Emma Watson: Gender equality is your issue too (2022)

Speech by UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson at a special event for the HeForShe campaign, United Nations Headquarters, New York, 20 September 2014

[Check against delivery.]

Today we are launching a campaign called “HeForShe.”

I am reaching out to you because I need your help.We want to end gender inequality—and to do that we need everyone to be involved.

This is the first campaign of its kind at the UN: we want to try and galvanize as many men and boys as possible to be advocates for gender equality. And we don’t just want to talk about it, but make sure it is tangible.

I was appointed six months ago and the more I have spoken about feminism the more I have realized that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating. If there is one thing I know for certain, it is that this has to stop.

For the record, feminism by definition is: “The belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It is the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes.”

(Video) Learn English | Emma Watson "Gender equality is your issue too!" (with BIG subtitles)

I started questioning gender-based assumptions when at eight I was confused at being called “bossy,” because I wanted to direct the plays we would put on for our parents—but the boys were not.

When at 14 I started being sexualized by certain elements of the press.

When at 15 my girlfriends started dropping out of their sports teams because they didn’t want to appear “muscly.”

When at 18 my male friends were unable to express their feelings.

I decided I was a feminist and this seemed uncomplicated to me. But my recent research has shown me that feminism has become an unpopular word.

Apparently I am among the ranks of women whose expressions are seen as too strong, too aggressive, isolating, anti-men and, unattractive.

Why is the word such an uncomfortable one?

(Video) Emma Watson at the HeForShe Campaign 2014 - Official UN Video

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. 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.

These rights I consider to be human rights but I am one of the lucky ones. My life is a sheer privilege because my parents didn’t love me less because I was born a daughter. My school did not limit me because I was a girl. My mentors didn’t assume I would go less far because I might give birth to a child one day. These influencers were the gender equality ambassadors that made me who I am today. They may not know it, but they are the inadvertent feminists who are changing the world today. And we need more of those.

And if you still hate the word—it is not the word that is important but the idea and the ambition behind it. Because not all women have been afforded the same rights that I have. In fact, statistically, very few have been.

In 1995, Hilary Clinton made a famous speech in Beijing about women’s rights. Sadly many of the things she wanted to change are still a reality today.

But what stood out for me the most was that only 30 per cent of her audience were male. How can we affect change in the world when only half of it is invited or feel welcome to participate in the conversation?

Men—I would like to take this opportunity to extend your formal invitation. Gender equality is your issue too.

(Video) Emma Watson HeForShe Speech at the United Nations | UN Women 2014

Because to date, I’ve seen my father’s role as a parent being valued less by society despite my needing his presence as a child as much as my mother’s.

I’ve seen young men suffering from mental illness unable to ask for help for fear it would make them look less “macho”—in fact in the UK suicide is the biggest killer of men between 20-49 years of age; 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.

We don’t often talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes but I can see that that they are and that when they are free, things will change for women as a natural consequence.

If men don’t have to be aggressive in order to be accepted women won’t feel compelled to be submissive. If men don’t have to control, women won’t have to be controlled.

Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong… It is time that we all perceive gender on a spectrum not as two opposing sets of ideals.

If we stop defining each other by what we are not and start defining ourselves by what we are—we can all be freer and this is what HeForShe is about. It’s about freedom.

I want men to take up this mantle. So their daughters, sisters and mothers can be free from prejudice but also so that their sons have permission to be vulnerable and human too—reclaim those parts of themselves they abandoned and in doing so be a more true and complete version of themselves.

(Video) Emma Watson's speech on gender equality

You might be thinking who is this Harry Potter girl? And what is she doing up on stage at the UN. It’s a good question and trust me, I have been asking myself the same thing. I don’t know if I am qualified to be here. All I know is that I care about this problem. And I want to make it better.

And having seen what I’ve seen—and given the chance—I feel it is my duty to say something. English Statesman Edmund Burke said: “All that is needed for the forces of evil to triumph is for enough good men and women to do nothing.”

In my nervousness for this speech and in my moments of doubt I’ve told myself firmly—if not me, who, if not now, when. If you have similar doubts when opportunities are presented to you I hope those words might be helpful.

