Emma Watson showed her support for women, minorities, and people of all religious faiths, nationalities or gender identities who’s rights are threatened by the new US government by participating in the Women’s March on Washington. Estimates are that over 500,000 people attended the event, far exceeding the number who were at the presidential inauguration on Friday. Similar protest marches were held around the world in many countries, with over 2 million participants.
Archive for the ‘HeForShe’ Category
UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson visited Malawi this past Monday to “shine a global spotlight on the need to end child marriage”. Malawi has one of the world’s highest rates of child marriage with half of all girls married before the age of 18. Last year Malawi passed legislation raising the minimum age of marriage to 18 and Malawi President Professor Arthur Peter Mutharika has set a goal of fully implementing the new law within 5 years. Emma met with traditional chiefs and girls who have returned to school after having marriages annulled.
“Spending the day in the beautiful country of Malawi has been a moving and inspiring experience for me. Meeting with young girls, who like many in their country, are struggling with poverty and were pressured into early marriage, depriving them of their education in the process, made me realize just how important it is for women to be able to make their own choices. It’s so encouraging to see how such a harmful practice can be stopped when communities work together to pass laws, and then turn those laws into reality.”
“I applaud and thank our HeForShe Impact Champion President Mutharika for making this issue a priority in his Government, as well as all the traditional leaders—especially Chief Kachindamoto (so formidable, she has been nicknamed “The Terminator”!). She has implemented the annulment of so many child marriages and restored the futures of these girls. With the help and collaboration of her local chiefs, mothers’ groups and religious leaders, she has managed to annul almost 1500 child marriages, sending the girls back to school. President Mutharika has committed to make child marriage a thing of the past in Malawi within the next five years. Because of bold and brave leadership like this things may start to change. It was amazing to be on the ground with UN Women to witness their work!”
Emma met with Senior Chief Kachindamoto, “a prominent champion in the fight to stop child marriage. The Chief has annulled nearly 1,500 such marriages among her constituents, and suspended village heads who have consented to the practice”. Emma also met with girls who have returned to school after having their marriages annulled. For more
Last month Emma was in Ottawa, Canada for the 2016 One Young World Summit. She lead a special session on gender equality, “Challenging Stereotypes from the Ground Up”. In her opening statement, Emma spoke of the threats and abuse she’s suffered since founding the HeForShe campaign, finding her sense of belonging, her “tribe”, as an activist, and how communities can break down the gender barriers. “We, the entire spectrum of the feminist movement, are building an unstoppable current.”
Emma also met with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to discuss the HeForShe campaign and his role of HeForShe Youth Ambassador.
Emma Watson, UN Women Global Goodwill Ambassador, spoke at a reception celebrating the anniversary of the UN Women HeForShe initiative launched two years ago. Also speaking were Their Excellencies Sauli Niinistö, President of Finland, Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan, Peter Mutharika, President of Malawi and Justin Trudeau, Prime Minister of Canada and Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Under Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women.
Earlier in the day, Emma introduced the release of the HeForShe IMPACT 10x10x10 University Parity Report.
On Tuesday, Emma Watson launched HeForShe’s Art Week in New York City at The Public Theater. Emma’s introduction was followed by a panel discussion with actor and UNESCO Special Envoy for Peace Forest Whitaker, UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, and First Lady of NYC Chirlane McCray “on the powerful role arts play in shaping behaviours, norms and perceptions that shape our cultural view of gender”. After the discussion, Emma went to the Empire State Building for a lighting ceremony, illuminating the building in HeForShe magenta. Arts Week continues through March 15.
On Wednesday Emma Watson spent the evening with journalist and activist Gloria Steinem talking about feminism and gender equality. The sold out event was held at the Emmanuel Centre in London. Emma chose Steinem’s latest book My Life on the Road as the first read for her book club Our Shared Shelf. Started in January, her club soon became the largest group on Goodreads with over 100,000 members, twice that of the next most popular.
Video of the event has been released on Our Shared Shelf.
In a conversation with author and social activist bell hooks, Emma Watson revealed she will be taking a year off from acting. Emma and hooks discuss feminism, reading, and the reasons for her hiatus. You can read the complete article published in Papermag here.
hooks: “As part of your efforts for activism and for self-growth, you’re taking a year away from acting. That’s a big decision.”
Watson: “I’m taking a year away from acting to focus on two things, really. My own personal development is one. I know that you read a book a day. My own personal task is to read a book a week, and also to read a book a month as part of my book club. I’m doing a huge amount of reading and study just on my own. I almost thought about going and doing a year of gender studies, then I realized that I was learning so much by being on the ground and just speaking with people and doing my reading. That I was learning so much on my own. I actually wanted to keep on the path that I’m on. I’m reading a lot this year, and I want to do a lot of listening.”
And she’ll continue on with her work for HeForShe and the UN:
“This January, our HeForShe IMPACT champions are ten CEOs who for the first time will be releasing to the media what their companies look like internally. So how many CEOs are male or female, the gender wage gap. We’ll be making all of these statements completely transparent, which is huge. It’s never been done before. I’m very interested and excited to see how that works out. I’ll also take another field trip in the next two or three months. We are organizing a HeForShe arts week, a university tour, and launching the HeForShe website. It’s a lot. There’s a lot to do.”
Emma Watson was a moderator for the HeForShe IMPACT 10x10x10 Parity Report Launch at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. You can watch the full launch presentation and download the report from HeForShe.
Emma with Jakob Trollback, Paul Polman, Adam Bain, Hannah Godefa and Freida Pinto.
Emma Watson interviewed Malala Yousafzai at the opening of her documentary film He Named me Malala at the Into Film Festival. Emma posted a message on her facebook page, and a video of the interview. By the time she was a teenager, Malala was a women’s rights activist speaking out against the Taliban’s efforts to exclude girls from school. In 2012 Malala was shot and nearly killed in an assassination attempt. After recovering, she has become a global voice advocating for girl’s education.
Today I met Malala. She was giving, utterly graceful, compelling and intelligent. That might sound obvious but I was struck by this even more in person. There are lots of NGOs out there in the world doing great things… But if there were one I would put my money on to succeed and make change on this planet, it would be hers. (The Malala Fund). Malala isn’t messing around or mincing her words (one of the many reasons I love her). She has the strength of her convictions coupled with the kind of determination I rarely encounter… And it doesn’t seem to have been diminished by the success she has already had. And lastly…She has a sense of peace around her. I leave this for last because it is perhaps the most important. Maybe as a result of what she has been through? I personally think it is just who she is…
Perhaps the most moving moment of today for me was when Malala addressed the issue of feminism. To give you some background, I had initially planned to ask Malala whether or not she was a feminist but then researched to see whether she had used this word to describe herself. Having seen that she hadn’t, I decided to take the question out before the day of our interview. To my utter shock Malala put the question back into one of her own answers and identified herself. Maybe feminist isn’t the easiest word to use… But she did it ANYWAY. You can probably see in the interview how I felt about this. She also gave me time at the end of the Q&A to speak about some of my own work, which she most certainly didn’t need to do, I was there to interview her. I think this gesture is so emblematic of what Malala and I went on to discuss. I’ve spoken before on what a controversial word feminism is currently. More recently, I am learning what a factionalized movement it is too. We are all moving towards the same goal. Let’s not make it scary to say you’re a feminist. I want to make it a welcoming and inclusive movement. Let’s join our hands and move together so we can make real change. Malala and I are pretty serious about it but we need you.
With love, Emma x