Emma Watson delivers speech for UN gender equality campaign

It was announced last week that Emma Watson would co-host an event at the United Nations Headquarters in New York to advocate for a new campaign, HeForShe, which seeks to involve men and boys around the world in the fight for gender equality.

After her appointment as Good Will Ambassador for UN Women six months ago, Emma has already taken steps for change, including her visit to Uruguay to deliver a 4,000-signature petition to parliament, calling for greater political participation by women.

In her speech at the UN, she called herself one of “the lucky ones” because she was given more rights than most women around the world are.

But sadly, I can say that there is no one country in the world where all women can expect to see these rights. No country in the world can yet say that they achieved gender equality.

Emma said, “the ambition and idea” behind feminism is what is needed more than anything, and she believes men play a crucial role in it, just as much as women do.

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

Men don’t have the benefits of equality either. We don’t want to talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes, but I can see that they are. When they are free, things will change for women as a natural consequence.

Emma believes that the struggle for equality exists for both men and women. She said growing up, her female friends were leaving sports teams for fear of being too masculine, and her male friends wouldn’t express their emotions for fear of being too feminine. But Emma sees a new way of looking at gender and asked the members of the UN to view it her way.

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.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon was the first man to sign up for the HeForShe map to collect 1 billion advocates for the 12-month campaign. He said, “We need to say to men and boys: Do not raise your hands in violence – raise your voices to stop it – and to support human rights for all.

Emma’s parting remarks inspired a standing ovation.

I invite you to step forward, to be seen, and I ask yoursel, ‘If not me, who? If not now, when?’

You can watch Emma’s entire speech below: