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I am reaching out to you because I need your

We want to end gender inequality—and to
do that we need everyone to be involved.

This is the first campaign of its kind at
the UN: we want to try and galvanize as many

men and boys as possible to be advocates for
gender equality.

And we don't just want to talk about it,
but make sure it is tangible.

I was appointed six months ago and 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.

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
when at eight I was confused at being called

“bossy,” because I wanted to direct the
plays we would put on for our parents—but

the boys were not.
When at 14 I started being sexualized by certain
elements of the press.

When at 15 my girlfriends started dropping
out of their sports teams because they didn't

want to appear “muscly.”
When at 18 my male friends were unable to
express their feelings.

I decided I was a feminist and this seemed
uncomplicated to me.

But my recent research has shown me that feminism
has become an unpopular word.

Apparently I am among the ranks of women whose
expressions are seen as too strong, too aggressive,

isolating, anti-men and, unattractive.
Why is the word such an uncomfortable one?
I am from Britain and think it is right that
as a woman 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 it is right that women be involved
on my behalf in the policies and decision-making
of my country.

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 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

My school did not limit me because I was a

My mentors didn't assume I would go less
far because I might give birth to a child

one day.
These influencers were 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.

And we need more of those.
And if you still hate the word—it is not
the word that is important but the idea and

the ambition behind it.
Because not all women have been afforded the
same rights that I have.

In fact, statistically, very few have been.
In 1995, Hilary Clinton made a famous speech
in Beijing about women's rights.

Sadly many of the things she wanted to change
are still a reality today.

But what stood out for me the most was that
only 30 per cent of her 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.

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 look less “macho”—in
fact in the UK suicide is the biggest killer

of men between 20-49 years of age; eclipsing
road accidents, cancer and coronary heart

I've seen men made fragile and insecure
by a distorted sense of what constitutes male

Men don't have the benefits of equality

We don't often talk about men being imprisoned
by gender stereotypes but I can see that that

they are and that when they are free, things
will change for women as a natural consequence.

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.

Both men and women should feel free to be

Both men and women should feel free to be

It is time that we all perceive gender on
a spectrum not as two opposing sets of ideals.

If we stop defining each other by what we
are not and start defining ourselves by what

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 that their

sons have permission to be vulnerable and
human too—reclaim those parts of themselves

they abandoned and in doing so be a more true
and complete version of themselves.

You might be thinking who is this Harry Potter

And what is she doing up on stage at the UN.
It's a good question and trust me, I have
been asking myself the same thing.

I don't know if I am qualified to be here.
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 it is my duty to say something.

English Statesman Edmund Burke said: “All
that is needed for the forces of evil to triumph

is for enough good men and women to do nothing.”
In my nervousness for this speech and in 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 those words might

be helpful.
Because the reality is that if we do nothing
it will take 75 years, or for me to be nearly

a hundred 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 will be able

to receive a secondary education.
If you believe in equality, you might be one
of those inadvertent feminists I spoke of

And for this I applaud you.
We are struggling for a uniting word but the
good news is we have a uniting movement.

It is called HeForShe.
I am inviting you to step forward, to be seen
to speak up, to be the "he" for "she".

And to ask yourself if not me, who?
If not now, when?
Thank you.
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ENGLISH SPEECH | EMMA WATSON: Gender Equality (English Subtitles)

802 Folder Collection
曾依晴 published on January 24, 2019
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