#WOMANCRUSHEVERYDAY - Emma Watson
For many, she is known as the girl who portrayed Hermione Granger from the worldwide Harry Potter film franchise, an iconic cultural figure who has been a huge part of many 90’s kids’ childhoods. But for me, I idolize Emma Watson, not only for her brains and acting talent, but also for her feminist activism. She truly is an all-rounder and a positive role model for young women and girls today, which is why she is my #WomanCrushEveryday and should be yours too!
Emma Watson was born in Paris, France on 15 April 1990 and raised in Oxfordshire throughout her childhood. In 1999, after performing in several school plays, she auditioned for the role of Hermione Granger in the upcoming film adaption of J.K. Rowling’s best-selling Harry Potter book series. Watson then went on to star in all 8 Harry Potter films and received awards such as Best Performance in a Feature Film (Leading Young Actress) at the Young Artist Awards, Best Performance by a Youth in a Leading or Supporting Role (Female) at the Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards, Best Performance by a Female at the National Movie Awards, and Best Cast at the MTV Movie Awards for her role as Hermione Granger. After the Harry Potter film saga came to an end, Watson starred in other critically acclaimed films such as The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Noah and the soon-to-be-released live-action remake of the Disney Classic Beauty and the Beast. Alongside her acting career, Watson has also received a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from Brown University, Rhode Island in May 2014.
In February, Watson announced she would be taking a year out from acting to pursue her passion for women’s rights activism.
Alongside her acting and education, Watson had shown a passion for women and girl’s rights. In July 2014, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women) appointed her as a Goodwill Ambassador. Two months later, at an historic UN conference at the HQ in New York City, U.S, the newly appointed Watson gave an iconic speech announcing she would be working with the UN Women Executive Director, Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka, and other prominent UN actors, to launch and spread awareness of a new initiative, the HeForShe campaign. During her speech, Watson not only debunked the misconceptions about feminism and the need to still strive for gender equality in the 21st century, but she also explained that the HeForShe movement calls on men and boys to advocate for gender equality, as it’s their concern too. She called this their ‘’formal invitation’’ to join the fight.
Since then, Watson has been travelling around the world to give speeches to influence and mobilise at various conferences and meetings. Also in September 2014, Watson travelled to Montevideo, Uruguay to deliver a petition calling for women’s political participation and recently, she spoke at the UN General Assembly to address the sexual assault pandemic on university campuses.
So, I think it’s obvious why Emma Watson is my #WomanCrushEveryday. As someone who currently works for UN Women and sees how impactful the HeForShe campaign is on a daily basis, it is so important to have someone as famous, respected and as influential as Emma Watson on board the gender equality fight. The work she is doing is pretty comprehensive. Because there are countless issues still facing women across the world today in every single country, it is shown in her work that she is addressing the many challenges hindering the achievement of complete gender equality. For example, the HeForShe campaign takes inspiration from the main UN Women thematic areas and adapts them into a framework that calls on world leaders and regular men and boys to help 1) eliminate all forms of violence against women, 2) economically empower women 3) support women in peace negotiations and as peacekeepers and 4) encourage women’s political participation. These strategic campaign plans are some of the main areas identified by the international community that will help to make the world a more prosperous, safe and empowering place for women and girls.
Furthermore, Watson’s UN work is also linked to the promotion of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda. In December 2015, world leaders adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) set out by the UN, SDG 5 is ‘’Gender Equality’’. This goal, established approximately 20 years after the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action was adopted at the 4th UN Conference on Women, has various progressive subgoals including 5.1) ending all forms of discrimination against women and girls worldwide, 5.3) eliminating all forms of harmful practices against women and girls such as FGM and early marriage, and 5.4) recognizing and valuing women and girl’s unpaid care and domestic work through the provision of public services.
Our favourite Hogwarts witch turned UN feminist activist, Emma Watson, is not only a national British treasure, but she is truly helping to change things for the world’s women and girls. After all, ‘’human rights are women’s rights and women’s rights are human rights’’, for anyone who supports this sentiment, they deserve to be our
#WomenCrushEverydayEveryYearEveryDecade. You can help support this work by checking out the #GlobalGoals movement, particularly SDG5 at https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/sdg5, and signing the #HeForShe pledge at http://www.heforshe.org/en
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