Simone Lahorgue Nunes, Global Board Member, celebrates Salma Hayek Pinault as part of Equality Now’s 30 for 30, featuring 30 women and changemakers who have played a key role in making equality reality as part of our 30th anniversary celebrations.
My introduction to Salma Hayek Pinault’s philanthropy for women and girls’ rights came when Gucci founded CHIME for CHANGE, an organization that aims to bring people together across borders and generations to unite in the fight for gender equality. Salma was a co-founder of CHIME and was especially dedicated to its pillar of Justice. Since then, I have admired Salma’s lifetime commitment to justice and to building a better world for all women and girls.
As Salma told us when we honored her at Equality Now’s 2014 Make Equality Reality Gala, there is a constant thread that runs through every culture she has been a part of: the unequal treatment of women and girls.
It is truly inspiring to see how far Salma’s career has come despite the struggles she faced learning English, arriving in Hollywood in the 90s where the thought of a Latina being a leading lady seemed impossible, and overcoming dyslexia. Salma has been dedicated to telling stories that might otherwise not make it to the screen, and to doing it with an eye toward stories with bold, brave women. She did just that when she burst onto the international scene in 2002 with her astonishing, star-making performance as Frida Kahlo in Frida, which Salma also co-produced. In the process, she made history as the first Mexican woman to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress. Then, and now, Salma’s voice is critically important in an industry where progress is being made, but that is still dominated by white, English-speaking men.
Over the course of her years in the entertainment industry, Salma has devoted herself to using her platform to help increase resources and opportunities for women and girls, from her commitment to immigration reform as a gender issue and her devotion to combating domestic violence to her passion for girls’ health and education.
I once heard Salma say that, as a little girl, she was taught that you don’t need to be a victim of a problem to fight it; seeing injustice and wanting to change it is enough. That’s a sentiment I carry with me every day when I share the work we do at Equality Now, and to inspire people everywhere to build a better world for all women and girls.