The myth that women can’t be leaders can be torn down

Anne Hathaway attends “The Last Thing He Wanted” premiere at Eccles Center Theatre on January 27, 2020 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 a something that “can be torn down at any moment, when we decide to tear it down.” 

Hathaway, who is also a goodwill ambassador for U.N. Women —  the United Nations’ body for gender equality —  was speaking to CNBC’s Tania Bryer on the back of International Women’s Day earlier this week. 

She said that the appointment of Kamala Harris, as the United States’ first female vice president, represented a “huge opportunity, especially for the youth, to look up and see that and have it just be normal.” 

“I think that when you have someone like Kamala Harris in a position of that much power, it makes you want to cheer but it also wants to make you scream in frustration because the fact that we’re just getting here now … it’s all based on a myth, that only exists because we uphold it, which means that the myth can be torn down at any moment, when we decide to tear it down,” Hathaway said. 

U.N. Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, who was speaking to CNBC alongside Hathaway, said that she felt the same as Harris when she became South Africa’s first female deputy president in 2005. 

Mlambo-Ngcuka referred to Harris’s statement in her first speech as vice-president elect: “While I may be the first woman in this office, I won’t be the last, because every little girl watching tonight sees that this is a country of possibilities.” 

‘This is really everyone’s business’ 

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