‘If not me, who? If not now, when?’ – Emma Watson
Last week, you can’t possibly have missed the amazing speech of Emma Watson at the U.N. on gender equality that will I’m sure make history. This ‘Harry Potter girl’ – as she likes to call herself – rocked the world of millions of people by launching the #HeForShe campaign (first of that kind at the U.N.) that calls for men to become supporters and allies of the feminist movement.
Emma reminds her audience that feminism is the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities, that it is the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes. In short, she reminds us of how this is all about believing in equality.
Unfortunately, feminism has become an unpopular word since ‘women are choosing not to identify as feminists’. But like Emma, I want to speak up today and affirm my position as a feminist, even though it’s still considered as a too strong, too aggressive, isolating and anti-men – unattractive even – position. I’m proud to say that I’m a feminist, a member of this new #HeForShe movement and a defender of women rights in our modern societies.
‘If we 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.’ – Emma Watson
Our favourite Hermione spoke and she was heard. So far, more than 160,000 men have joined us, women, in the fight for gender equality by signing up for the #HeFor She movement. Now, thousands of men (but also women ^^) are sharing pictures of themselves holding up signs displaying the #HeForShe hashtag, and I wish – and I think I speak for all my female counterparts here – oh I so wish there could be more of this demonstrative and ongoing support from more men than there already is.
‘Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive, both men and women should feel free to be strong.’ – Emma Watson
#HeForShe is a brilliant way of including men in the fight for gender equality. Because after all, this problem does not only affects women; it is an issue that EVERYONE should feel concerned about! This new movement not only gives men a battle cry to support women in their everyday lives, but also makes them understand – hopefully – how hard it is to live in this world as a woman, as a girl… because WE have to fight for everything so much harder, we have to work harder, strive for success more strenuously and the list could eternally go on!
I am aware that there are many men out there who want to enter the fight for gender equality but haven’t found an efficient way to do so yet. Well, we’ve got a hashtag now so if you needed a way to get into the movement, that’s your ticket!
‘Why has the world become such an uncomfortable one?’ Emma asked. No countries in the entire world, not a single country in this world can say they’ve achieved gender equality – not even the most developed ones! And this has to change. If you look at facts, if we do nothing, it will take between 75 to 100 years 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 it won’t be until 2086 before all African girls can have a secondary education. This is unacceptable and this must be revolutionised.
It’s time for a change, a radical change. It’s time for a revolution. But to win this combat, we need men by our sides, and together we’ll put society on the right and fair trail, and we’ll achieve gender equality. We will. I believe it.
IF NOT US, WHO? IF NOT TODAY, WHEN?
What does a #HeForShe man do?
– Expresses zero tolerance for discrimination and violence against women & girls, as well as his fellow man.
– Believes in equal access to educational, economic and social opportunities for women and men.
– Speaks up when he is witness to physical, emotional or sexual harassment.
– Understands that taking a stand for women & girls is taking a stand for humanity, and positively impacts him and humanity as a whole.
(extracted from the #HeForShe Facebook Page)