Women make up around 50 per cent of the global population – and that means, women also make up 50 per cent of that potential when it comes to human capital. Hold that thought and just think about that if you’re reading this and having doubts what you can achieve in life.
Meghan Markle believes that “it is neither just nor practical for (voices of women)…to go unheard at the highest levels of decision-making”.
So if you are holding back on your thoughts or opinions because at the back of your mind, you’re thinking, no one will listen to you – STOP.
These world-famous celebrities are using their voices for good causes – and you can use that voice in you too. They might not have chosen easy paths, but at least they are trying.
Amal Clooney’s work in the field of international law, activism and humanitarian relief is often overshadowed by her marriage to George Clooney but the accomplished lawyer is making strides for marginalised people all over the world.
“If you are a lawyer, and you want to take on easier cases, you can prosecute traffic violations or something. You’d have a very high rate of success, and you probably could sleep more easily at night. But that’s not what drives me,” says the Lebanese-British barrister of her decision to pursue human rights law.
The UNHCR Special Envoy Angelina Jolie joined Foreign Secretary William Hague to visit the Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda in March 2013, campaigning against the use of rape as a weapon of war.
The mother of six called on governments worldwide to give the issue the attention that it “desperately deserved”, and said: “Unless the world acts, we will always be reacting to atrocities, treating survivors rather than preventing rape in the first place.”
The Harry Potter alumni delivered one of the most memorable speeches of the decade as she launched the United Nations’s #HeForShe campaign in October 2014, calling on men worldwide to help achieve gender equality.
She said: “Men – I would like to take this opportunity to extend your formal invitation. Gender equality is your issue too.”
While Eunice has always been an advocate for women’s causes, she blazed a new path to get the issues dear to her heart out there by launching WomenTalk TV some years ago.
“We started this show because we wanted women to not feel alone in certain situations and to give them a platform to be seen and heard so they could inspire and empower each other with their stories,” she says.
Malala was only 11 years old when she started writing an anonymous diary about what life was like under Taliban rule. Since then, she’s has survived an assassination attempt, won the Nobel Peace Prize and addressed the UN General Assembly.
“When I survived the attack and when I woke up in the hospital, my mind was very, very clear, that this life is for a cause,” she says. “This is a second life, and it is given to me for something greater than what I was before.”
Former Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli has moved onto charity work since retiring. “It is extremely important for me to be on the tennis court once in a while whenever we have time and just have fun with it, really. Being on the tennis court and hitting the tennis ball is really such a true pleasure,” she says.
“I miss it, but today it is not my primary goal when I am waking up. My goal is to work for my business, work for my fashion line, to work on my design, to work on my charity.”
Much like Emma Watson, the Suits star is a UN Women advocate but focuses on issues related to female political participation and leadership, which she says is still restricted and unbalanced.
“Women make up more than half of the world’s population and potential, so it is neither just nor practical for their voices, for OUR voices, to go unheard at the highest levels of decision-making,” says the bi-racial beauty.
This Bollywood actress was appointed a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador for Child Rights in 2010. She says it was her parents who got her into doing charity work: “When I was really young, we would go into these villages, and set up these free medical clinics for people who couldn’t afford treatments. As a kid, philanthropy was a really big part of my family, and what we did. So, I just knew it was really an important part for me.”
Unicef UK supporter Rosie Huntington-Whiteley visited has Lesotho to meet families and children affected by droughts. Rosie once said: “From the moment I arrived in Lesotho it was immediately obvious just how much of an impact the drought is having on families here, many of who were already struggling with poverty and the effects of HIV. Already hugely vulnerable, these families are struggling to cope with the added burden brought by the lack of food and water”.
The former First Lady launched the Reach Higher Initiative while she was in office, which encourages young people throughout the United States to pursue higher education in some form.
The mother of two said: “Our young people need to know that no matter where you come from or how much money your family has, you can succeed in college, and get your degree, and then go on to build a better for life yourself”. Way to go, Mich!
This article was first published in the Singapore Women’s Weekly.