The 26-year-old British actress and influential women’s rights activist, Emma Watson, delivered an important speech at the UN General Assembly in support of her HeForShe campaign. As a UN Goodwill Ambassador, Watson has become nothing short of a powerful figure in advocating for gender equality by insisting that although we’ve come far in reducing many historically inscribed gendered gaps, there is still room for improvement, especially in universities.
Since the actresses HeForShe launch in 2014 that called for men to take action on erasing inequality, Watson has made an incredible impact in calling for a feminist agenda to be a priority on everyone’s to-do list. According to the latest HeForShe Impact Report, the UN is demanding a change for gender equality in global universities to continue making positive developments.
‘I graduated from university four years ago,’ explains Watson at the UN General Assembly, ‘I have always dreamed of going and I know how fortunate I am to have had the opportunity to do so. Brown became my home, my community, and I took the ideas and the experiences that I had there, into all my social interactions, into my workplace, into my politics, into all aspects of my life. I know that my university experience shaped who I am and, of course, it does for many people.’
Suggesting that universities build a foundation that mimics the real world, the working space, and the habits of social interactions between men and women, Watson went on to address how universities hold a big part in creating and reshaping gender imbalances.
‘But what if our experience of university shows us that women don’t belong in leadership?’ says Watson.
‘What if it shows us that yes, women can study but they shouldn’t lead a seminar,’ she adds. ‘What if, as still in many places around the world, it tell us that women don’t belong there at all.’
With ten universities committed to changing the university experience in order to develop a strong ‘expectation of equality,’ the Head of State, along with global CEOs and university presidents are determined to put their best feet forward in all areas of campus experience, including administration, academia, and putting a stop to violence.
Through her influential work, Watson’s advocacy to build a future that shatters preexisting notions of inequality through the educational system is definitely a practical lead, and a noteworthy learning experience, into developing an equal future for all.