You probably know Emma Watson as Hermoine Granger from the Harry Potter movies but in the last week she’s been making headlines for another reason: feminism!
Emma was appointed as a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador in July and gave a kickass speech last week launching the HeForShe campaign calling on men to support gender equality. If you haven’t already seen her speech then stop what you’re doing and watch it, now.
So why was her speech so great? Emma’s explanation of feminism is simple, it’s about equal rights for men, women and people of all gender identities- not about hating men. It was also a call for action, asking men to do their bit in the fight for gender equality, because we can get a lot more done if we work together.
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. 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 that 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 parts of themselves they abandoned and in doing so, be a more true and complete version of themselves.
But why do we need feminism? Well these stats might shock you:
In Australia women working full-time on average earn 17.5% less than men working full-time.
Women are 50% of the population, but make up only 26% of representatives in parliament.
1 in 3 women worldwide has experienced physical or sexual violence in their lifetime.
Yep, it can be pretty depressing. But there are heaps of ways to get involved in the fight for gender equality and encouraging the guys in your life to get involved in HeForShe is just one of them. The internet is full of awesome writing about feminism like Rookie and Birdee. There are also great campaigns like who needs feminism and everyday sexism to check out, or even submit your own entry.
If you want to find out more about feminism have a look at our women’s rights section.