Emma Watson and celebs talk about closing the gender gap

Following the social media success of the #HeForShe campaign, stars talk about bringing equal rights to the real world

By Jamie Khoo | Published: 3 Nov 2014

Stars for HeForShe
Photo: Getty Images

Since Emma Watson’s moving speech on gender equality at the UN earlier this year, the social media world and celebrities have responded heartily in their support of the #HeForShe campaign.

But the fight for equal rights is probably going to take a lot more than a couple of hashtags. At the BAFTA Britannia Awards in Los Angeles last week, asked Emma and a few other celebrities to share their thoughts on what it would take to achieve greater equal rights in our daily lives.

For Emma, who was honoured as British Artist of the Year, it starts with speaking up from where you are.

“Sometimes – and it’s really difficult to do this – be patient with someone and take a moment to say, ‘When you do this, it makes me feel afraid or scared or really uncomfortable’ or, ‘You’ve put me in a position I’d really rather not be in,’” said the actress.

“Sometimes if you do that in a really honest way, it can be quite disarming. Speak up and try and do it from as much of a compassionate place as you possibly can.”

Actor Ben Barnes talked about the importance of building stronger awareness of our lives, pointing to the HeForShe campaign as an important step for thinking about the way we live our lives.

“Awareness is the biggest weapon against any inequality,” he said. “That’s why, particularly, Emma’s HeForShe campaign is a great thing. If it doesn't encourage people to make changes in the way they live their lives, what it does do, is ask them to think about how they live their lives and how they see the world.”

Lastly, as the American elections happen this week, actor and Britannia Humanitarian Award recipient Mark Ruffalo emphasised the importance of voting. "Women have always been the ones who have carried elections – elections are made or lost on women,” said Mark. 

Related: Emma Watson's moving speech about feminism 
Related: Celebrities who support Emma Watson's #HeForShe feminist campaign 

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