At The Hollywood Reporter‘s annual Women in Entertainment breakfast on Wednesday, Angelina Jolie delivered a powerful speech calling for female empowerment.
Calling it an international battle, Jolie is encouraging female empowerment through art.
“We have the freedom to be artists,” Jolie began. “The freedom to create, to challenge authority fearlessly, to laugh at the power and to make others laugh with us. The right to speak the truth as we see it.”
“We have a level of freedom that is unimaginable for millions of other women around the world – women who live with conflict and terrorism and displacement and poverty, who never get a chance, whose voices are always silenced,” the Oscar winner continued.
“We don’t have to keep our heads down, we don’t have to think that the film we make or our comment on politics, or a joke we tell on stage could land us in prison where we might be tortured or punished,” Jolie, 42, added. “We don’t have the censorship. We don’t have to worry what acting in a play or singing on television will bring violence or dishonour to our families. We don’t have to tailor our clothes or our opinions to when it’s acceptable to religious authorities or violent extremist groups. We are not shunned and considered immoral because we dare to speak our mind about why we consider to be wrong as a society. We have the right to think thoroughly and to speak freely and to put forward our ideas on equal terms. There are women across the world who face serious danger and get hurt just trying to have a voice and an opinion.”
Finally, Jolie expressed her gratefulness of working and living in America.
“That is why I am so grateful to be part of this community and the wider community of artists around the world,” she concluded. “Together we stand for more than our own rights and freedoms, but the freedom and rights of all women. We in this room have the ability to help find those women artists struggling to make their voices heard today; to show solidarity with them, to champion them, to help them tell their stories… I pay tribute to all the women before us who pushed the boundaries in their lifetimes so that we could be here today. And above all, I pay tribute to the women artists, journalists, human rights defenders and lawyers around the world who refuse to be intimidated; the brave people who are fighting so that others may one day have the freedoms we now have.”
Jennifer Lawrence was also at the THR event, where she too delivered a powerful speech urging Hollywood to embrace female voices following all the sexual harassment scandals.
“It’s not easy to speak out. It’s not easy to face criticism on a global scale. But the fact is I have been given a platform, and if I don’t use it, then I don’t deserve it,” the actress said. “This last year has been a trying and challenging time in our world and our industry specifically. Every day, we wake up to a myriad of headlines that deeply impact us, from around the globe,” she said.
Lawrence also commended the honour’s previous recipients: “These women have shown what’s possible when we embrace our platforms and use our voices to inspire and ignite the hearts of humanity. Their stories are powerful, pivotal and echo far beyond the retweets or headlines we wake up to.”