Your excellence UN Secretary-General, President of the General Assembly, Director of UN Women, And distinguished guests.
I am reaching out to you because we need your help, we want to end Gender inequality.
And to do this,we need everyone involved.
I was appointed as Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women six months ago,and the more I’ve spoken about feminism ,the more I have realized that fighting for women ’s right has too often become synonymous with men-hating.
If there is one thing I know for certain it is that this has to stop.
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.
But my recent research has shown me that feminism has become an unpopular word ,women are choosing not to identify as feminists.
Apparently I am among the ranks of women whose expressions are seen as too strong “too aggressive”, isolating and anti-men ,unattractive ,even.
Why has the word become such an uncomfortable one？
I am form Britain ,and I think it is right that 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 the decisions that affect my life, 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. No country in the world can yet say that they have achieved gender equality, these rights I consider to be human rights.
But I am one of the lucky ones ,my life is a sheer privilege, because my parent s didn’t love me less because I was born a daughter ,My school did not limit me because I was a girl, my mentor didn’t assume that I would go less far because I might give birth to a child one day.
These influencers were the gender equality ambassadors that made me who I am today, they may not know it, but they are the inadvertent feminists ,we need more of those and if you still hate the word ,it is not the word that is important ,it’s the idea and the ambition behind it ,because not all women have received the same rights that I have .In fact statistically very few have been.
Men I would like to take this opportunity to extend your formal information ,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 less of man ,or less of a man.
I have seen men made fragile and insecure by a distorted sense of what constitutes male success ,men don’t have the benefits of equality either
We don’t often talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes ,but I can see that they are
When they are free things will change for women as a natural consequence, If men don’t have to be aggressive in order to be accepted women won’t be compelled to be submissive ,if men don’t have to control ,women won’t have to be controlled
Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive, both men and women should feel free to be strong
It is time that we all perceive gender on a spectrum instead of two sets of opposing ideals
If we should stop defining each other by what we are not and start defining ourselves by who we are, we can all be freer and this is what HeForShe is about ，It’s about freedom
I want men to take up this mantle so their daughters sisters and mothers can be free from prejudice ,but also so their sons have permission to be vulnerable and human too
We claim those parts of themselves they abandoned and in doing so be a more true and complete version of themselves.
You might be thinking who is this Harry Potter girl and what is she doing speaking at the U.N. And it’s really good question ,I’ve been asking myself the same thing, All I know is that I care about this problem and I want to make it better, And having seen what I’ve seen ,and given the chance ,I fell it is my responsibility to say something.
Statesmen Edmund Burke said all that is needed for the forces of evil to triumph is for good men and women to do nothing
In my nervousness for this speech and in my moment of doubt ,I’ve told myself firmly, if not me ,who? If not now, when?
If you have similar doubts when opportunities are presented to you,I hope that those words will be helpful ,because the reality is that if we do nothing it will take 75 years or for me or to be nearly 100 before woman can expect to be paid the same as men for the same work.
15.5 million girls will be married in the next 16 years as children and at the current rates ,it won’t be until 2086 before all rural African girls can have a secondary education.
If you believe in equality, you might be one of those inadvertent feminists that I spoke of earlier, and for this I applaud you.
We are struggling for a uniting word ,but the good news is that we have a uniting movement. it is called HeForShe.I am inviting you to step forward to be seen and to ask yourself “If not me ,who? If not now ,when?”
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