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Doing Life Together

If you missed it, actress Emma Watson, gave a moving speech to the UN last month.  Her topic was on gender equality and her #heforshe campaign–a movement trying to raise the issues involved with gender equality. If you are not one of the over 5 million people who has watched her speech on You Tube, here are the highlights.

When we talk about gender equality, Watson rightly noted the negativity of the word feminism; that it conjures up feelings of  aggression, women being too strong and anti-men. In her struggle to find a unifying word, she is trying to create a unified movement through her #heforshe campaign.

Watson invites men and boys to be advocates of change. The belief is that as men and boys feel free to break from cultural stereotypes, both genders benefit. Men, like women, are often squeezed into stereotypes that negatively impact their mental health and success. When both genders  can break free from stereotypes and cultural prescriptions, their is freedom to be who you really are.

In other words, any talk about change should include both genders.

Watson mentions the continuing problems of equal pay, poverty, the need for respect and the right to make decisions for the self. She chronicles her own struggle to womanhood with gender issues–being accused of being bossy because she wanted to direct plays, being objectified and sexualized by media and so forth–struggles not uncommon to non-celebrity women as well.

Her main point was that no country in the world can claim complete gender equality, thus the dialogue and advocacy needs to continue.

Like Watson, I had mentors and parents who never limited my abilities or reach because I was a girl/woman. But not everyone is so fortunate and inequalities still exist, especially in the area of equal pay.

Watson’s message is needed. Feminism has become a dirty word and has lost its real meaning. Feminism is not about being anti-men as often portrayed by media. It is about helping both genders attain the path of their calling without being limited by cultural stereotypes.

Thanks Emma. We needed a reminder that the work isn’t done and the call to action can be given with grace.

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