British actor and UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson gave a passionate speech on feminism and gender at the United Nations Headquarters in New York this weekend. Watson’s speech embarked launched the “HeForShe” campaign which aims to galvanize one billion men and boys as advocates for ending the inequalities that women and girls face globally.
Watson’s objective was to embolden men to participate in the fight for gender equality. Emma Watson was announced as a U.N. Goodwill Ambassador in July, following in the footsteps of Angelina Jolie and Nicole Kidman.
Emma Watson recently graduated from Brown University with a Bachelor’s Degree in English Literature and has been heavily vocal on issues of sexism and inequality. In August, The Inquisitr reported that Watson tweeted a cheeky response to a Turkish politician who expressed his disapproval of women laughing in public.
— Emma Watson (@EmWatson) August 1, 2014
Watson made reference to the misconceptions of feminism, and also, the gender inequality issues faced by women throughout the world.
“I decided that I was a feminist. And this seems uncomplicated to me. But my recent research has shown me that feminism has become an unpopular word. Women are choosing not to identify as feminists. Apparently, I am among the ranks of women whose expressions are seen as too strong, ‘too aggressive,’ isolating and anti-men, unattractive, even. Why has the word become such an uncomfortable one.”
Watson, 24-years-old, also spoke about several gender inequality issues that affect men as well.
“I’ve seen young men suffering from mental illness, unable to ask for help, for fear it would make them less of a men—or less of a man. In fact, in the U.K., suicide is the biggest killer of men, between 20 to 49, eclipsing road accidents, cancer and coronary heart disease. I’ve seen men made fragile and insecure by a distorted sense of what constitutes male success. Men don’t have the benefits of equality, either.”
The actress is most famously known for her role as the clever heroine Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter series. Watson hopes to eliminate the “us vs. them” mind-set of gender issues. Reminding others that feminism is the belief of equality of both sexes.
“It is time that we all see gender as a spectrum instead of two sets of opposing ideals. We should stop defining each other by what we are not and start defining ourselves by who we are. We can all be freer and this is what HeForShe is about. It’s about freedom.”
United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon hailed Watson on her courage and efforts to stop violence against women.
“She’s been using her magic wand in her movie. I hope she will use [her] magic want to stop violence against women. Again, thank you very much for shining your spotlight on this life-saving work.”
The event was hosted Wolf Blitzer and was also attended by Forest Whitaker and Kiefer Sutherland.
— Wolf Blitzer (@wolfblitzer) September 21, 2014
[Image via Google Images]