Emma Watson’s UN Speech on Gender Equality

“I want men to take up this mantel. So that 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 that they abandoned. And, in doing so, be a more true and complete version of themselves.”

I don’t know much about Emma Watson, and that’s probably okay. But the young lady gave one great speech recently at the UN on gender equality.

What set Watson’s speech apart, and indeed what is guiding the efforts of the group she is representing, is there inclusion of men in the struggle for equal rights for women. The HeForShe group and movement is certainly going to see some momentum from Ms. Watson’s speech and I have to say I’m thrilled to see it.

As she points out in her speech, feminism, by definition, is the equaling of rights for women that men enjoy. To do this, to really truly do this, it’s going to take some buy-in from that other group (men), focusing on that equality for their counterparts. If there is no buy-in, there is a power struggle and men have been historically (and, sadly, currently) very good at keeping this imbalance in part.

For all the pro-women groups that have popped up, there have been equal movements within men’s groups to deny the want for equality. Why? Because men often see the world as a power game. It’s biologically programmed into us, if you believe in evolutionary theory and psychology. That’s how we act. When we see a threat to the power we hold, our reactions are either of violence, or of oppression. This has played out WAY too many times in history.

(Side note: I know that Republicans very recently denied a bill on Capital hill that would guarantee equal pay for women in the same jobs as men. They voted it down because, they claimed, it was just a ploy from Democrats to win votes for November. It was a politics show, they said. That’s fine and all — I know that election-year politics can get kind of silly — but what baffles me is the assurance on their part that an equal-pay bill would NOT help (the Repubs) in their own districts. Are they catering to such a specific crowd that this is bad. Do they not want the vote of what should be a large majority of an already existing majority of American people???)

Watson, in the quote above, is so spot on though. Men need to join in this initiative not just because it will help the women around them, but it will also help the next generation of men to see that and not to have equality be a fleeting thing.

I’m excited to see where this goes and have signed me name up for the initiative. Let’s equal this thing out and live in harmony. There isn’t one single compelling reason I’ve heard for the way things are.

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