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Michelle Yeoh urges global interest in women’s issues

Posted March. 15, 2023 07:42,   

Updated March. 15, 2023 07:42


Malaysian actress Michelle Yeoh (photo), who became the first Asian to win the best actress award at the Oscars, published a guest essay in the opinion section of the New York Times on Monday (local times) to promote awareness of international agenda such as the Nepal earthquake in 2015 and earthquake that hit Turkey and Syria.

She explained that her experience of visiting Nepal as a goodwill ambassador for the United Nations Development Programme changed her perspective on the world. “They expose deep existing inequalities. Those living in poverty, especially women and girls, bear the brunt. I have seen how women and girls are often the last to return to school and get basic services such as clean water, vaccines, identity cards, and counseling. They are typically the last to get jobs and loans. When women have to sleep out in the open — often the case when buildings have collapsed or are unsafe — or in group shelters without adequate privacy or protection, they are at increased risk of sexual violence and assault, which skyrocket in the aftermath of a disaster,” she pointed out.

She said the situation in Turkey and Syria was not very different from that of Nepal. “Even before the earthquake struck, the socioeconomic conditions in Syria were dire, with approximately 90% of the population living in poverty and millions in need of humanitarian assistance,” she said.

“We know having more women in positions of power and as decision makers at community, national and institutional levels leads to more inclusive policies, laws, and practices that protect and contribute to gender equality at all levels,” she said. Though she is grateful for the attention to her achievement, she wishes to redirect the spotlight to this global issue and stresses that women should not be excluded in policy making.