Following her appointment as a U.N. Women Goodwill Ambassador earlier this year, the Harry Potter star gave a moving speech at the United Nations headquarters Saturday to help launch the organization's HeForShe gender equality campaign – which Emma called the "first campaign of its kind" for the UN. According to its site, HeForShe is a movement for gender equality that brings together "one half of humanity in support of the other of humanity, for the entirety of humanity."
"Today, we are launching a campaign called HeForShe," Emma began in her speech (read the full transcript here). "I am reaching out to you before we need your help. We want to end gender inequality and to do this, we need everyone involved...we want to try to galvanize as many men and boys as possible to be advocates for change and we don't just want to talk about it. We want to try and make sure that it's tangible."
"I was appointed as Goodwill Ambassador for U.N. Women six months ago and the more I've spoken about feminism, the more I have realized that fighting for women's rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating," she continued. "If there is one thing I know for certain, it is that this has to stop."
"When I was 8, I was confused about being called 'bossy' because I wanted to direct the plays that we would put on for our parents," she went on. "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 their beloved sports teams, because they didn't want to appear 'muscle-y,' when at 18, my males friends were unable to express their feelings, I decided that I was a feminist. And this seems uncomplicated to me. But my recent research has shown me that feminism has become an unpopular word."
Emma went on to send a call to action to all men, asking them to do their part to improve gender equality – not only for women - but for themselves as well. She added that it is time to see "gender as a spectrum instead of two sets of opposing ideals."
"You might think, 'Who is this Harry Potter girl? What is she doing at the U.N.?' And it's a really good question - I've been asking myself at the same thing," she continued. "All I know is that I care about this problem and I want to make it better. And having seen what I've seen and given the chance, I feel my responsibility to say something. Statesman Edmund Burke said all that is needed for the forces of evil to triumph is for good men and women to do nothing."
"In my nervousness for this speech and my moments of doubt, I've told myself firmly, 'If not me, who? If not now, when?' If you have similar doubts when opportunities are presented to you, I hope that those words will be helpful because the reality is, if we do nothing, it will take 75 years or for me, to be nearly 100, 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 at current rates, it won't be until 2086 before all rural African girls can have a secondary education."
"If you believe in equality, you might be one of those inadvertent feminists that I spoke of earlier and for this, I applaud you. We are struggling for a uniting word but the good news is that we have a uniting movement. It is called HeForShe. I am inviting you to step forward to be seen and to ask yourself, 'If not me, who? If not now, when?' Thank you very, very much."
In addition to Emma, Christina Aguilera, Angelina Jolie, David Beckham and Katy Perry have also served as Goodwill ambassadors for the UN.
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