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Emma Watson Gives a Powerful Speech About Gender Equality - Watch the Video & Read Full Transcript Here

Emma Watson Gives a Powerful Speech About Gender Equality - Watch the Video & Read Full Transcript Here

Emma Watson gives an empowering and inspiring speech about gender roles in society at the launch of the #HeForShe campaign at the United Nations on Saturday (September 20) in New York City.

The 24-year-old actress and activist stood in front of a packed crowd and spoke to webstreams across the country about the issues to “mobilize men against gender inequalities.”

“When I was 8, I was confused about being called ‘bossy’ because I wanted to direct the plays that we would put on for our parents. But the boys were not. When at 14, I started to be sexualized by certain elements of the media, when at 15, my girlfriends started dropping out of their beloved sports teams, because they didn’t want to appear ‘muscle-y,’ when at 18, my males friends were unable to express their feelings, I decided that I was a feminist,” Emma told the attendees at the summit. “And this seems uncomplicated to me. But my recent research has shown me that feminism has become an unpopular word.”

The passionate speech, which is over 10 minutes long, is so powerful in its message – you must watch below.


Emma Watson Gives a Powerful Speech About Gender Equality

Click inside for a full transcript of Emma’s amazing speech…

“Today, we are launching a campaign called HeForShe. I am reaching out to you before we need your help. We want to end gender inequality and to do this, we need everyone involved. This is the first campaign of its kind at the UN. We want to try to galvanize as many men and boys as possible to be advocates for change and we don’t just want to talk about it. We want to try and make sure that it’s tangible. I was appointed as Goodwill Ambassador for U.N. Women six months ago and the more I’ve spoken about feminism, the more I have realized that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating. If there is one thing I know for certain, it 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 the political, economic and social equality of the sexes. I started questioning gender-based assumptions a long time ago. When I was 8, I was confused about being called ‘bossy’ because I wanted to direct the plays that we would put on for our parents. But the boys were not. When at 14, I started to be sexualized by certain elements of the media, when at 15, my girlfriends started dropping out of their beloved sports teams, because they didn’t want to appear ‘muscle-y,’ when at 18, my male friends were unable to express their feelings, I decided that I was a feminist. And this seems 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. Apparently, I am among the ranks of women whose expressions are seen as too strong, ‘too aggressive,’ isolating and anti-men, unattractive, even. Why has the word become such an uncomfortable one? I am from Britain and I think it is right that I am paid the same as my male counterparts. I think it is right that I should be able to make decisions about my own body, I think [applause break] … I think it is right that women be involved on my behalf in the policies and the decisions that affect my life. I think it is right that socially, I am afforded the same respect as men. But sadly, I can say that there is no one country in the world where all women can expect to receive these rights. No country in the world can yet say that they have achieved gender equality. These rights, I consider to be human rights but I am one of the lucky ones, 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 influencers are the gender equality ambassadors that made me who I am today. They may not know it, but they are the inadvertent feminists who are changing the world today. We need more of those and if you still hate the word, it is not the word that is important. It’s the idea and the ambition behind it. Because not all women have received the same rights that I have. In fact, statistically, very few have been. In 1997, Hillary Clinton made a famous speech in Beijing about women’s rights. Sadly, many of the things that she wanted to change are still true today. But what stood out for me the most was that less than 30 percent of the audience were male. How can we affect change in the world when only half of it is invited or feel welcome to participate in the conversation? Men, I would like to take this opportunity to extend your formal invitation.” [Applause break] “Gender equality is your issue too. Because to date, I’ve seen my father’s role as a parent being valued less by society despite my needing his presence, as a child, as much as my mother’s. I’ve seen young men suffering from mental illness, unable to ask for help, for fear it would make them less of a men—or less of a man. In fact, in the U.K., suicide is the biggest killer of men, between 20 to 49, eclipsing road accidents, cancer and coronary heart disease. I’ve seen men made fragile and insecure by a distorted sense of what constitutes male success. 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. If men don’t have to be aggressive, women won’t be compelled to be submissive. If men don’t need to control, women won’t have to be controlled. 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 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. You might think, ‘Who is this Harry Potter girl? What is she doing at the U.N.?’ And it’s a really good question—I’ve been asking myself at the same thing. All I know is that I care about this problem and I want to make it better. And having seen what I’ve seen and given the chance, I feel my responsibility to say something. Statesman Edmund Burke said all that is needed for the forces of evil to triumph is for good men and women to do nothing. In my nervousness for this speech and my moments of doubt, I’ve told myself firmly, ‘If not me, who? If not now, when?’ If you have similar doubts when opportunities are presented to you, I hope that those words will be helpful because the reality is, if we do nothing, it will take 75 years or for me, to be nearly 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. If you believe in equality, you might be one of those inadvertent feminists that I spoke of earlier and for this, I applaud you. We are struggling for a uniting word but the good news is that we have a uniting movement. It is called HeForShe. I am inviting you to step forward to be seen and to ask yourself, ‘If not me, who? If not now, when?’ Thank you very, very much.”

