The Emma Watson #HeForShe Campaign Is Incredibly Inspiring & Here's How You Can Get Involved
Over the past year, Emma Watson has been a powerful voice in the movement for gender equality. From serving as the U.N. Women's Goodwill Ambassador to spearheading the #HeForShe campaign, she continues advocating for equal rights and doesn't plan to stop anytime soon. On Sunday afternoon, Emma Watson held a live Q&A on International Women's Day to answer any and all questions about the fight for equality.
Not only were Watson's words incredibly quote-worthy, but they were so, so important! She explained,
It’s not about men saving women. I think that’s a misunderstanding. Women are already in the club, because it’s our movement. It’s not a men’s club. It’s an equality club for both genders. It’s about men coming in support of women, and women coming in support of men.
After hearing Emma Watson speak, it's impossible to not feel inspired. But it's also likely you're left with a feeling of uncertainty, wondering: "Now what?" You may want to get involved in the movement but have no idea where to start. If you're unsure what to do next, Watson answered that very question!
Here's a list of ways both men and women can take charge and create change.
Ways Men Can Get Involved
Oh, you thought gender equality only affected women? Nope, Watson would disagree. There are plenty of ways that men can make a difference.
• SIGN THE PETITION: Commit to the cause! This was something Watson emphasized throughout — that more men need to sign the petition. Anyone who supports the cause should visit HeForShe.org to make it official. Even Watson admitted, "I hate filling out online forms. It’s so boring and annoying. But you type your name and click a box. It takes like 10 seconds."
• INCLUDE WOMEN: Another easy solution? Make women feel included. She shared an anecdote that applies to any situation: "I asked my younger sister this morning, 'What would be the one thing that you would want from the boys and men in your life?' And she went, 'I just want them to want to play with us.' Well, that translates at every level. We just want to be included." Tying into this same idea, Watson suggested if you notice a woman is being paid less for the same work as you, say something about it.
• SHOW YOUR SUPPORT: At the Oscars, Steve Carell wore #HeForShe cufflinks. Watson explained how that gesture went a long way: "It does spread awareness and it does make a difference. Even if two people that night asked [Carell about his cufflinks], and he’s like, 'I’m taking a stand for gender equality,' that’s huge!" Of course you don't have to be a red-carpet celebrity — use whatever platforms you have to get the message out!
Ways Women Can Get Involved
Because if we're going to fight for equality, we really do need both parties involved. Here's how women can further #HeForShe's mission.
• ACKNOWLEDGE THE PROBLEM: Watson explained an important first step, "It's really about acknowledging, or feeling comfortable and confident enough to acknowledge, that there is a problem. We need to understand we are complicit." While there is a problem, coming together is certainly part of the solution.
• SUPPORT OTHER WOMEN: Women are so much more successful when they build each other up, instead of tearing one another down. Watson shared, "Some of the harshest moments of criticism I’ve had were comments from other women. It’s not just enough to ask men to come in and support us. We need to support each other."
• DON'T LET ANYONE HOLD YOU BACK: If someone says you can't be an engineer or that you can't do anything, simply prove them wrong. Watson gave this powerful advice, "Don’t let anyone tell you what you can or cannot do. It’s so wrong. Be whatever you want to be." In other words, go out and do what you want to do!
Ways Anyone Can Get Involved
As Watson emphasized, the smallest actions can make the biggest difference. Here are little ways we can all do our part.
• SPEAK UP: If you notice inequality, say something about it. Whether it's a seemingly small gesture or calling out someone's crude comment, your voice matters. Watson explained, "Don’t ever hear in your own head, 'Who am I to say something?' You are human. You are a person, you can 100% change the world. Be brave."
• SPREAD AWARENESS: Social media is a powerful tool in raising awareness and finding support. Watson said, "Wherever you live in the world, or whatever the people around you might think, you can access a whole community of people who think differently and want to support you." By connecting with others online, you can not only influence what other's think, but encourage yourself to think bigger.
• VISIT HEFORSHE.ORG: If you need more inspiration, be sure to check out HeForShe.org. The campaign's site includes even more ways we can all get involved, because as Watson said herself — it's up to all of us to support each other.
Images: Getty Images