Actress Emma Watson said she decided at the last moment not to ask Malala Yousafzai whether she was a feminist — but she was pleasantly surprised when the human rights activist brought up the topic herself.
“Just because your gender is different does not mean that you should be treated differently or you should have different jobs and you shouldn’t have certain things in your life,” said Yousafzai, the youngest-ever Nobel Peace Prize laureate. “That’s like the very concept of inequality based on your gender. Your gender should not create any difficulty in the choices that you make.”
Watson, who starred in the “Harry Potter” franchise, said she had wanted to ask Yousafzai if she was a feminist, but she decided not to when she couldn’t find previous examples of the activist describing herself as one.
“Maybe feminist isn’t the easiest word to use,” Watson said. “But she did it ANYWAY.”
An audience member asked Yousafzai what men could do to promote gender equality, and she said women can’t end sexism without men like her father — who promotes women’s rights and calls himself a feminist.
“This word ‘feminism’ has been a very tricky word,” Yousafzai said.
“When I heard it the first time, I heard some negative responses and some positive ones,” Yousafzai told the actress. “I hesitated in saying, am I a feminist or not, and then after hearing your speech — when you said ‘If not now, when? If not me, who?’ — I decided that there’s nothing wrong by calling yourself a feminist. So I am a feminist, and we all should be feminists because feminism is another word for equality.”
Watch the entire interview posted online by Emma Watson:
Today I met Malala. She was giving, utterly graceful, compelling and intelligent. That might sound obvious but I was struck by this even more in person. There are lots of NGOs out there in the world doing great things… But if there were one I would put my money on to succeed and make change on this planet, it would be hers. (The Malala Fund). Malala isn't messing around or mincing her words (one of the many reasons I love her). She has the strength of her convictions coupled with the kind of determination I rarely encounter… And it doesn't seem to have been diminished by the success she has already had. And lastly…She has a sense of peace around her. I leave this for last because it is perhaps the most important. Maybe as a result of what she has been through? I personally think it is just who she is…Perhaps the most moving moment of today for me was when Malala addressed the issue of feminism. To give you some background, I had initially planned to ask Malala whether or not she was a feminist but then researched to see whether she had used this word to describe herself. Having seen that she hadn't, I decided to take the question out before the day of our interview. To my utter shock Malala put the question back into one of her own answers and identified herself. Maybe feminist isn't the easiest word to use… But she did it ANYWAY. You can probably see in the interview how I felt about this. She also gave me time at the end of the Q&A to speak about some of my own work, which she most certainly didn't need to do, I was there to interview her. I think this gesture is so emblematic of what Malala and I went on to discuss. I've spoken before on what a controversial word feminism is currently. More recently, I am learning what a factionalized movement it is too. We are all moving towards the same goal. Let's not make it scary to say you're a feminist. I want to make it a welcoming and inclusive movement. Let's join our hands and move together so we can make real change. Malala and I are pretty serious about it but we need you. With love, Emma x#HeNamedMeMalala #notjustamovieamovement Malala Fund Into Film
Posted by Emma Watson on Wednesday, November 4, 2015