Cairo - Addressing United Nations Women with her magical abilities, British actress and UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson presented a brave and one of a kind speech not only to the attendees, (most of whom were men) but also to the whole world. Emma Watson, a recent Brown University graduate of 24 years advocates feminism that is not based on criticizing and hating men, but on shared efforts by both men and women to defy sexism and inequality.
Cairo – Addressing United Nations Women with her magical abilities, British actress and UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson presented a brave and one of a kind speech not only to the attendees, (most of whom were men) but also to the whole world. Emma Watson, a recent Brown University graduate of 24 years advocates feminism that is not based on criticizing and hating men, but on shared efforts by both men and women to defy sexism and inequality.
She promotes a campaign called “HeForShe,” based on gender equality not only to benefit women and girls but also to benefit men and boys in areas such as education, salary, decision making, and jobs. Watson essentially addresses these issues as human rights.
Among the issues Watson discusses is the effect of gender inequality. When men run into trouble and suffer from mental distress, they are less likely to seek help because of expectations of manliness. The UN Women campaign aims to get 100,000 men and boys involved in the fight to achieve gender equality. “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. “I think it is right I am paid the same as my male counterparts. I think it is right that I should make decisions about my own body. I think it is right that women be involved on my behalf in the policies and decisions that affect my life. I think it is right that socially, I am afforded the same respect as men,” she said. She urged the audience to face the facts by stating that no country in the world has achieved gender equality in the twenty-first century as of yet.
According to the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, in 2014, one in five women has experienced physical and/or sexual violence from a partner according to research conducted in 28 EU countries. In addition, in 2013, an estimated 140 million women worldwide were unable to access family planning services that would enable them to delay or stop childbearing. In Australia, one woman is still killed every week by her partner or ex-partner. Moreover, women make up 80 percent of all refugees and displaced people. Women make up more than 50 percent of the global population, but fill less than 20 percent of all parliamentary seats.
Though Watson’s speech is a game changer, the reputation of the UN as an ineffective entity may render the campaign little success. Besides, UN Women was established in 2011 and granted less than 1% of the UN budget owing to lack of political will from international powers such as Germany, the USA, and the UK that provided only $1 million, $6 million and $10 million apiece towards its goal. Though more effort is needed to couple this message with action, Watson’s eloquent words have moved audiences including men and women from different cultures and mindsets.
Unfortunately, following her public stance on gender inequality and sexism, a website has issued threats of leaking nude photos of Watson (the threat was later discovered to be a hoax).