Emma Watson, who has been a UN Women's Global Goodwill Ambassador since 2014, spoke at the UN headquarters in New York on September 20th to discuss the importance of university in shaping our views on equality and to thank a number of universities for their commitment to the cause.
Check out the full transcript below:
“And on behalf of the entire heforshe team, I also want to thank unesco For all of its support, uh, it’s meant a lot to us. Thank you all for being here for this important moment, these men from all over the world have decided to make gender equality a priority in their lives and in their universities. Thank you for making this commitment. I graduated from university four years ago, I had always dreamed of going, and I know how fortunate I am to have had the opportunity to do so. Brown became my home, my community. And I took the ideas and the experiences I had there into all of my social interactions, into my workplace, into my politics, into all aspects of my life.”
“I know that my university experience shaped who I am, and of course, it does for many people. But what if our experience of university shows us that women don’t belong in leadership? 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 in far too many universities, we are given the message that sexual violence isn’t actually a form of violence?”
“But, we know that if you change students’ experiences so they have different expectations of the world around them - expectations of equality – society will change. 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. We need to see equal respect, leadership, and pay.”
“The university experience must tell women that their brain power is valued. And not just that, but that they belong in leadership of the university itself. And so importantly right now, the experience must make it clear, that the safety of women, minorities, and anyone who may be vulnerable, is a right, and not a privilege. A right that will be respected by a community that believes and supports survivors and that recognises that when one person's safety is violated, everyone feels their own safety is violated."
"A university should be a place of refuge that takes action against all forms of violence. That's why we believe students should leave university believing in, striving for, and expecting societies of true equality. Societies of equality in every sense and that universities have the power to be a vital catalyst for that change.”
"Our ten impact champions, have made this commitment, and with their work we know they will inspire students, and other universities and schools across the world to do better."
"I am delighted to introduce this report on their progress and I am eager to hear what's next."
"Thank you so much."
Read more about the UN Goodwill Ambassadors here.