Emma Watson’s UN speech

I have just finished to watch Emma Watson giving a beautifully inspiring speech promoting the launch of the He for She campaign at the UN and I am completely blown away.
The little Hermione is all grown up. Emma Watson is not only a beautiful young woman, but she has presence and strength when standing up to speak in front of a quite intimidating public about quite an important subject. Gender equality.
After only 3 days her speech at the UN as a Women goodwill ambassador has been watched on Youtube almost 4 million times already.
Emma Watson’s speech has the quality of the most memorable TED talks. One of the reasons why Emma Watson has earned my respect is because she has demonstrated to be much more than a pretty face or a good actress. Her ideas are worth spreading, and especially listened to.

Emma Watson and being a feminist

In her speech Emma Watson declared herself a feminist. She gave the definition of feminism – which is “the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities”. I totally embrace this definition, so thanks to Emma Watson I discovered myself being a feminist, knowing that most probably Carlo is one too.

Emma Watson realised that feminism has become an “unpopular word”. Too often being a feminist has the negative connotation of being against men. That misconception is one of the reasons so many women refuse to be associated with the term despite all wanting to have the same rights and opportunities that men have. But sadly too often women believe that men are at the cause of everything that is wrong for women in this world.
While it is true that there is inequality and women are considered less than a man in many fields that range from human rights to the workplace, it is also true that if both men and women would be free from roles and “gender based assumptions”, the world would be a much better place for all of us.
In fact, Emma Watson does more than talking about women’s rights. She talks about gender equality as a man’s issue too, and I totally agree with her.
Men are pressurised into fit into a role of what being a man should be, where there is very little space for being sensitive, vulnerable and plain human and plenty of space for being strong, aggressive and controlling.

I am married to an open minded and sensitive guy that still feels the pressure to play the “man role” in society, even if intellectually he does not believe in any of it.
I am the mum of a sensitive boy that doesn’t like being aggressive and avoids rough playtime or kids. Because of his sensitivity I fear that he will find it difficult to be understood by his peers.
I wish for this world to be better than this. I wish that everyone could be free to be who they really and especially free from gender based assumptions.

Just the other day I went to pick Ethan from nursery and I witnessed something I found disturbing. All the girls were dutifully helping cleaning some toys, while boys were running free to play with other toys.
I questioned why the boys were not helping and the teacher shrugged benevolently as to say… “boys”. This is it. If as parents and educators we are the first to let this gender distinction happen, boys and girls learn their role from very young age and very few will be able to question it later in life. Because it becomes an assumption.
Boys will be able to get away with not helping while girls’ role is that of cleaning the mess or being in the kitchen.
Being a couple is about helping each other and being able to swap those roles without anyone feeling less just because they deal with dishes instead of paperwork.

At present “there is no one country in the world” where women can expect to receive equal rights. Not a single one. And still we are the lucky ones, because we can work, study, vote, speak and do things that in other parts of the world many women are unable to do.

As Emma Watson, I wish that being a father would be considered as important as being a mother, and a woman who aspires to be a leader does not have to be called bossy. Men have the right to be vulnerable exactly as women have the right to be strong, women have the right to be paid as much as their males counterparts, and all of us have the right to a respectful life free from gender based assumptions.

If this resonates with you, if you too feel that men and women should be united to obtain gender equality and want to do something about it, please join the discussion by leaving a comment below.
And remember also to join He for She.

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