As actor Emma Watson spoke at the United Nations, she proved herself to be even more powerful than the brainy Hermione Granger she played in the Harry Potter films. Her speech, launching the UN HeForShe campaign, clarified that feminism is simply the belief in gender equality. She eloquently explained how discrimination against women hurts both women and men, and issued an invitation for men to join the movement to advocate for gender equality that benefits their mothers, sisters, daughters—and themselves.
Watson, who was appointed United Nations Goodwill Ambassador just six months ago, told the audience of men and women:
“I am from Britain and think it is right that as a woman I am paid the same as my male counterparts. I think it is right that I should be able to make decisions about my own body.” The audience applauded these sentiments, especially reproductive rights.
Watson continued, “I think it is right that women be involved on my behalf in the policies and decision-making of my country. I think it is right that socially I am afforded the same respect as men. But sadly I can say that there is no one country in the world where all women can expect to receive these rights. No country in the world can yet say they have achieved gender equality.”
Watson cited some alarming statistics. If we fail to work toward gender equality, and do nothing:
- It will take 75 years before women can expect to be paid the same as men for the same work.
- 15.5 million girls will be married in the next 16 years as children.
- And at current rates it won’t be until 2086 before all rural African girls will be able to receive a secondary education.
After watching this ten-minute video, we think you’ll agree that Emma Watson is playing the most important role in her career—a feminist who uses her magical charm and star power to make the world a better place for all of us.
For more information, visit HeForShe.org