Emma Watson: Launching A Gender Equality Movement Opened A ‘Pandora's Box’ Of Abuse

"I never imagined I'd be an activist."

Two years ago at the UN in New York, Emma Watson launched HeForShe, a gender equality movement.

“I was very nervous before that speech; the nerves were followed by a tremendous high immediately afterwards and a crashing low a few days after that,” she recalled.

“I had opened Pandora’s Box.”

Speaking at the One Young World summit in Ottawa on Thursday, the actress and activist explained how her mission to fight sexism, misogyny and inequality had, ironically, opened her up to abuse and threats.

“It was my scary first step as an activist: a word I never imagined that I would use to describe myself,” she said.

“Because the truth is, it had never been about being an activist; it was about the choice to make myself visible and the choices that you made to do that too.

“I want to offer a few statements of my own that I’ve struggled with, and continue to struggle with on a daily basis, but that I have found inspiring. I want to ask you to take a moment – you can keep your eyes closed, or keep them open – and ask yourself if these have any truth for you in them:

I am willing to be seen

I am willing to speak up

I am willing to keep going

I am willing to listen to what others have to say

I am willing to go forward even when I feel alone

I am willing to go to bed each night, at peace with myself

I am willing to be my biggest, best-est, most powerful self

“These seven statements scare the absolute shit out of me. But I know that they are at the crux of it all. At the end of the day, and when all is said and done, I know that these are the ways that I want to have lived my life.”

One Young World is a global movement that hosts an annual Summit to offer a platform for young leaders to network with peers from across the world, sharing ideas to develop solutions to address urgent global issues.

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