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Africa: UN Women Announces Anne Hathaway As Goodwill Ambassador

The United Nations entity tasked with promoting gender equality today announced the appointment of Academy Award-winning American actor Anne Hathaway as global Goodwill Ambassador.

A long-standing supporter of women's and girls' rights, Ms. Hathaway will shine light on the issue of the unequal burden of care work in the home as one of the key barriers to gender equality, UN Women said in a news release.

"I feel honoured and inspired by this opportunity to aid in advancing gender equality. Significant progress has already been made but it is time that we collectively intensify our efforts and ensure that true equality is finally realized," said Ms. Hathaway.

She will advocate for the adoption and implementation of policies worldwide that will bring measurable change, including affordable childcare services and shared parental leave at both government and corporate levels.

"The appointment of Anne is timely because this year UN Women is driving hard to foster more positive mindsets and practical arrangements around workplaces that build and support equality for women," stated UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.

The 'motherhood penalty'- which means that when they become mothers, women's pay and opportunities at work suffer - is a particularly insidious demonstration of gender inequality in the workplace. For too long it has been difficult or impossible to view raising a child as being truly an equal responsibility for both parents, she noted.

"Stereotypes that make it hard for fathers to take time away from work to care for a child are outdated leftovers from the 'male breadwinner' model and have no place in today's mixed workforce," said Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka, adding that well-implemented parental leave is just one way for employers to demonstrate that they understand the value of their staff--both male and female.

Ms. Hathaway is a committed voice for change. She previously served as an advocate for Nike Foundation and travelled to Kenya and Ethiopia to raise awareness on child marriage. In 2013, Ms. Hathaway provided the narration on Girl Rising, a CNN documentary film, which focused on the power of female education as it followed seven girls around the world who sought to overcome obstacles and follow their dreams.