Over the course of the past week the UN has staged productive discussions on international attitudes towards feminism. Actress Emma Watson, who was appointed as UN Women Ambassador six months ago, spoke at the UN on behalf of women’s equality, bringing awareness to gender inequality and productively pushing feminism into global limelight. The UN presented the constructive discussion which addressed the discrimination faced by women and what men’s contribution may be in resolving these inequalities.
During Emma Watson’s speech as Goodwill Ambassador she addresses contemporary prejudices that may arise and face both women and men in identifying with feminist concepts of gender division. She states individuals now see feminist expressions as “too strong” addressing the audience with the question why the word feminism has “become such an uncomfortable one?” Opening this discussion and presenting honest opinions on feminism may encourage a real response towards engineering effective gender equality.
Emma Watson’s stature and celebrity status in the media might create the necessary publicity to bring awareness to gender division and spur constructive developments from both national and international states. As UN Goodwill Ambassador her influence is potentially able to reach a worldwide audience and constructively aid Britain’s, as well as international states, view towards women’s contribution in policies and decision-making. As an influential actress who may inspire young minds of boys and girls with her opinions on defending women’s rights, this might convey an important message to persevere with personal beliefs and use influence for progressive outcomes.
As a figurehead for the newly launched campaign, HeforShe, Emma Watson emphasised the role of men in feminism. She conveyed how a man’s role is of equal importance in joining the feminism discussion and the practicality of both genders partaking. The campaign aims to galvanise as many men and boys into a healthy discussion on feminism, forming a “solidarity movement for gender equality.” The main ideology behind the HeforShe campaign is to relinquish antiquated beliefs which revolve around feminism as a movement pursued only by women. It aims to include both genders for humanitarian benefits and address the human rights challenges that are involved. By Emma Watson formally launching this campaign through the UN, the international awareness of HeforShe may reach nations globally and instigate a constructive discussion for socially equality.
The HeforShe campaign also addresses how feminism might be an incentive for men’s well-being. Emma Watson offers insightful sentiments about how men may be treated with stigma for displaying feminine traits, consequently left “unable to express their feelings”. She notes how the perception of what is deemed a male role in society might create challenges when expressing feminine characteristics due to these prejudices. The HeforShe campaign aims to reclaim men’s permission to express vulnerability and equality to share truer feelings in society. Through this campaign both genders might constructively be represented as equal entities that collectively create a union in support of human rights.
This constructive debate on feminism comes at a time when women’s international influence in civilisation has recently been recognised through the UAEs employment of their first women pilot for air forces – Major Mariam al-Mansouri. The UAE’s actions may indicate positive progression in terms of gender equality internationally. Emma Watson’s UN speech has the momentum to continue towards a more liberal attitude with women’s involvement in all aspects of governmental operations and create an honest foundation for both genders to work together on equal terms.
Emma Watson’s advocacy for gender equality as UN Women Goodwill Ambassador has raised significant discussions on prejudices which may still be present in modern society, nationally and worldwide. The HeforShe campaign constructively aims to raise awareness of supporting both men and women’s rights in a humanitarian society and the dynamic benefits solidarity may produce.
What other progressive steps need to be taken for gender unification?