Mothers of girls want to raise strong women, but how? The 44-year-old Angelina Jolie gave us a window into how she hopes to empower her daughters in a moving essay for Elle.

The actress and philanthropist also covers the September issue. Inside, she reflects on how women have historically been treated as witches, and linking what she dubs the “ultimate conspiracy theory” against them back to the Salem witch trials.


Jolie discusses the six children she shares with Brad Pitt: Maddox, who celebrates his 18th birthday on Monday (and is headed to college!), Pax, 15, Zahara, 14, Shiloh, 13, and 11-year-old twins Vivienne and Knox.

“I could not be prouder of my sons for the men they are becoming, the way they respect their sisters and are respected by them,” Jolie praises, before revealing the advice she bestows on her daughters.

“I often tell my daughters that the most important thing they can do is to develop their minds,” she shares. “You can always put on a pretty dress, but it doesn't matter what you wear on the outside if your mind isn't strong.”

“There is nothing more attractive — you might even say enchanting — than a woman with an independent will and her own opinions,” Jolie adds.


The Maleficent villain then went on to share how she chooses to reclaim and redefine the term “wicked women.”

“'Wicked women' are just women who are tired of injustice and abuse,” she writes. “Women who refuse to follow rules and codes they don't believe are best for themselves or their families. Women who won't give up on their voice and rights, even at the risk of death or imprisonment or rejection by their families and communities.”

“If that is wickedness, then the world needs more wicked women,” she continues. “But it is also true that women don't wake up every morning wanting to fight. We want to be able to be soft and nurturing and graceful and loving — not everyone is born to fight. And we don't have magical powers. What we do have is the ability to support one another, and to work with the many great men who value and respect women as their equals.”