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Photos: Getty
Posted to: Emma Watson

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  • Mia

    Way to go girl!

  • anna

    She always does the complete opposite of what she preaches. To me this whole speech is just the work of good old crafted pr.

  • Yes

    I love her.

    @anna: That sounds like your problem.

  • http://www.tmz.com Harvey

    Tits or gtfo

  • http://@snooki bella biatch

    @Mia:

    this is pure Obama propaganda enslave more women to the state and make em dependent on govt .. the opposite of indepedent shame on you emma

  • Cate

    Great speech. Very impressive to see a young actress with her profile taking this issue seriously and using her high profile to bring attention to it.

  • V

    Gah, what hypocrite biotch, feminist didn’t need to have boyfriends 24/7.
    We never seen her single for moment andbeing independent girl, always has rich dude following her like puppy, is that her true definition of being feminist?

  • Vi

    Gah, what hypocrite biotch, feminist didn’t need to have boyfriends 24/7.
    We never seen her single for moment andbeing independent girl, always has rich dude following her like puppy, is that her true definition of being feminist?

  • chloe

    @V: The true definition of feminist is a person who advocates for gender equality. And this does not mean that you can’t have a boyfriend, or that just because you have a boyfriend doesn’t mean you can’t be independent.

  • wtfaa

    Sorry is she going to cry?

  • roman

    Then you flash your panties at premieres yeah so fair and supportive of women…

  • catholic

    Then you flash your panties at premieres. Yeah, so supportive of women…

  • PERCEPTIVE LIVING

    The Americans and their entire intelligence structure is owned and operated by American Women as it always has been, so this british, nee UN, redefinition of the “place for women” is disastrously moot. The brits lost their disastrously defining war against America. America knows what real feminism really is, as they invented it and live it. The communists do not!!

  • http://Facebook Andrew Wellborn

    Wow this is incredible and needs to be heard.

  • Rocky

    AMAZING speech!!

  • Miaua

    I don’t care about stupid comments. That speech was great and it’s needed. I thought what she said was part of the public knowlege and understanding in the modern world but for the past few years i’ve been hearing educated people reafering to feminism as Emma said, showing totally ignorance and with sexist arguments. It’s sad. It semms that Im like Emma, a lucky one.

    p.s. Sorry about my english.

  • Danielle

    Emma is amazing, her speech was great!

  • drey

    She is so inspiring. Very eloquent, she really didn’t need to talk about the “Harry potter girl” part, it makes as if she downgrading herself and she shouldn’t !
    I’m a feminist and I believe in equality in genders, thank you Emma

  • bap

    Emma is not a great speaker. She has intent, lets see her results in next few years.

  • pp

    A real beautiful and talented actress giving a speech about gender equality sounds good if i compare her speech with the speech of that overrated actress in her sexiness and untalented actress called Olivia Wilde

  • Viv

    @chloe:
    How can she be independent if she kept having boyfriends following her 24/7 like her butler?
    She never been single that long that made her looks like clingy girl who could die if there’s no man in her life, so far from her BS feminist speech.
    We rarely saw her out doing independent girls thing with her girlfriends, which weird considering girls around her age still like going out as big groups.

  • Pretty Ka

    Wonderful speech! I can tell she was nervous, but the message really did come through beautifully. This is a very important message, and I especialy appreciated what she said about male stereotypes.

  • Lol

    Hilary Clinton gave bad name for woman who trully fight for woman rights, she just left her dignity being doormat for her cheat shameful excuse of husband.
    Let’s see how many marriages or cheating rich ex husbands that Emma has to go through in the future if that’s her role model for “feminist”

  • onemoretime1293

    Emma Watson is bella

  • Tim Basham

    Very eloquent, articulate, and extremely correct about men not being able/allowed to express themselves, which translates into them not showing emotion…unless, of course, it’s anger, or pride. I realized that once I had reached adolescence, my father thought I should never shed tears again.