Emma Watson initiates HeforShe campaign

Emma Watson presenting her UN speech on gender equality at UN headquarters in New York on September 20, 2014. (photograph/HeForShe on Youtube.com)

On Saturday, Sept. 20, Emma Watson delivered a ground-breaking speech at the U.N. headquarters in New York City as the U.N. Women’s Global Goodwill Ambassador. The actress was given the title six months ago and has just returned from Uruguay, where she learned about women’s political rights.

Watson’s speech eloquently re-defined the word feminism, building to a crescendo in raising worldwide awareness to the lack of equality for both men and women.  She was caring and passionate in her tone of voice, citing personal experiences in being judged as a feminist. “The stigma around the word must end,” Watson said.

“I want men to take up this mantle so their daughters, sisters and mothers can be free from prejudice, but also so their sons have permission to be vulnerable and human too, and in doing so, be a more true and complete version of themselves,” Watson said.

Watson announced the launching of the “HeforShe” campaign, attempting to end gender inequality. The 22-year-old extended a formal invitation to all males to commence this movement, striving to give women equal respect and equality. 

She sparked a positive reaction from her audience when she stated that males were liable in protecting the rights of women.

“When [men] 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 need 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,” Watson said.

Many applauded Watson’s speech when she made bold statements that others might have hesitated to make.  But as she proudly said, “If not me, who? If not now, when?” For a young woman such as Watson to stand in front of the world and say these things took more than courage, and much more than audacity. She stated that feminism is not man-hating.

Social media has already plunged into this “HeforShe” movement and other celebrities have posted photos online of themselves with the hashtag #heforshe. Some men have anonymously posted their support.

The “HeforShe” campaign is set to run for 12 months and its goal is to reach a billion male advocates.

Astonishingly, Watson memorized her speech and did not look down for references the entire time. Even though she is known for playing a character called Hermoine in the saga, “Harry Potter”, she stated that she cares about this cause and she wants to help. As she concluded her speech, one might surmise that this was not an actress trying to give further credibility to her name or gain popularity.  This was a human being attempting to solve a worldwide issue.

Kudos to Watson for her inspirational step for the betterment of women and men, and to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon for being the first man to sign up for the campaign.

For further details on Emma Watson’s speech, visit Rappler.com.

If you desire more information and wish to become involved in this campaign, please go to heforshe.org.