The UN Women Goodwill Ambassador made her first major speech at the UN headquarters in new York this week.
Watson launched the HeForShe campaign calling on men to speak up for oppressed women everywhere.
“Men—I would like to take this opportunity to extend your formal invitation. Gender equality is your issue too,” the actress, who studied at Oxford and Brown Universities.
The Harry Potter star asked men to “take up the mantle” and to speak up for their” daughters, sisters and mothers”.
“I started questioning gender-based assumptions when at eight I was confused at being called “bossy,” because I wanted to direct the plays we would put on for our parents—but the boys were not,” she said.
“I decided I was a feminist and this seemed uncomplicated to me. But my recent research has shown me that feminism has become an unpopular word.”
“Apparently I am among the ranks of women whose expressions are seen as too strong, too aggressive, isolating, anti-men and, unattractive. Why is the word such an uncomfortable one?”
“I was appointed six months ago and the more I have spoken about feminism the more I have realized that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating.”
“If there is one thing I know for certain, it is that this has to stop.”
Watson argued that men were also the losers when it came to inequality, enduring mental illness but feeling unable to ask for help for fear of appearing “less macho”.
“Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong.”
“If we stop defining each other by what we are not and start defining ourselves by what we are—we can all be freer and this is what HeForShe is about. It’s about freedom.”
The campaign, HeForShe, is described as a “solidarity movement for gender equality that brings together one half of humanity in support of the other of humanity, for the entirety of humanity”.
Watch Emma Watson’s UN address here: