Malala Yousafzai has hit out at the lack of diversity in Hollywood films, saying less than 4% of lead characters are Asian.
Speaking at an event celebrating female creative leaders in Los Angeles, the activist and campaigner said: “I know that executives have passed on dozens of quality, equally amazing projects because they thought that the characters or their creators were too young, too brown, too foreign, too poor.
“Sometimes it feels like they’re saying we just don’t belong here.”
It is almost ten years since Malala, 25, was shot by the Taliban on the bus home from school after speaking up for the right of girls to be educated.
The attack prompted her global campaign for girls’ education and equal representation.
She has since won a Nobel Peace Prize and graduated from Oxford University with a philosophy, politics and economics degree.
She told the Variety’s Power of Women event: “I learned that Asian people like me make up less than 4% of leads in Hollywood films.
“Muslims are 25% of the population, but only 1% of characters in popular TV series.
“Behind the camera, the statistics for black and brown creators are even worse.”
In a bid to tackle these statistics, Malala has set up Extracurricular, a production company.
Founded last year in partnership with Apple TV+, the company has prioritised female-led narratives that Malala hopes will “connect people across cultures”.
Malala was honoured at the Variety event alongside Hillary Clinton and her daughter Chelsea, Elizabeth Olsen, Oprah Winfrey and the Duchess of Sussex.