I am reaching out to you because we need your help. I was appointed as Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women six months ago.We want to end gender inequality, and to do this, we need everyone involved. We want to try to mobilize as many men and boys as possible to be advocates for change. And, the more I spoke about feminism, the more I 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.
I decided that I was a feminist, and this seemed uncomplicated to me. I am from Britain, and I think it is right I am paid the same as my male counterparts.
But my recent research has shown me that feminism has become an unpopular word. Apparently, I’m among the ranks of women whose expressions are seen as too strong, too aggressive, isolating, and anti-men. 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 decisions that will affect my life.
When I was 8, I was confused for 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 sports teams because they didn’t want to appear muscly.
When at 18, my male friends were unable to express their feelings.
In September 2014 British actor and Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women, Emma Watson, gave a smart, important, and moving speech about gender inequality and how to fight it.
In doing so, she launched the He For She initiative, which aims to get men and boys to to join the feminist fight for gender equality. Watson made the very important point that in order for gender equality to be achieved, harmful and destructive stereotypes of and expectations for masculinity have got to change.