Just like her famed Harry Potter character Hermione, Emma Watson is using her powers for good. The U.N. Goodwill Ambassador and founder of the gender equality initiative HeForShe spoke in front of the U.N. General Assembly in N.Y.C. on Tuesday, where she delivered a powerful speech on preventing sexual violence in universities.
“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,” she said.
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“I know that my university experience shaped who I am, and of course, it does for many people. But what if our experience at 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?”
The Beauty and the Beast star then introduced the first IMPACT 10X10X10 University Parity report, the first progress report since 10 global universities announced their commitment last summer to achieve gender parity in their schools by 2020. Georgetown and Stony Brook University are the two schools representing the United States on the list of 10.
“The university experience must tell women that their brainpower is valued, and not just that, but that they belong within the 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, not a privilege. A right that will be respected by a community that believes and supports survivors, and that recognizes that when one person’s safety is violated, everyone feels their own safety is violated,” Watson said.
“A university should be a place of refuge that takes action against all forms of violence,” she added, introducing representatives from the 10 schools that are making that are a priority.
We couldn’t be more behind this empowering star. Watch her full speech in the video above.