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Anne Hathaway: The belief that women cannot be leaders is a myth that can be demolished

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Anne Hathaway attends the premiere of “The Last Thing He Wanted” on January 27, 2020 at the Eccles Center Theater in Park City, Utah.

Matt Winkelmeyer | Getty Images

Hollywood actress Anne Hathaway told CNBC Friday that a lack of female representation in positions of power is something that “can be torn down anytime we decide to tear it down”.

Hathaway, who is also a goodwill ambassador for UN Women – the United Nations body on gender equality – spoke to CNBC’s Tania Bryer earlier this week on International Women’s Day.

She said the appointment of Kamala Harris as the first female vice president of the United States is “a great opportunity, especially for the youth to look and see and just do it normal.”

“I think when you have someone like Kamala Harris in a position of so much power you want to cheer, but it also wants to make you scream in frustration because the fact that we’re just here … it’s all based on a myth that only exists because we hold it up, which means the myth can be demolished at any time if we decide to demolish it, “Hathaway said.

United Nations executive director for women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, who spoke to CNBC alongside Hathaway, said she felt the same way Harris did when she became South Africa’s first vice president in 2005.

Mlambo-Ngcuka referred to Harris’ statement in her first speech as Vice President-elect: “While I may be the first woman in this office, I will not be the last because every little girl watching tonight sees this a land of is possibilities. ”

“That really concerns everyone”

Mlambo-Ngcuka also argued that it is not just women’s responsibility to fight for gender equality.

“Women do it because they feel the clamp, but it really is everyone’s business, especially the men, because they cause a lot of trouble,” she said.

“It’s not about a woman being raped, it’s about raping men,” she added. “It’s not about so many women being raped, it’s about so many men being raped.”

Mlambo-Ngcuka’s comments echo the opinion of many in the UK on social media this week following the disappearance and alleged murder of Sarah Everard, a young woman who went missing in London last week.

Research by the World Health Organization, released Tuesday, found that one in three or 736 million women worldwide have experienced physical or sexual violence in their lifetime.

Commenting on the research at the time, Mlambo-Ngcuka said that “the multiple effects of Covid-19 triggered a ‘shadow pandemic’ of increased reported violence of all kinds against women and girls.”

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Katherine Clark