In honour of International Women's Day (8 March 2017), which celebrates the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women, we take a look at six strong celebrity women who are doing their part to champion positive change in the world.
She may be married to Hugh Jackman, but Deb's achievements run a lot deeper than that! A successful actress in her own right, Deborah is also a tireless campaigner for adoption after suffering a number of miscarriages herself. She and Jackman adopted their two children: son Oscar (2000) and daughter Ava (2005). Since then she has coimitted herself to humanitarian work for children, founding National Adoption Awareness Week in Australia to focus on improving adoption programs, procedures and legislation, raising awareness and understanding of the issues of vulnerable children. In 2014 Deborah helped champion new legislation by the Australian government to greatly improve adoption procedures and outcomes. In 2015 Deborra-Lee was named NSW Australian of the Year.
Before her husband Barack became president of the United States, Michelle Obama made a name for herself as a prominent lawyer. As First Lady she championed girls’ education; no surprise considering she is the mother of two teenage girls, Malia and Sasha. Her 'Let Girls Learn' was a First-Lady led program designed to improve education levels of the 62 million girls around the world who don’t go to school. Michelle Obama also used her time in the White House to focus on health issues, particularly those that affect children. Her 'Let’s Move' campaign tackled childhood obesity, and she promoted healthy eating through the re-establishment of the White House Kitchen Garden, which flourished under her care.
Academy Award-winning actress Angelina Jolie is one of the world’s most famous women. She’s also the mother of six children – Maddox, Zahara, Pax, Shiloh, Vivienne and Knox – and a tireless campaigner for a number of humanitarian causes. From 2001 Jolie-Pitt made over 40 visits to displaced people all over the world, earning her a promotion to the role of Special Envoy for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in 2012. What’s more, the star of By the Sea is unafraid to use her fame for a good cause. In 2006 she and ex-husband, Brad Pitt sold the first pictures of their baby Shiloh to media outlets and donated the record-breaking fee, totaling nearly $8 million, in its entirety to UNICEF. Two years later the sale of the first photos of the couple’s twins garnered the princely sum of $14 million for the Jolie-Pitt Foundation.
Tara Moss’ talents are many. Once a model and now a writer, TV presenter and mother to Sapphira, 4, Moss is an outspoken supporter of women’s and children’s rights. The Canadian-born author has penned 10 novels, but still has time to take on philanthropic roles including UNICEF Ambassador for Child Survival and Goodwill Ambassador.
One of the world’s most recognisable comics, Poehler has two sons, Archie and Abel, with ex-husband Will Arnett. She is famous for sending up the news on Saturday Night Live and in her starring role in Parks and Recreation, but her children would probably prefer her more family friendly gigs, like voicing characters in Horton Hears a Who, Monsters vs. Aliens and Inside Out. Amid acting and raising her boys as a single mum, Poehler has found time to take on the role of Ambassador of the Worldwide Orphans Foundation, and establish Smart Girls, an initiative supporting the education of young girls.
In between chasing around two young children, three-year-old Prince George and Princess Charlotte, 1, the Duchess of Cambridge dedicates much of her time to philanthropic work. She is patron of numerous charities including The Art Room, an organisation that offers art as therapy to children who are experiencing emotional and behavioural difficulties, and Place2Be, another organisation helping young people with mental illness, as well as the National Portrait Gallery, East Anglia's Children's Hospice, Action on Addiction, Natural History Museum, Sportsaid, and The 1851 Trust.