In an interview with UN Beneath-Secretary-Basic for International Communications Melissa Fleming on the sidelines of SDG Summit 2023 held at UN Headquarters in New York in September, Ms. Portman mentioned combatting violence towards girls and reframing masculinity to be much less aggressive and extra empathetic in direction of gender points.

Melissa Fleming: The UN 2023 Gender Snapshot report painted a worrisome image on how distant we’re from reaching gender equality. What can we do to shift these tendencies?

Natalie Portman: Investing in girls and ladies’ training, security and financial and social empowerment. Extra funding will speed up the drive towards parity.

Natalie Portman on Empowering Girls & Ladies In every single place | SDG Media Zone | United Nations

Melissa Fleming: Why is there under-investment in ladies?

Natalie Portman: There’s a deeply ingrained bias towards girls and ladies that we actually have to fight and clearly, training is an enormous a part of that. The Spotlight Initiative that the UN launched [in partnership with the European Union and others] in 2017 is addressing a whole lot of the ingrained cultural biases that result in the inequalities and injustices that we see.

It truly is such a core a part of girls’s freedom to be free from the specter of violence. And till girls and ladies can really feel secure strolling down the road, going to high school and going to work, nothing else may be achieved to the extent that we dream of.

Highlight’s work has been actually extraordinary at reaching many various nations to vary legal guidelines, implement instructional instruments and alter tradition such that masculinity is reframed as empathy quite than aggression.

Young girls in the village of Danja in Niger hold signs in support of the Spotlight Initiative.

UNFPA/Olivier Girard

Younger ladies within the village of Danja in Niger maintain indicators in help of the Highlight Initiative.

Melissa Fleming: We now have a web-based surroundings that has made a harmful and threatening area for thus many ladies rising up within the social media age. Is that one thing you might be involved about?

Natalie Portman: Completely. The risk and hazard that ladies and ladies are subjected to in actual life is simply as dangerous, if not worse, on-line. I imply, it’s all completely different kinds of attempting to silence us.

The extra we are able to help and rejoice girls and ladies’ voices, the extra we’re combating this horrible abuse of energy.

Melissa Fleming: You have been very a lot behind the Time’s Up motion supporting victims of sexual harassment. Why is it so essential for girls in Hollywood to lift their voices? Does this set an instance for girls in different industries?

Natalie Portman: Time’s Up was unbelievable as a result of we gathered with girls in different industries as effectively. We gathered with feminine farm employees, healthcare employees, journalists and girls in tech and we observed we have been all dealing with the identical types of challenges. Clearly in several areas or completely different flavours, however actually the identical risk.

The top of the Farm Employees Union, Monica Ramirez, mentioned to me, “They inform us to close up as a result of we’re within the shadows and no person cares about us they usually let you know actresses to close up as a result of no person cares.”

However, the frequent thread is that they’re attempting to silence all our voices. That was actually the facility of Tarana Burke’s #MeToo motion. It was breaking out of that silence and it was empowering girls. We have to make their voices heard and never really feel disgrace round these experiences. We should acknowledge that these have been excessive injustices and that perpetrators wanted to be held to account.

I feel that persons are very conscious now and there isn’t a way which you could simply abuse as you want with out dealing with any penalties. Individuals are much more open about it now.

We nonetheless have a far strategy to go, after all, however I feel the #MeToo motion actually cracked open a door that isn’t going to be shut anymore.

UNDP's entrepreneurship development training programme is changing the lives of women in India.

UNDP India

UNDP’s entrepreneurship improvement coaching programme is altering the lives of girls in India.

Melissa Fleming: Is there a distinction for girls and ladies that dwell in creating nations?

Natalie Portman: I feel girls and ladies around the globe can relate to one another in regard to dwelling underneath the specter of violence. That, sadly, is in every single place.

In fact, there are completely different manifestations of violence towards girls and ladies somewhere else. Some ladies are threatened with violence for going to high school which, in america, we don’t expertise. However, in america, the primary reason behind loss of life for pregnant girls is being murdered by their intimate associate. In Iran, we’re seeing girls who’re being murdered for exposing their hair.

So actually the specter of girls and ladies being threatened and murdered exists in every single place.

Melissa Fleming: You talked about the masculinity problem and educating males that masculinity is definitely empathy. How does one do this?

Natalie Portman:I feel that tradition can play an enormous function in shaping that. I feel once we see completely different fashions of masculinity on display screen or in literature, we open up extra prospects for males.

I feel that movie and tv can completely assist form new types of masculinity which can be rather more reflective of what we all know to be the human soul and never simply this very slim form of aggressive, macho-type that we see so deeply ingrained in our tradition.

After which after all training as effectively, exhibiting the results of poisonous masculinity.

It opens up boys and males’s worlds too, to have extra choices of how one can be and never this very slim, prescriptive definition of masculinity.

Melissa Fleming: You’re a half proprietor of the Angel Metropolis Soccer Membership in Los Angeles that made their debut on the Girls’s Soccer League final 12 months. Are you able to inform us a bit extra about why you bought concerned?

Natalie Portman: It was very a lot about seeing each men and women in several methods than we historically have seen them. Once I noticed my son watching the Girls’s World Cup 4 years in the past, I spotted that he regarded as much as the ladies athletes the identical manner he regarded as much as the male athletes. I spotted, “Why don’t we’ve this on at house?”

What a unique world it could be if all girls and boys might see girls athletes given the worth that they deserve, like the lads are, so we began this girls’s soccer membership. We began taking part in two years in the past and it’s simply been an unbelievable factor to be part of, to see the virtuosic athletes celebrated on an enormous stage.


United Nations



  • Finish all types of discrimination and violence towards girls and ladies
  • Get rid of such dangerous practices as early and compelled marriages and feminine genital mutilation
  • Adapt and strengthen laws to advertise gender equality and empower girls and ladies
  • Guarantee girls’s full and efficient participation and equal alternatives for management in political, financial and public life
  • Guarantee common entry to sexual and reproductive well being care

Globally, nearly half of all married girls presently lack decision-making energy over their sexual and reproductive well being and rights.

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