Last week Emma Watson, U.N. Goodwill Ambassador for Women, made a profound speech about gender equality and the new HeForShe Campaign. If you haven’t watched it already, do so; it’s brilliant, articulate and contains remarkable statistics.
What sets HeForShe apart from other campaigns is that it invites men into the conversation and support for equality too:
“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 – reclaim those parts of themselves they abandoned and in doing so be a more true and complete version of themselves.”
This is important and needed. It also beckons a larger call and responsibility for us, as women individually and also to one another.
Instead of building up and drawing out the gold inside of each another, we can so often be the harsh critics and crush instead. Jealousy, apathy, judgment, insecurity, competition and comparison unfortunately overtake our support, praise, encouragement and general respect of and to each other. It is seen time and time again, both online and offline. And this has to stop.
More than HeForShe, it’s about SheForShe, HeForHe, and WeForWe. Of course men must be our allies, but we must be our own allies too. If we want to create a supportive and collaborative global community, we, as half of that community, need to value and respect those who we’re standing next to as well.
Encourage. Speak up. Protect. Celebrate. Reject the ideal of competition and comparison and raise your hand in praise of women (and men) instead.
Like Emma, your voice may tremble at times, but the message will be loud and clear. Let the words ring true: “If not me, who? If not now, when?”
Real change will only be seen until we’re in it together, and helping build up each other.
Please note: we’re unsure if we support HeForShe until seeing their initiatives. However, we are inspired by and appreciate the importance of this speech in highlighting the very real issues relating to both men and women, and in making the world a much better place.