Anne Hathaway was named global Goodwill Ambassador for U.N. Women on Wednesday and will focus her efforts on injustices mothers around the world face.
The Oscar-winning actress is taking on some of the most challenging issues moms endure, including unpaid leave, wage gaps and a lack of access to affordable childcare, the organization announced.
U.N. Women, the United Nation’s group that’s committed to gender equality and women’s empowerment, noted that Hathaway’s past work on women’s issues helped inform the decision.
“This year U.N. Women is driving hard to foster more positive mindsets and practical arrangements around workplaces that build and support equality for women,” Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, U.N. Women executive director, said in a statement. “Within moments of meeting Anne I realized that we had found our woman.”
The appointment comes at a time when the inequality mothers face, particularly in the U.S., is gaining steam.
The U.S. is the only developed country that doesn’t offer paid leave to new parents. Some are eligible for the Family and Medical Leave Act, which only allows new parents to take off 12 weeks of unpaid, job-protected leave.
And while mothers contribute $1 trillion to the U.S. economy, they earn less than non-parents in the workplace. Mothers earn an average of 3 percent less than women without children. Fathers earn 15 percent more than men without children, according to a report released last month by the U.S. Congress Joint Economic Committee.
In her role as ambassador, Hathaway, who welcomed her first child in April, will be tasked with “spotlighting” these issues. She’ll also advocate for policies, at both the government and corporate levels, that encourage affordable childcare services and shared parental leave.
The “Les Miserables” actress has long promoted the rights of women and girls. While serving as an as an advocate for the Nike Foundation, she travelled to Kenya and Ethiopia to raise awareness for child marriage.
“I feel honored and inspired by this opportunity to aid in advancing gender equality,” Hathaway said in a statement of her role with U.N. Women. “Significant progress has already been made but it is time that we collectively intensify our efforts and ensure that true equality is finally realized.”