Emma Watson Crashes World Economic Forum With Rousing Speech On Gender Equality


It’s only been 4 months since Emma Watson gave her viral speech in September 2014 launching the UN Women’s HeforShe campaign, but the impact it has made is quite significant. The idea behind the campaign is to mobilize men as a vital part of the fight for gender equality.

Her speech was watched over 11 million times, it sparked 1.2 billion social media conversations, and the #heforshe hashtag became so popular that Twitter even painted it on the walls of their headquarters!


The launch has been so well received by some major celebrities including Hillary Clinton, Desmond Tutu, Prince Harry and Yoko Ono pledged their public support of HeforShe, but more importantly, ordinary men from around the world signed up in droves, over 200,000 to be more precise.

So in light of this, Emma (who has also just announced she will be playing Belle in a live-action version of Disney’s ‘Beauty and the Beast-YAY!), and the United Nations team made an appearance at the recent World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland to launch the next phase of the HeforShe campaign, flanked by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and UN Women Executive director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka. Yep, gender equality was finally brought to an event which needs to include this kind of issue in the conversation. When women are empowered economically, communities, cities, countries and the world begins to change.

“HeForShe has signed up fathers who want to raise empowered daughters; leaders who know their societies will be stronger when there are as many women in parliament and in business as men; and ordinary people who are fed up with violence and discrimination against women – and want to be part of a global force for change,” said UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon.The next phase of the campaign is IMPACT 10x10x10, which ” is a one-year pilot effort that aims to engage governments, corporations and universities as instruments of change positioned within some of the communities that most need to address deficiencies in women’s empowerment and gender equality and that have the greatest capacity to make and influence those changes,” said the press release.


During her rousing speech which will no doubt have viral legs of its own, Emma talked about some of the responses she has received from ordinary women who were empowered after hearing her speech in September.

“A fan told me that since watching my speech she has stopped herself being beaten up by her father,” said Emma. She also made a point of clarifying that there isn’t one single approach to making gender equality a reality, and that each person has a part to play. A lot of the feedback she got after the initial launch was that after men signed up, they didn’t know what to do next.It is about the small everyday differences you can make in your communities, in your social circle, at work and so on. These stories are the type that Emma wants people to share on the HeforShe website to encourage others to do the same.”Parents, did you treat your children equally? 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?” she asks.

And now with the addition of the corporate side of the campaign with IMPACT 10x10x10, the gender equality conversation can be brought to an even larger audience.”Business men, have you mentored, supported or engaged women in leadership positions? Writers, have you challenged the language and imagery used to portray women in the media? CEOs, have you implemented the women’s empowerment principles in your own company?”And although Emma says she would like to take credit for the overwhelming response she has gotten since the HeforShe launch, she actually gives credit to the millions of men and women around the world who are hungry for change, desperate to see gender equality become a reality in everyday life, and who are doing the ground work to make that happen.

You can watch her full speech below from the World Economic Forum and also take part in this global solidarity movement which isn’t just about women’s rights, it is about creating a more equal and beneficial world for future generations.


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  2. How exactly does HeForShe have *anything* to do with equality of sexes when every time men are being mentioned in any of their texts they are ONLY talked about as tools to be used to make lives easier for women? They completely ignore all topics where men are at disadvantage and only ever talk about women. They consider men as expendable tools instead of human beings.

    To me it’s a clear sign this movement is in no way different from the radical third wave feminist ones that are anything but for the equality of sexes.

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