Emma Watson Redefined What The College Experience Should Be In Powerful U.N. Speech

The actress is leading the charge in a global gender equality fight.

Emma Watson is going to bat for university women, and the whole world is listening.

On Tuesday, the Harry Potter star delivered a powerful speech at the U.N. on women's rights, introducing the HeForShe IMPACT 10x10x10 University Parity Report. The report laid out 10 committed universities from all over the globe — including Oxford and Georgetown — which set concrete goals for improving life on campus for women.

During her remarks, Watson emphasized the importance of ensuring universities have adequate female representation on the faculty level. 

"What if our experience at university shows us that women don't belong in leadership?" she asked the assembly. "What if it shows us that, yes, women can study, but they shouldn't lead a seminar? What if, as still in many places around the world, it tells us that women don't belong there at all? What if, as is the case at far too many universities, we are given the message that sexual violence isn't actually a form of violence?"

She stressed the necessity of committing to creating safe environments for women, and noted in particular the possibility that by changing the college experience for young people, we could in effect change in the years that follow.

"A university should be a place of refuge that takes action against all forms of violence," Watson said. "That's why, we believe, that students should leave university believing in, striving for, and expecting societies of true equality… in every sense and that universities have the power to be a vital catalyst for that change."

The college experience should be, she said, a time to embrace actual parity, in the hopes that graduates replicate that parity everywhere they go.


The report Watson introduced emphasized three major issues universities can address: the ratio of men and women working at the university, the difference in fields selected by men and women, and the number of women compared to their equal access to academic and professional career tracks.

Watson launched her advocacy group HeForShe in 2014 and has since become the face of a new women's rights movement across the globe.

Hermione would be proud.


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