As a child, I was raised to believe that I could do anything I wanted as long as I applied myself and worked hard. It was only as I began to grow up and start venturing out into the world that I realised that is not always the case.
Like a good percentage of woman I know I have been harassed, paid less, given fewer opportunities in the workforce, labelled a bitch for wanting to succeed, ostracised for starting a family, doubted, ignored, resented and the list goes on.
I am the type of woman that wants it all, I want a successful well-earning career, have a career that challenges me, complete my MBA part-time, be a leader, have a beautiful family, write in my spare time, give a TEDtalk, start running, have a clean house and come home to cook a healthy meal for my family each night. While not all of these goals may be achieved every day (I write this as I stare at a pile of laundry that needs to be folded and put away), I have the firm belief that I can achieve all of them and more.
This sense of drive I have is often just the side effect of watching or reading about another hard working successful businesswoman, for that reason I wanted to start a series where I discuss women that inspire me.
I wanted to start the series with Natalie Portman and show a beautiful speech she recently gave at the Variety Power of Women event to discuss the #METOO movement. In this short video, Natalie talks about the lack of women in fundamental leadership roles, the excuses behind why this is continuously perpetuated and the example of the heavily skewed woman to men ratio working in the high-stress role of obstetrics.
A little about Natalie Portman
This woman is a powerhouse, a mother to two children, amazingly successful actor, ambassador to multiple campaigns, vegan, producer, activist and leader.
Graduated from Havard Universtiy in 2003 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in psychology.
Started in countless amazing movies, been nominated for numerous awards and won one Screen Actors Guild Award, two Golden Globes, one British Academy Film Award and one Academy Award.
Travelled the world as an Ambassador of Hope for FINCA International and an Ambassador for Free the Children, an international charity and educational partner, spearheading their Power of a Girl campaign.
Been incredibly vocal about the “sexual terrorism” she experienced after working on the movie Leon: The Professional at only thirteen years old. “I understood very quickly, even as a 13-year-old if I were to express myself sexually, I would feel unsafe. And that men would feel entitled to discuss and objectify my body to my great discomfort.”
Drawn attention to the #MeToo movement discussing her previous encounters with men objectifying her at such a young aging, disclosing that her first ever piece of fan mail, was a rape fantasy between her and the male fan and acknowledging the fact that her local radio station created a countdown until her eighteenth birthday when she would be legal to sleep with.
This woman is eloquent, intelligent, kind, respected and fierce. She is the kind of woman that demands attention in her own soft and gentle way, I look up to her as the humanitarian I would like to someday embody.
Bonus – Natalie Portman’s suggested reading
- The Ministry of Special Cases
By Nathan Englander
- Sun Under Wood
By Robert Hass
- Cloud Atlas
By David Mitchell
- What Is the What
By Dave Eggers
- A Tale of Love and Darkness
By Amos Oz
- Great House
By Nicole Krauss
What do you think of Natalie Portman?
Do you think she is someone to aspire to be like?
Who do you think I should include next in my list of Inspirational Women?