If you haven’t heard, Emma Watson was appointed as the UN women ambassador a month back and she has recently been actively involved in the HeForShe campaign, where she wants equal rights for both men and women. She delivered a remarkable but controversial speech this weekend about what it means for the HeForShe movement and attempted to define what feminism should really be about.
During parts of her speech, she remarks that people need to stand up for fighting women’s rights while not putting down men.
[pull_quote_center]The more I spoke about feminism, the more I realized that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating. If there is one thing I know for certain is that this has to stop. For the record, feminism by definition is the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It is the theory of political, economic and social equality of the sexes.[/pull_quote_center]
While a lot of controversy may surround the term feminism, people say that her speech perhaps leans more towards egalitarianism, which, like communism, can seem idealistic and unrealistic.
What she does do is inspire a lot of people to be involved in a movement that tries to justify and change the usual view of what feminists are.
Why has the word [feminism] become such an uncomfortable one? I think it is right I am paid the same as my male counterparts. I think it is right that I should be able to make decisions about my own body. I think it is right that women be involved on my behalf in the policies and decisions that will affect my life. I think it is right that socially, I am afforded the same respect as men.
The definition of the word was made clear from what she implies: that women should have the same rights and same treatment as men. According to statistics, in 2012, an average woman’s salary is $37,791 compared to men’s $49,398. The share of women in vulnerable employment, (contributing family workers plus own account workers), was 50 per cent and that of men was 48 per cent. But there were much larger gaps in North Africa (24 percentage points), and in the Middle East and Sub-Saharan Africa (15 points).
The issue stands moreso for women in developing and third world countries where women have less rights than men, and have not reached the level of equality as we do. We often think of feminism as women demanding to be treated “better” than men, and not equal, stemming from complaints that so-called-feminists demand better treatment while not having to contribute more. (For example if all men must be sent to the army, shouldn’t feminists demand that women be sent to the army as well?)
Hopefully our gal Emma Watson will be able to bring a new light to the ideals of feminism and actually bring to the world a different ideal of the meaning.
You can watch her full speech from the video below:
What do you think of feminism and what Emma Watson is campaigning with HeForShe?
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