and sideways to highlight men who are somewhat sympathetic to women's rights and in so doing, they perpetuate male privilege. WuDunn and Kristoff come across as compassionate male chauvinists.
    If WuDunn and her husband really believed in equal rights, they would have mentioned a book that Robin Morgan wrote in the 80's, Sisterhood Is Global. Morgan wrote about the same things that WuDunn and Kristoff write about and she wasn't afraid to use real word like patriarchy.

  • graovriaejv | October 9, 2013 1:55 PMReply

    Great well meaning articulation on the subject by Kidman until she starts giving statistics on how different men and women are when it comes to spending money when in positions of power. Where did she get these gender skewed statistics and why should it matter how much better women are at spending money when the matter of it is that women should simply just have equal opportunities at earning said amount?

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