Emma Watson’s UN speech a gender equality game changer

Peyton Whittington, Staff Reporter

When I was little, I used to resent my parents for giving me a unisex name. Everyone referenced the football player Peyton Manning when I introduced myself, and nurses always scanned the waiting room for a boy when they called my name at the doctor’s office.

I got several explanations for how I was named, yet the one that stood out the most was that my gender would not be apparent on a resume and I would therefore receive the same consideration for the position as a man.

This is a pretty heavy subject to consider when naming your newborn child. But sadly, women have even more alarming issues to worry about. It is a startling truth that no one country in the world can say that they have achieved gender equality.

Emma Watson, famous “Harry Potter” actress and newly-appointed Women Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations gave a stirring speech on women’s suffrage at the UN New York headquarters late last month to promote her organization campaigning for women’s rights, HeForShe. Watson is attempting to encourage males to join the feminist cause.

“We want to end gender inequality, and to do that we need everyone to be involved,” Watson said.

Watson expanded upon her call to action when she mentioned Hillary Clinton’s famous speech on women’s rights in Beijing in 1995. Watson pointed out that only a shocking 30 percent of the audience attending the speech was male.

“How can we affect change in the world when only half of it is invited or feel welcome to participate in the conversation?” Watson asked.

I thought this was brave of Watson. It is not an easy thing to admit that maybe the problem is not that men do not wish to promote feminism, but perhaps they do not feel welcome to. Watson finished this thought by addressing men in particular.

“I would like to take this opportunity to extend your formal invitation. Gender equality is your issue, too,” Watson said before receiving thunderous applause.

The actress noted that a world where gender equality is a reality would not only benefit women, but both sexes. No, men should not join the feminist cause solely for personal gain, but a world where women do not feel obliged to fill prescribed gender roles constitutes the same for men, as well.

“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,” Watson said.

This is the heart of the HeForShe movement and feminism. Although we have come a long way, we still have far to go, and men’s cooperation with gender equality will be one of the first fallen dominoes in a long line of societal gain, and both sexes will reap the benefits.

HeForShe is opening up more opportunities than ever for men to join the feminist movement, and hopefully this means that the entire population will get involved−not just half of it.

Gallery: # HeForShe

Emma Watson launched her HeForShe campaign to help end gender equality late last month. Watson tweeted the link to her website, heforshe.org, and soon after tweeted:

Emma watson tweet







The flood of responses from male celebrities taking selfies to support Watson’s cause was incredible. Check out these familiar faces:

5 item(s)