Emma Watson’s He For She UN Speech On Gender Inequality
Emma Watson has changed the conversation about feminism during her recent UN speech to launch the HeForShe campaign. Through her words, she opened the door to a new way of thinking with gender inequality, which affects both men and women within our society. She strongly encouraged men to get involved to help enact this change, as we must strive to create a community that equally values every man and woman within it.
If anyone is being stereotyped by society's expectations of being a man or woman, then gender inequality is an issue. If anyone is being paid less for a job that another gender is paid more for, then gender inequality is an issue. If anyone is being pressured into being something they are not, then gender inequality is an issue. When any type of discrimination occurs because of gender, then gender inequality is an issue. The reason why gender inequality remains to be an important conversation is that it is a human rights issue that is currently affecting everyone throughout the world.
Here are some powerful quotes from her speech:
"We must try to mobilize as many men and boys as possible to be advocates for change. We don’t just want to talk about it."
"Fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating. If there is one thing I know for certain 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."
"Feminism has become an unpopular word. Women are choosing not to identify as feminists. Apparently, [women’s expression is] seen as too strong, too aggressive, isolating, and anti-men, unattractive even. Why has the word become such an uncomfortable one?"
"No country in the world can yet say that they achieved gender equality. These rights are considered to be human rights"
"Men, I would like to give this opportunity to extend your formal invitation. Gender equality is your issue, too. Because to date, I’ve seen my father’s role as a parent being valued less by society. I’ve seen young men suffering from mental illness, unable to ask for help for fear it would make them less of a man. In fact, in the UK, suicide is the biggest killer of men between 20 to 49, eclipsing road accidents, cancer and heart disease. I’ve seen men fragile and insecure by what constitutes male success. Men don’t have the benefits of equality, either."
"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 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."
I believe Emma identified a key question, "Why has the word [feminism] become such an uncomfortable one?" In a recent #ConsciousConvo about women's rights regarding the glass ceiling, I could not help but notice the lack of male response during this online conversation. Men should not shy away from this topic, but rather, they should approach it with a willingness to bring equality. As mentioned within her speech, gender inequality does indeed affect everyone, so everyone should be concerned and seeking to enact change.
During her speech, Emma also quoted Statesman Edmund Burke, who said, "All that is needed for the forces of evil to triumph is for good men and women to do nothing." It is an unfortunate truth, but as mentioned in this quote, apathy can keep our society from making real change. She closed with, "If not me, then who? If not now, then when?"
Think about these questions, and learn more about the HeForShe campaign or any campaign close to your heart. There is no reason that each and every one of us cannot get involved.