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Emma Watson may forever be known as the quick-witted, frizzy-haired Hermione Granger from the eight-part Harry Potter film franchise, but since making her screen debut at just 11 years old, Watson has shaken her image as a teen star and emerged in recent years as a feminist icon.
Upon being appointed as UN Women’s Goodwill Ambassador, the Brown University graduate helped launch the HeForShe campaign to advance gender equality and has spoken out to encourage both men and women to become involved.
Below are some of the actress’ most influential words on the topic of female empowerment.
1. “I am from Britain, and think it is right that as a woman I am paid the same as my male counterparts. I think it is right that I should be able to make decisions about my own body. I think it is right that women be involved on my behalf in the policies and decision-making of my country. I think it is right that socially I am afforded the same respect as men. But sadly I can say that there is no one country in the world where all women can expect to receive these rights.” — Speech for UN Women’s HeForShe Campaign (2014)
2. “Feminism is not here to dictate to you. It’s not prescriptive, it’s not dogmatic. All we are here to do is give you a choice. If you want to run for Prime Minister, you can. If you don’t, that’s wonderful, too. Shave your armpits, don’t shave them, wear flats one day, heels the next. These things are so irrelevant and surface to what it is all really about, and I wish people wouldn’t get caught up in that.” — Elle U.K.‘s Feminism Issue (2014)
3. “I love having the door opened for me, isn’t that just polite? Isn’t that just a nice thing to do for someone else? … But I think the key is, would you then mind if I opened the door for you? … Chivalry should be consensual. Both parties should be feeling good about that.” — HeForShe Facebook Interview on International Women’s Day (2014)
4. “I feel like young girls are told this whole idea that they have to be this kind of princess and be all delicate and fragile and that’s bullshit. I identify much more with the idea of being a warrior and being a fighter.” — Interview with GlobalGrind (2011)
5. “It is my belief that 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 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 under-represented, their potential astonishingly untapped.” — Speech on HeForShe’s IMPACT 10x10x10 Program at World Economic Forum (2015)
6. “If men don’t have to be aggressive in order to be accepted, women won’t feel compelled to be submissive. If men don’t have to control, women won’t have to be controlled. … It is time that we all perceive gender on a spectrum not as two opposing sets of ideals.” — Speech for UN Women’s HeForShe Campaign (2014)
7. “As a younger woman, that pressure got me down, but I’ve made my peace with it. With airbrushing and digital manipulation, fashion can project an unobtainable image that’s dangerously unhealthy. I’m excited about the ageing process. I’m more interested in women who aren’t perfect. They’re more compelling.” — Interview with The Guardian (2014)
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