Because the reality is that if we do nothing it will take 75 years, or for me to be nearly a hundred 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.

If you believe in equality, you might be one of those inadvertent feminists I spoke of earlier.

And for this I applaud you.

We are struggling for a uniting word but the good news is we have a uniting movement. It is called HeForShe. I am inviting you to step forward, to be seen to speak up, to be the "he" for "she". And to ask yourself if not me, who? If not now, when?

(Video) ENGLISH SPEECH | EMMA WATSON: Gender Equality (English Subtitles)

Thank you.

Also available in: French; Spanish; Portuguese

To see a video of Emma delivering her speech, visit HeForShe.org

FAQs

What is the message of Emma Watson's speech about gender inequality? ›

In the speech, Watson made the important point that in order for gender equality to be achieved, harmful and destructive stereotypes of masculinity and behavioral expectations for boys and men have got to change.

What did Emma request men do about gender equality? ›

“There has been a ground swell of support but we need more men to take a stand for gender equality,” Watson told a discussion on gender equality at Facebook's London headquarters. “Men often think that feminism is a women's word ... but if you stand for gender equality, you are a feminist.”

What Has Emma Watson done for feminism? ›

In 2014, she was appointed a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador and helped launch the UN Women campaign HeForShe, which advocates for gender equality. Since the launch of the HeForShe movement, Emma has participated in many events that have sought to promote women's rights and women's political participation.

What is the tone of Emma Watson's gender equality speech? ›

Watson creates a compassionate tone in order to convey men, specifically those who negatively perceived feminism or did not think that feminist issues affected them.

What is the message of Emma Watson's speech? ›

Emma Watson' speech revolves around the topics of gender inequality and gender roles. More specifically, it is about how stereotypical gender roles contribute to creating and preserving gender inequality.

Why is Emma Watson a good role model? ›

A Fierce Advocate of Human Rights, Literacy, Feminism & Environmental Issues. A true humanitarian, an educationist and a social activist, Watson actively participates in numerous charity endeavours and stays updated about the latest issues around the world from trans rights to #blacklivesmatter.

What are the opposing arguments for gender equality Brainly? ›

The opposing arguments for this is that females are more vulnerable to incidences such as violence, hate speech etc. This therefore are the opposing arguments on why gender equality isn't practised in all countries.

Why is there a need for gender equality? ›

Gender equality prevents violence against women and girls. It's essential for economic prosperity. Societies that value women and men as equal are safer and healthier. Gender equality is a human right.

How does Emma Watson use language to persuade her audience? ›

Emma Watson constantly appeal to emotions in her speech, maintaining an emotional connection with the audience. At the beginning of the speech, she already uses pathos to appeal to the emotions of the audience.

How did Emma Watson impact the world? ›

She has worked to promote fair trade and organic clothing and served as an ambassador for Camfed International, a movement to educate girls in rural Africa. “Being asked to serve as UN Women's Goodwill Ambassador is truly humbling,” said Emma.

What can we learn from Emma Watson? ›

Set the Standard. A main reason for Watson's success is that she is one of a kind. Though it's important to learn from others, set the standard of achievement for yourself. Model your efforts on what you think is important regardless of what those around you are doing.

What is feminism in gender equality? ›

In general, feminism can be seen as a movement to put an end to sexism, sexist exploitation, and oppression and to achieve full gender equality in law and in practice.

What rhetorical devices did Emma Watson use in her speech? ›

Among the rhetorical devices found in her speech are parallelism, the rule of three, and shifting use of personal pronoun I, you, and we. To begin her speech, Emma Watson frankly introduces the name of the campaign and stated the aim of her speech, which is to end gender inequality.

Who is the intended audience for Emma Watson's speech? ›

She made many points that I had never heard or thought of that really made sense. Emma Watson's immediate audience was the United Nations. This is where she gave the speech.

What has HeForShe achieved? ›

Now four years old, HeForShe has garnered approximately 1.3 billion commitments, a number continuing to grow. From the United States alone 141,000+ commitments have been made, most of which have come from men.

