LIFESTYLE

Emma Watson At UN Women #HeForShe Launch: 'Women Share This Planet And They Are Underrepresented'

23/01/2015 09:25 GMT | Updated 23/01/2015 15:59 GMT

Emma Watson caused a tidal wave when she announced her UN Women campaign #HeForShe in October.

For the first time, a major celebrity vocalised on a global scale what we all knew: we can't win gender inequality without men.

This morning, she officially set in motion the year-long campaign at the World Economic Forum in Davos called IMPACT 10X10X10, which aims to "engage governments, corporations and universities as instruments of change positioned within some of the communities that most need to address deficiencies in women’s empowerment and gender equality."

Talking at the forum, the UN Women Global Goodwill Ambassador spoke about her sheer delight that the campaign had been so successful in its initial form. The video was watched 11 million times and apparently sparked 1.2 billion conversations about it online.

“I’ve had my breath taken away when a fan told me since watching my speech she has stopped herself being beaten up by her father," said Watson.

“I’ve been stunned by the amount of men in my life that have contacted me since my speech to tell me to keep going, and that they want to make sure that their daughters will still be alive to see a world where women have power and equality, economically and politically.”

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Speaking about what that looks like in the real world, she went on to say: "It’s about engaging governments, businesses, universities. Having them make concrete commitments to gender equality.

“I want to hear from the human beings that are behind these organisations. I spoke about some of my story in September, what are your stories?

“Girls who have been your mentors, parents did you make sure you treated your children equally, if so how have you done it? Husbands have you been supporting your female partners privately so that she can fulfill her dreams too?”

“Young men, have you spoken up in a conversation where a woman was degraded or dismissed. How did this affect you? How did this affect the woman you stepped up for?”

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon added: "HeForShe has signed up fathers who want to raise empowered daughters; leaders who know their societies will be stronger when there are as many women in parliament and in business as men; and ordinary people who are fed up with violence and discrimination against women – and want to be part of a global force for change.”

To ensure that change will actually take place, the UN has signed up global 'champions' including Netherlands prime minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands, Sierra Leone president Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone and Sweden prime minister Stefan Löfven of Sweden.

Concluding her speech, Watson finished on a strong, powerful note. "It is my belief that there is a greater understanding than ever that women need to be equal participants in our homes, in our societies, in our governments, and in our work places.”

“They know that the world is being held back in every way, because they are not. Women share this planet 50/50 and they are underrepresented, their potential astonishingly untapped.”

The initiative was launched at a press conference attended by H.E President Paul Kagame of Rwanda; H.E. Prime Minister Stefan Löfven of Sweden; UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka; UN Women Global Goodwill Ambassador, Emma Watson; and Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever.

Emma Watson

(H/T: Independent.ie)