Real Leaders

Emma Watson: Are You Man Enough For Equality?

Photo by Simon Abrams on Unsplash

Since the HeForShe launch in New York last September I think it would be fair to say that my colleagues and I have been stunned by the response. The HeForShe conference was watched over 11 million times, sparking 1.2 billion social media conversations, culminating in the HeForShe hashtag becoming so popular that Twitter painted it on the walls of its headquarters and men from almost every country in the world made the commitment.

Everyone from Desmond Tutu to Prince Harry to Hilary Clinton to Yoko Ono have issued their support or contacted us since September 20th. Everything from marathons being run, merchandise being created, 15 year old boys writing to national newspapers deploring female discrimination, young girls collecting hundreds of signatures – it’s all happened in the last 4 months. I couldn’t have DREAMED it (!) but it’s happened.

Thank you so much for watching and thank you so much for your support. What is Impact 10x10x10? It’s about engaging governments, businesses and universities and having them make concrete commitments to gender equality but I want to hear from the human beings that are behind these organizations.

I spoke about my story in September – what are your stories? Girls who have been your mentors? Parents did you make sure you treated your children equally, and if so, how have you done it? Husbands have you been supporting your female partner privately so that she can fulfill her dreams too? Young men have you spoken up in a conversation when a woman was casually degraded or dismissed? How did this affect you? How did this affect the woman you stepped up for? How did you take action when you became aware a woman was a victim of violence?

Businessmen have you mentored, supported, or engaged women in leadership positions? Writers have you challenged the language and imagery used to portray women? CEO’s have you implemented the women’s empowerment principles in your own company? What change have you seen? Are you someone that has been persuading men to become HeForShes and collecting their signatures for our website? How many have you got? We want to know. One of the biggest pieces of feedback I’ve had since my speech is that people want to help but they aren’t sure how best to do it. Men say they have signed the petition – What now?

The truth is the ‘what now’ is down to you. What your HeForShe commitment will be is personal. And there is no ‘best’ way – everything is valid. Decide what your commitment is, make it public, and then please report back to us on your progress so that we can share your story. We want to support, guide and reinforce your efforts. Impact 10x10x10 is about concrete commitments to change, the visibility of these commitments and the measurability of them too. How has the campaign impacted me so far?

I’ve had my breath taken away when a fan told me that since watching my speech she has stopped allowing herself to be beaten by her father. 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 their daughters are still alive to see a world where women have parity, economically and politically. While I would love to claim that the success of the HeForShe campaign is a direct result of my own incredible speechwriting skills. I know that it’s not. It’s because the ground is fertile. It’s my belief that there is a greater understanding than ever that women need to be equal participants in our homes, our societies, in our governments, and in our work places.

And 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 massively neglected and underrepresented, their potential astonishingly untapped. We are very  excited to be launching Impact 10x10x10 to bring HeForShe into its next phase. If you’re a HeForShe – and I am assuming you are because otherwise you’d be at somebody else’s press conference right  now – I’m here to ask you what is the impact you can have? How, what, where, when and with who? We want to help and we want to know.

If you agree with Emma, please sign our 5050×2020 gender balance pledge here

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