Why is Emma Watson inspirational? ›

Watson has also promoted education for girls, and has visited Bangladesh and Zambia as part of her humanitarian efforts. Not only this, but she has also worked to promote fair trade and organic clothing and served as an ambassador for Camfed International, a movement to educate girls in rural Africa.

What does Emma Watson stand for? ›

Watson is an outspoken feminist. She has promoted education for girls, travelling to Bangladesh and Zambia to do so. In July 2014, she was appointed a UN Women Goodwill ambassador.

Who is Emma Watson husband? ›

Emma Watson has purposely kept her love life out of the public eye for years, but in May 2021, the Daily Mail reported that Watson was rumored to be engaged to Leo Robinton, her boyfriend of over one year, after the two were photographed out together on May 13, 2021.

Is Emma Watson a great leader? ›

Leadership Traits and Characteristics

Emma Watson's strong leadership can be attributed to her many traits and characteristics that I find inspiring. Communication: Watson composed her UN speech herself, incorporating her own voice, thoughts and personal experiences throughout.

Why is Emma Watson a hero? ›

She is also an actress, model, and a philanthropist. Determination and activism are the traits that make up a hero. Emma Watson is a hero because of her commitment to activism and her determination for equal rights and for education.

What did Emma Watson hope to achieve with her speech? ›

This past weekend, British actress and U.N. Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson delivered a compelling speech to the U.N. General Women's Assembly to launch the #HeforShe campaign. The aim of this campaign is to mobilize as many men and boys as possible to advocate for gender equality.

How can we solve the problem of gender equality? ›

Learn more about us.
  1. Talk to women and girls. ...
  2. Let girls use mobile phones. ...
  3. Stop child marriage and sexual harassment. ...
  4. Make education gender sensitive. ...
  5. Raise aspirations of girls and their parents. ...
  6. Empower mothers. ...
  7. Give proper value to 'women's work' ...
  8. Get women into power.

What are some examples of gender issues? ›

Despite worldwide progress, gender inequality persists. The COVID-19 pandemic has threatened to put years of hard-won progress at risk.
...
Gender Inequality Examples:
  • Gender inequality in girls education. ...
  • Child marriage. ...
  • Gender-based violence. ...
  • Child labor.

What can you say about gender equality essay? ›

A nation needs to value every gender equally to progress at the right place. A society attains better development in all aspects when both genders are entitled to similar opportunities. Equal rights in decision making, health, politics, infrastructure, profession, etc will surely advance our society to a new level.

How does gender equality affect society? ›

Evidence from around the world shows that gender equality advancements have a ripple effect on all areas of sustainable development, from reducing poverty, hunger and even carbon emissions to enhancing the health, well-being and education of entire families, communities and countries.

Where is Emma Watson speaking and in what capacity? ›

This is Expert Verified Answer

Emma Watson is speaking at the launch of the HeForShe campaign, at the General Assembly at the United Nations' building in New York. She is addressing the audience as the UN Goodwill Ambassador for Women.

What kind of leader is Emma Watson? ›

By being a visionary and empowering both men and women to work together towards gender equality, Watson acts as a transformational leader.

Why is Emma Watson a change maker? ›

One of her great efforts over the years has been in favor of gender equality, which led her to launch the HeForShe campaign, seeking to involve men in the quest for gender equality and also to break with gender-based assumptions.

Is Emma Watson eco friendly? ›

Emma Watson is well known for her environmental activism, so it's no surprise that her fashion choices reflect those concerns. In fact, the actor was arguably ahead of the game when it comes to championing sustainable fashion, often opting to wear vintage on the red carpet during her Harry Potter days.

What is Emma Watson's famous quote? ›

Here are five of Emma Watson's inspiring quotes: “Don't feel stupid if you don't like what everyone else pretends to love.” “I like books that aren't just lovely but that have memories in themselves. Just like playing a song, picking up a book again that has memories can take you back to another place or another time.”

Is Emma Watson an effective speaker? ›

Such was the strength of her passion

It takes a lot to be a great speaker and one of the many critical ingredients is congruence. Every ounce of the speakers being has to be in harmony with the words coming out of their mouth. In this case, it's highly visible that Emma Watson believes and means every word she says.

