This past weekend, British actress and U.N. Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson delivered a compelling speech to the U.N. General Women's Assembly to launch the #HeforShe campaign. The aim of this campaign is to mobilize as many men and boys as possible to advocate for gender equality. In her moving speech, Emma Watson brought attention to the unfortunate reality that "feminisim" is too often associated with "man hating," effectively halting the progression of achieving gender equality. "How can we affect change in the world when only half of it is invited or feel welcome to participate in the conversation," asks Watson poignantly. "Men, I would like to take this opportunity to extend your formal invitation. Gender equality is your issue too."
The involvement of men in the movement towards improving the conditions of women and girls all over the world creates a sense of universality, that males and females must come together to address what Watson calls a "human rights" issue. She continues, saying that in order to galvanize major change, men must also break the shackles of their own gender stereotypes. "If men don't have to be aggressive in order to be accepted, women won't feel compelled to be submissive," she asserts. The concept of viewing men and women as two opposite entities with opposing ideals is not progressive or productive. According to Watson, men and women should define themselves as who they are, rather than what they are not, and in turn be accepting of their counterparts. The #HeforShe campaign has since garnered a lot of attention on social media, and Watson has encouraged her followers to take the pledge their support. #StrikeOutALS Ice Bucket Challenge. I hope to see the #HeForShe movement stay afloat among other current social issues, and maintain its fearless determination to spur change. **Written by Marketing intern Aneesha Joshi, International Relations major at Boston University (Class of 2015).