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When Michelle Yeoh stepped up to the podium to get her history-making Oscar, women everywhere cheered, and perhaps older woman and those with Asian heritage he most loudly.
At 60, Yeoh is not the young starlet typically favoured by Hollywood money-makers. As the first Asian woman to take home the Best Actress in Oscar history, her win is also an historic moment for other Asian women and girls.
Yeoh become only the second woman of colour to be awarded Best Actress — twenty-one years after Halle Berry won for her role in Marc Forster’s 2001 film, Monster’s Ball.
Yeoh was recognised for her lead role in the Daniels’ film Everything Everywhere All at Once.
“For all the little boys and girls who look like me watching tonight, this is a beacon of hope and possibilities,” she said. “This is proof that dreams — dream big, and dreams do come true.”
She also told the audience: “Ladies, don’t let anybody tell you you are ever past your prime,” she said. “Never give up.”
Aging in Hollywood is a real job killer for women although more roles are becoming available for those who choose to embrace their age, not disguise it.
In Australia, women face triple jeopardy in the job market: being female, older and seeking so-called low skilled jobs, according to Jane Mussared, an advisor to the Minister for Health and Aged Care.
She says studies show that around a third of older workers, many of whom are women, experience age discrimination at work, including being overlooked for promotion, missing out on training opportunities and spending twice as long as any other age group out of work (68 weeks).