Yalitza Aparicio was nominated for an Oscar after playing a domestic worker in “Roma” and now the Mexican actress is using her fame to campaign for the rights of domestic workers and Indigenous women around the world.
The Mexican actress got a standing ovation as she joined an International Women’s Day discussion panel in Geneva on the position of women who earn, on average, about 20% less than men for work of equal value around the world, according to the U.N.’s International Labour Organization (ILO).
“My mother is a domestic worker, I know many domestic workers, so I did have a concept of how that work shapes up, how that person participates in the family,” Aparicio told the audience.
In the Netflix film, she plays a maid named Cleo, who is struggling with her own problems as she looks after a middle-class family deserted by their father. It won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival, three Oscars, and the British Academy award for best film.
Yalitza Aparicio, the first Indigenous woman to be nominated for a best actress Oscar, had completed teacher training when cast in director Alfonso Cuarón’s autobiographical film named after the Mexico City neighborhood where he grew up.
“My passion has always been to educate people, to teach them,” Aparicio said.
“Throughout my career people have told me I haven’t stopped teaching, I opted for acting but constantly try to teach the community.
“It is possible to show that one can achieve many things though society might say no. If you are a woman and are told ‘no’, try again…continue insisting because at some point in time you will be a success,” she said.
The ILO says there are at least 67 million domestic workers worldwide and 80% of them women.