Malala Yousafzai Says Emma Watson Inspired Her To Be A Feminist

Malala Yousafzai recently sat down with UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson and told her that Watson’s “He for She” speech she gave last year to the UN inspired Yousafzai to refer to herself as a being a “feminist.”

Yousafzai, a Nobel Peace Prize winner, said she used to think the word “feminism” was a “tricky word.” However, after hearing Watson’s speech, which was aimed at encouraging men to stand up for women’s rights, the 18-year-old human rights and education activist believes all people should be feminists.

“Interestingly, this word feminism, it has been a very tricky word,” Yousafzai said. “When I heard it the first time, I heard some negative responses and some positive ones, and I hesitated in saying, ‘Am I a feminist or not?'”

“When you said, ‘if not now, when? if not me, who?’, I decided there’s nothing wrong by calling yourself a feminist,” Yousafzai added. “So I am a feminist, and we all should be feminists because feminism is another word for equality.”

“Just because your gender is different does not mean you should be treated differently. Your gender should not create any difficulty in the choices that you make. It’s about equality, it’s about feminism, it’s about saying, ‘we’re all human beings, why do you separate us just because our gender is different?'”

Malala Yousafzai started speaking out about girl’s education in 2009 when she was only 12 years old. In 2012, at age 15, Malala was walking home from school in Swat Valley, Pakistan, when she was shot in the head for voicing her opinions about the Taliban and their ban on girls receiving an education. Since then, she has become the youngest winner of the Nobel Peace prize, earning it in 2014.

As the Inquisitr previously reported, Malala even opened up a school in Bekaa Valley, close to the Syrian border, to commemorate her 18th birthday in July for female Syrian refugees, paid for completely by Malala’s non-profit organization, The Malala Fund. There are currently over 500,000 Syrian school-age children in Lebanon, and of that 500,000, only one-fifth are receiving a formal education. The school can hold up to 200 girls between the ages of 14 to 18, and through the Lebanese Education Ministry, the girls attending Malala’s school will have the opportunity to earn baccalaureate and vocational skills.

Actress Emma Watson later posted a video of their interview to her Facebook page, and called Malala’s admission about being a feminist “moving.”

“Perhaps the most moving moment of today for me was when Malala addressed the issue of feminism. To give you some background, I had initially planned to ask Malala whether or not she was a feminist but then researched to see whether she had used this word to describe herself,” Watson wrote.

“Having seen that she hadn’t, I decided to take the question out before the day of our interview,” Watson continued. “To my utter shock Malala put the question back into one of her own answers and identified herself. Maybe feminist isn’t the easiest word to use … but she did it anyway.”

Since the assassination attempt in 2012, Malala has been living in Birmingham with her family. She is currently studying for A-levels in history, economics, maths, and religious studies, according to the Guardian. She is planning on later attending Oxford University, or Stanford, in California.

[Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images]