It has been two years since Emma Watson was appointed the Global Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women. Since that time, Watson has spearheaded a global movement calling on nations to support women’s rights and overcome gender inequality.
Since its launch last year, there have been over 1.1 million people who have taken the #HeForShe pledge, making practical commitments to make gender equality a priority within their work and communities. Among those there are several high profile candidates including the UN Secretary General, the entire EU commission, The NATO Secretary General, the President of the International Olympic Committee and numerous heads of state and politicians.
Speaking at the second anniversary of the campaign, Watson spoke of how she has personally been overwhelmed by the support, “There is genuinely a spectrum of amazing feminists out there who have not only given me invaluable advice, but also broadened my perspective and reinforced my belief that we are all connected”.
In conjunction with her work for #HeforShe, Watson gave a speech at the UN Assembly, calling on universities to increase access to education for women and ensure their safety on campus. “As we leave home for the first time to study at the places that we have worked so hard to get, we must not see or experience double standards,” said Watson. “We need to see equal respect, leadership and pay.”
Unfortunately, her initiatives have not been met with overwhelming praise. Speaking at One Young World Summit in Ottawa, Canada, the UN Goodwill Ambassador shared with the audience, her harrowing tale of life after the campaign began.
“I was very nervous before that speech – the nerves were followed by a tremendous high immediately afterwards and a crashing low a few days after that.
“My best hope and my worst fears were confirmed all at once. I had opened Pandora’s Box to a standing ovation and almost simultaneously a level of critique I had never experienced in my life and the beginning of what would become a series of threats.
“The last two years have been a baptism of fire to say the least, where I learnt just how little I know, and also how much.”
The star continued to say that she had never imagined a world where she could call herself an activist, but was so proud of the opportunity to do so.
She continued: “Apart from the significant progress the world has made in the cause for equality, the best thing about the last two years has been this.
“Finding people from such disparate experiences and communities, that I found that I have something in common with.
“This is a community of artists, spiritual teachers, dreamers, thinkers, doers, who work together and support each other.
“For the first time in my life, I found my sisterhood; a brotherhood – whatever, however you want to describe it – I found my tribe.”
Emma Watson was speaking at the event to celebrate the launch of the Emma Watson Scholarship – an incredible initiative in partnership with the global youth forum One Young World.
The actor and ambassador has chosen activists from nine different countries to be the recipients of the first round of scholarships.
Watch the inspiring speech in full below.