Emma Watson's moving speech about feminism

The Harry Potter actress and recently elected UN Goodwill Ambassador kicks off the HeForShe Solidarity Movement for Gender Equality

By Andrea Tim | Published: 23 Sep 2014

Video: HeForShe

Not to compare Emma Watson to bookworm and elf welfare activist Hermione Granger, but it's really almost like the actress is the epitome of JK Rowling's fictional character from the Harry Potter series. Attending a special event for HeForShe at the United Nations Headquarters in New York recently, the 24-year-old blew away her audience with a moving and very personal speech about feminism.

We're sure many of you are familiar with how feminism has somewhat been misunderstood as "man-hating", and here's Emma to shed some light on that dry misinterpretation.

"If there's one thing I know for certain, it is that this has to stop," she said before highlighting what 'feminism' means in the first place: "the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities."

As Emma went on to reveal in her speech, she has not always been on the bright side of the fence when it comes to that.

"I started questioning gender-based assumptions when at eight I was confused at being called "bossy," because I wanted to direct the plays we would put on for our parents—but the boys were not."

"I decided that I was a feminist," Emma said. "And this is seemed uncomplicated to me. But my recent research has shown me that feminism has become an unpopular word. Women are choosing not to identify as feminists."

Upon her appointment as UN Goodwill Ambassador a few months ago, she said that "I still have so much to learn, but as I progress I hope to bring more of my individual knowledge, experience and awareness to this role." True to her word, her speech was undoubtedly built from experiences close to her heart that has made her the feminist she declares she is.

We can't make you watch her speech, let alone know if you even care about feminism, but for those of you – male or female – who believe in gender equality, Emma Watson's voice is one of many to be heard in the world today. Listen.

Related: Emma Watson graduates from Brown University
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