British actress Emma Watson launched a new UN initiative called “HeForShe” in 2014
British actress Emma Watson launched a new UN initiative called “HeForShe” in 2014

Emma Watson: 'I’ve had my breath taken away'

EMMA Watson became emotional as she told a captivated audience at Davos of the overwhelming response she's received since she launched the #HeForShe campaign in September.  

She told of a young girl who, after hearing her speech in New York, had been given the courage to leave her abusive home and escape domestic violence.  

She told of the men who had written to her personally with their hopes for their daughters to grow up in a world where they are safe and treated as equals, and the teenage boys who had written to newspapers urging their peers to deplore female discrimination.  

"I've had my breath taken away when a fan told me that since watching my speech she has stopped herself being beaten up by her father," she said during her speech at the economic summit in Switzerland.  

"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 that their daughters will still be alive to see a world where women have power and equality, economically and politically."  

"There is a greater understanding than ever that women need to be equal participants in our homes, in our societies, in our governments, and in our workplaces," she added.  

In her New York speech last year, Watson said: "For the record, feminism by definition is: 'The belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It is the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes.'"  

"Men - I would like to take this opportunity to extend your formal invitation," she continued. "Gender equality is your issue too.  

"Because to date, I've seen my father's role as a parent being valued less by society despite my needing his presence as a child as much as my mother's.  

"I've seen young men suffering from mental illness unable to ask for help for fear it would make them look less 'macho' - in fact in the UK suicide is the biggest killer of men between 20-49; eclipsing road accidents, cancer and coronary heart disease. I've seen men made fragile and insecure by a distorted sense of what constitutes male success. Men don't have the benefits of equality either."  

Her campaign has garnered a wealth of support from the entertainment world. Actors Eddie Redmayne, Douglas Booth and Tom Hiddleston are all among those who have promoted the gender equality initiative.



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