Industries in Depth

Guardian of the Galaxy Zoe Saldana is raising her children in a gender-equal home

Cast member Zoe Saldana poses at the premiere of "Avatar" at the Mann's Grauman Chinese theatre in Hollywood, California December 16, 2009. The movie opens in the U.S. on December 18.  REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni   (UNITED STATES - Tags: ENTERTAINMENT) - GM1E5CH12NS01

The 'Avengers' star has decided to bring up her three young sons in a gender neutral environment. Image: REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

Sarah Shearman
Social Enterprise Correspondent, Thomson Reuters Foundation
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As a green-skinned alien in the blockbuster movie "Avengers: Endgame", actress Zoe Saldana hopes she can promote a clear message - that time's up on old-fashioned female stereotypes.

Saldana, who also starred as Neytiri in the 2009 box office smash hit "Avatar" and in "Star Trek", said she does not like being characterised by her race or sex and is raising her children in a gender-neutral environment.

"I'm not actively playing a strong woman, I'm just playing a whole woman versus something that is just there to be objectified and fill in all the boring spaces in a movie that come from a weak storyline," she said.

"When I go for a job, or I start a business or I make a decision, it has never been because I'm a woman or because I'm a person of colour. It is because I'm a human, I'm a voter, I'm a taxpayer, I'm a human being and because I matter."

Walt Disney Co's Marvel Studios - which made the "Avengers" films - has beefed up women's roles in its movies, winning praise for its first female-led superhero movie "Captain Marvel"

"Women are so relevant in life, and in all places, that the logical thing to do is to capture them accurately and build them accurately," said Saldana, who was speaking at Chivas Venture, a social entrepreneurship competition in Amsterdam.

Saldana's desire to improve women's equality starts at home, where she has decided to bring up her three young sons in a gender neutral environment.

"What my husband and I are actively learning every day and practising is how to not run a household like it's a matriarchy or a patriarchy," said Saldana, 40, who is married to Italian artist, Marco Perego-Saldana, who took her surname.

She said this involves sharing household duties equally and dismantling any stereotypes, such as mothers as more stern or fathers as more fun, because this creates an "imbalanced perception" that children carry throughout their lives.

Born in New Jersey to a Puerto Rican mother and Dominican father, Saldana also wants to tell the stories of Latinos and other underrepresented groups in the media through her business Bese, a digital media platform launched in 2018.

"We are creating content that is American content but we are broadening that narrative ... and accepting and celebrating the diversity that comes from being a nation that is built on immigration," she said.

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Industries in DepthEquity, Diversity and InclusionEducation and Skills
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