Emma Watson’s Feminist Speech for the UN

I’ve never been a fan of Harry Potter or any of Emma Watson’s movies. Not because I don’t like her or admire her talents, but simply because I’m not a big movie or TV person. However, I’m constantly trying to stay up to date with current news and what’s going on around the world… and Watson’s work never goes unnoticed.

I have great admiration for the young actress. Unlike many other young beautiful celebrities, she has blossomed into an elegant, responsible, educated woman. She’s rarely involved in scandals or stupid reckless acts. She uses her fame and power to create a positive impact in the world. She’s become an advocate for women’s rights and education. And this summer, she was named United Nations Women Goodwill Ambassador. She’s one of the very few celebrities that I truly admire.

On Saturday, Watson launched the ‘HeForShe’ campaign and delivered a powerful feminist speech at the United Nations. I couldn’t agree more with her words. I have uploaded the video for you to watch at the end of this post and you can see the full transcript here. But I’ve listed below my favorite quotes from her speech:

“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,”

“The more I spoke about feminism, the more I realized that 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. It is the theory of political, economic and social equality of the sexes.”

“I decided that I was a feminist. This seemed uncomplicated to me. But my recent research has shown me that feminism has become an unpopular word. Women are choosing not to identify as feminists.”

“My life is a sheer privilege because my parents didn’t love me less because I was born a daughter. My school did not limit me because I was a girl. My mentors didn’t assume that I would go less far because I might give birth to a child one day. These influences are the gender equality ambassadors that made me who I am today. They may not know it but they are the inadvertent feminists needed in the world today. We need more of those.”

“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 have to control, women won’t have to be controlled.”

“In my nervousness for this speech and in my moments of doubt, I told myself firmly: if not me, who? If not now, when? If you cast doubts when opportunity is presented to you, I hope those words will be helpful. Because the reality is if we do nothing, it will take 75 years or maybe 100 before women can expect to be paid the same as men for the same work. 15.5 million girls will be married in the next 16 years as children. And at current rates, it won’t be until 2086 before all rural African girls can have a secondary education.”

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