How much has Emma Watson donated to charity? ›

Emma Watson, the British Actor of Harry Potter fame, has donated $1.4 million to the Justice and Equality Fund, spearheading a movement that the women from the entertainment industry came together to launch.

What is gender equality called? ›

gender equality, also called gender egalitarianism, sex equality, or sexual equality, condition of parity regardless of an individual's gender. Gender equality addresses the tendency to ascribe, in various settings across societies, different roles and status to individuals on the basis of gender.

How many genders are there in world? ›

There are many different gender identities, including male, female, transgender, gender neutral, non-binary, agender, pangender, genderqueer, two-spirit, third gender, and all, none or a combination of these.

What persuasive techniques does Emma Watson use in her speech? ›

Rhetorical devices are language techniques used to make a speech more interesting, convincing, or memorable. The most used rhetorical devices in Emma Watson's “HeForShe Speech”, are enumerations and repetitions, rhetorical questions, and direct address.

What is feminism according to Emma Watson speech? ›

During her UN Speech, Watson defined feminism point blank: "For the record, feminism by definition is: 'The belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It is the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes. '"

What does Emma Watson stand for? ›

Watson is an outspoken feminist. She has promoted education for girls, travelling to Bangladesh and Zambia to do so. In July 2014, she was appointed a UN Women Goodwill ambassador.

What rhetorical devices did Emma Watson use in her speech? ›

Among the rhetorical devices found in her speech are parallelism, the rule of three, and shifting use of personal pronoun I, you, and we. To begin her speech, Emma Watson frankly introduces the name of the campaign and stated the aim of her speech, which is to end gender inequality.

How does Emma Watson appeal to her audience? ›

The second mode of rhetoric, pathos, is about engaging the audience at an emotional level. Watson plainly states early in her speech that “I need your help.” As such, Watson appeals to the sense of decency in her audience. She continues to do so when she speaks of the rights of women and men to be treated fairly.

Where is Emma Watson speaking and in what capacity? ›

This is Expert Verified Answer

Emma Watson is speaking at the launch of the HeForShe campaign, at the General Assembly at the United Nations' building in New York. She is addressing the audience as the UN Goodwill Ambassador for Women.

Why is Emma Watson inspirational? ›

Watson has also promoted education for girls, and has visited Bangladesh and Zambia as part of her humanitarian efforts. Not only this, but she has also worked to promote fair trade and organic clothing and served as an ambassador for Camfed International, a movement to educate girls in rural Africa.

Who is Emma Watson husband? ›

Emma Watson has purposely kept her love life out of the public eye for years, but in May 2021, the Daily Mail reported that Watson was rumored to be engaged to Leo Robinton, her boyfriend of over one year, after the two were photographed out together on May 13, 2021.

What has HeForShe achieved? ›

HeForShe Champions have done the hard work and shared their tried and tested for achieving parity at leadership, for ending gender-based violence and for many more of today's most critical equality issues.

How did Emma Watson impact the world? ›

She has worked to promote fair trade and organic clothing and served as an ambassador for Camfed International, a movement to educate girls in rural Africa. “Being asked to serve as UN Women's Goodwill Ambassador is truly humbling,” said Emma.

What can we learn from Emma Watson? ›

Set the Standard. A main reason for Watson's success is that she is one of a kind. Though it's important to learn from others, set the standard of achievement for yourself. Model your efforts on what you think is important regardless of what those around you are doing.

Why is Emma Watson considered a hero? ›

Emma Watson is a hero because of her determination for equal rights and for education, and because of her commitment to activism. She started off in the film business starring in all of the Harry Potter films as Heromine Granger but then moved on to bigger and more mature roles.

How does Emma Watson use repetition in her speech? ›

The repetition animates the audience; confidence is contagious and Watson's conviction inspires those listening to support the cause. The use of repetition appears multiple times during Emma's speech to the UN. Another way she verbally engages the sentimentality of her listeners by speaking directly to them.

What is anaphora figure of speech? ›

Anaphora is the repetition of words or phrases in a group of sentences, clauses, or poetic lines. It is sort of like epistrophe, which I discussed in a previous video, except that the repetition in anaphora occurs at the beginning of these structures while the repetition in epistrophe occurs at the end.

Videos

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