Reese Witherspoon is encouraging women to fight to make their dreams a reality.
In a powerful essay for the October issue of Glamour, the actress, producer and 2017 Emmy nominee writes, “We have to do our part to change the idea that a woman with passion and ambition is out only for herself. So talk to your kids about ambition as a positive trait in men and women.”
She describes some of the obstacles she’s encountered throughout her decades in the entertainment industry, from facing off with studio heads who’ve doubted her vision, to being the only woman on set when she first started acting.
“You can complain about these things. You can get stuck in the emotion of it — and sometimes I do,” writes Witherspoon, 41. “But my mother always said to me, ‘If you want something done, do it yourself.’”
And, as we all know, that’s just what Witherspoon did. Today, her production company has “something like 23 projects in the works driven by great female characters of different ages and races.”
So, her advice?
“All we can do to create change is work hard,” writes Witherspoon. “That’s my advice: Just do what you do well.”
Another necessity, according to Witherspoon is to surround yourself with supportive people. She details how her husband, Jim Toth, and three kids, Ava, Deacon and Tennessee, have encouraged her throughout every step of her journey.
“When I saw the recent Harvard study that found that single female M.B.A. students downplayed their career ambitions in front of male classmates for fear of possibly hurting their marriage prospects, I thought, UGH,” writes Witherspoon. “Run away from a man who can’t handle your ambition. Run. So many men think ambition is awesome and sexy!”
And coming from a woman who’s been ambitious for her “entire life,” this advice certainly seems worthwhile.
The actress closes her essay by revisiting a question she posed during Glamour’s November 2015 Women of the Year gala: “What would happen if we encouraged all women to be a little more ambitious?”
“I think the world would change.”