There’s a proverb that “charity begins at home.” And the same can be said for the dismantling of misogyny and sexism. Halle Berry, the mother of both a son and daughter, is making sure she instills those lessons into her 7-year-old Maceo, who she shares with ex-husband Olivier Martinez.
According to PEOPLE, during a virtual Sundance panel, Women Breaking Barriers: An Industry Shift?, Berry said, “I have a 7-year-old son, and I have realized what my job is in raising him. If we want to have a future that’s different, that is where it starts.”
Berry said in raising him, she’s learned that gender bias imprints itself on a child very early.
“You made me think of how many conversations I’ve had with him, say, since he’s turned 5 years old, about the differences in boys and girls, and I see how he’s taught to feel like he’s superior, at 5, than girls are. I’ve had to really break that down for him and give him a new perspective, and challenge those thoughts and ask him to identify where that comes from, and if he believes that or not and challenge what he’s subconsciously getting from somewhere,” she continued. “I can tell that because we’re having those conversations he is going to grow as a deep thinker on the subject. He’s going to be determined not to just accept it. I keep challenging him all the time, like ‘Well, why is that a ‘girl color?’”
Berry is optimistic that the type of education she’s providing her son at home will also be increasingly reflected in Hollywood.
Berry said that with movements like Black Lives Matter, Me Too and Times Up, women are more empowered than ever when it comes to speaking up. She said while women used to once accept less and unjust treatment as a part of the system, now they’re speaking up and out when things are not right.
“I think that we are individually finding our voice in a more powerful way—I know as a Black woman, I’ve never felt more empowered [than] in the last two years,” Berry added. “I’ve been in the industry almost 30 years; the last two or three years, I finally came into my own power…We have a voice. It needs to be heard.”