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Angelina Jolie: ‘It Is a Gift To Be a Woman’

Even though Eternals star Angelina Jolie wasn’t able to attend ELLE’s Women in Hollywood event, her presence was still very much felt. The actress wisely chose to stay home after a possible exposure to COVID-19 yet still managed to share her sentiments about the strength and power of women, with a little help from this year’s host, Eva Longoria.

On Tuesday night at the Dolby Terrace at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in Los Angeles, Longoria did double MC duty by reading Jolie’s speech in her stead. “I should do it really slow,” Longoria joked. “She talks really slow and deliberate.”

Jolie, a humanitarian and Special Envoy of the UNHCR, stressed that inequality in Hollywood, although inherently wrong, is small compared to the battles refugee women and girls fight every day to earn basic human rights. “To every young girl listening, know this: It is a gift to be a woman,” she wrote. “That others may choose to suggest it is in any way less only shows their fear of your power.”

Read Jolie’s speech in full below.

“I am thinking tonight of all the women who are bringing us through the pandemic: the scientists, the doctors, nurses… so many others who are showing us what strength and sacrifice are and whose contribution transcends borders.

One of the best things about being part of the Eternals was working with such a global cast, with women who were born in countries where the struggle for equality and rights is even more challenging than it is here. Women who know that what makes them different is what makes them beautiful and gives them even more to contribute. I feel truly honored to be part of this sisterhood.

We’ve all felt quite small at times. We have all felt scared and alone and working in this business probably often felt valued for the wrong things or taken advantage of. Every woman has probably experienced double standards, abuse of power, and the lack of accountability, and has had to fight to stay soft and open. For as much as we discuss inequality here, it is nothing compared to the limitations and abuse that women face in many other parts of the world. So while we fight here, we have to look outside of here to the women and girls who are refugees, who are stateless, who are facing hunger and violence and fighting every day for basic rights and respect.

To every young girl listening, know this: It is a gift to be a woman. That others may choose to suggest it is in any way less only shows their fear of your power. Stay kind and soft, but own that power.”

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