Christina Dugan
February 08, 2018 08:00 AM

Angelina Jolie wants to teach her children the importance of fighting for what you believe in.

In Elle magazine’s March issue, the Oscar-winning actress and activist sat down with former Secretary of State John Kerry to discuss her ongoing campaign against the use of rape and sexual violence as weapons of war, how women and men can work together to advance women’s rights, and the advice she gives her daughters Vivienne, 9, Shiloh, 11, and Zahara, 13.

“I tell my daughters, ‘What sets you apart is what you are willing to do for others. Anyone can put on a dress and makeup. It’s your mind that will define you. Find out who you are, what you think, and what you stand for. And fight for others to have those same freedoms.  A life of service is worth living.'”

Angelina Jolie on the cover of Elle.
Andres Kudacki

Jolie adds, “I think of how hard women fought to get us to where we are today.  Everything counts, from the way you hold yourself in daily life and educate yourself on your own rights, to solidarity with other women around the world.”

Jolie, 42, aims to raise awareness of International Women’s Day on March 8 in the issue, the first from new Elle Editor-in-Chief Nina Garcia.  The star, who co-founded the Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict Initiative in 2012, says that society continues to treat violence against women as a “lesser crime,” and there’s still much progress to be made.

Angelina Jolie and John Kerry in Elle.
Andres Kudacki

“In some countries, sexual violence is less of a taboo discussion. It’s something more people expect their leaders to act on. Over 150 countries have signed a commitment to end impunity for war-zone rape. There are new teams in place to gather evidence and support prosecutions. I was in Kenya last summer as UN peacekeeping troops received new training, since peacekeepers have been part of the problem. We’re working with NATO on training, protection, and getting more women in the military. But there is so far to go.”

Related: Angelina Jolie Attends U.N. Event With 4 Of Her Children

On Saturday, the 42-year-old star attended the 2018 Annie Awards alongside Shiloh and Zahara to celebrate the film The Breadwinner, an Oscar-nominated animated movie about a headstrong young girl in Afghanistan who disguises herself as a boy in order to provide for her family.

Jolie, who executive-produced the film, previously told PEOPLE how “proud” she was “to be part of this beautiful film with this timely and very important subject matter.”

“Millions of girls around the world have to grow up before their time, working to provide for their families at a very young age and in difficult circumstances. They have the strength to do what no one should ask little girls to do,” she said.

Ivor Prickett/UNHCR

In January, Jolie took her two eldest daughters with her to meet Syrian refugees during a UNHCR trip to the Zataari refugee camp in Jordan. They met with Syrians who fled the violence of the ongoing civil war in their country, including girls around Shiloh and Zahara’s ages who were part of the TIGER (These Inspiring Girls Enjoy Reading) project, which focuses on education and empowerment for refugees.

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