“I am reaching out to you because I need your help. We want to end gender inequality – and to do that we need everyone to be involved,” she said, directly addressing men around the globe. “Men – I would like to take this opportunity to extend your formal invitation. Gender equality is your issue too.”
And so, the #HeForShe movement began: a call to action to men and boys to be advocates for gender equality and allies to their female peers.
Because, as Watson noted, equality isn’t just a women’s issue, it affects blokes too.
“We don’t often talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes but I can see that they are and that when they are free, things will change for women as a natural consequence,” Watson added. “I want men to take up this mantle. So their daughters, sisters and mothers can be free from prejudice but also so that their sons have permission to be vulnerable and human too.”
As the slogan tee says: We should all be feminists.
Following Watson’s impassioned speech, actor Benedict Cumberbatch committed to only working on projects where women are paid the same as men.
When Mark Wahlberg was paid $1.5 million for reshoots on the film All The Money In The World – compared to Michelle Williams’ $1,000 – he donated the full amount to the Time’s Up Legal Defense Fund in Williams’ name, saying, “I one hundred per cent support the fight for fair pay.”
And then there’s that viral clip of Tom Hardy calling out a journalist at a Mad Max press conference for asking if Hardy was bothered by having so many women in a “man’s movie".
Male allies are stepping up in Hollywood – and across workplaces in Australia.
But, of course, gender inequality is still a huge issue that needs to be addressed.
For one, Harvey Weinstein still isn’t behind bars.
As the UN notes, “There is no country in the world that has achieved gender equality.”
To change that, they’re moving the conversation forward, encouraging people of every gender identity and expression to stand together for the #HeForShe movement. It’s not just #HeForShe anymore. Now, it’s ‘We are #HeForShe’.
For the next month, UN Women is inviting people around the world to make a pledge to equality.
The commitment is simple: “I am one of the millions who believe that everyone is born free and equal. I will take action against gender bias, discrimination and violence to bring the benefits of equality to us all.”
Join the movement by signing the commitment here: unwomen.org.au/campaign/heforshe/
Change is possible if we stand together. United. In solidarity.
As Watson said all those years ago: “Ask yourself, if not me, who? If not now, when?”