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Emma Watson: The Most Inspiring Quotes From Her International Women's Day Q&A

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You were probably too busy celebrating International Women's Day yesterday to watch the hour long Q&A Emma Watson (a.k.a. the UN Women Goodwill Ambassador) participated in on the topic of gender equality. I've put together a collection of some of the most inspiring, right-on things she said, in case you don't have the time to watch the whole thing. (Spoiler: by the end of this post, you're going to want to make time to watch the whole thing.) Somewhere out there, Hermione Granger is so very proud.

On confusion about who is and isn't a feminist:

"Men think it’s a women’s word, but what it means is that you believe in equality. If you stand for equality, then you’re a feminist. Sorry to tell you. You’re a feminist. That’s it."

On how internet trolls never prosper:

"The minute I stepped up and talked about women's rights, I was immediately threatened. I mean, within less than 12 hours, I was receiving threats. There was a website set up that was threatening to release naked images of me, with a countdown...People think: 'Oh, she’s gonna be disheartened by this.' If anything, it made me so much more determined. I was just raging. It made me so angry, that I was like, 'This is why I have to be doing this.'"


On whether chivalry is sexist:

"I love having the door opened for me, isn't that just polite? I love being taken for dinner. But I think the key is, would you then mind me opening the door for you? Chivalry should be consensual."

On the importance of emotion:

"I'm really genuinely disturbed by this idea that men can't cry. And that they can't express themselves, they can't talk about how they actually feel. I think that's actually the saddest thing in the world. It's what makes you human - how you feel, being able to express yourself, being passionate, being emotional - it's what makes you human, it's not what makes you a girl."

On how important it is to shake off the nay-saying haters:

"Don't let anyone tell you what you can or cannot do, or can  or cannot achieve. Just don't allow it. It's so wrong. Be whatever you want to be...Prove them wrong."

On femininity:

"Feminine qualities are generally valued less by our society. Femininity needs to be embraced wherever it's found, whether it be found in a woman or man or in a gender non-conforming person. Wherever it's found, we should be embracing it."

On how she handles sexist comments like "Emma, why aren't you in the kitchen?": 

"In the not too distant future, I really hope most people will be horrified by a comment like that, as opposed to sort of mildly irked. I have a much calmer conviction now than I used to when I was younger. It still does upset me and it's good that it upsets me because it should. I think I know the difference between when someone wants to have a meaningful dialogue about gender equality and when someone just wants to get a rise out of you."

 On what she would say to someone who refuses a girl her education:

"How and why are you not recognizing the potential of that girl? Why are you not recognizing what she can bring to the table? We need yin and yang, we need female representation, we need female leadership. Women have so much to offer. We are such an untapped part of this world. So much potential gets wasted because girls are not encouraged in the same way men are. We can achieve so much."

On what you should do when witnessing discrimination:

"Don't ever hear in your own head, Who am I to say something? You are a human being! You are a person! You can 100% change the world. And it's small ways, it's everyday ways, it's the little things that count. Be brave."

On whether she would be a feminist, if she were a man:

"I would because it's right. Not because I have a mother or a sister or whatever just because it's right."

On sexism in the film industry:

"7% of directors are female.  Why are we not telling women's stories? Why are women not telling their own stories, directing their own stories? It's crazy. It's got to be done."

On why men must support women in fighting gender inequality (paraphrasing Gloria Steinem):

"The human race is a bird — and it needs both its wings to be able to fly. And at the moment one of its wings is clipped, we're never going to be able to fly as high."

On if she thinks she'll see full gender equality in her lifetime:

"At current rates, no, I will probably be dead. But I think I'm just going to refuse to die. No, I will not go. You are not going to get rid of me until I get to see an equal number of female prime ministers and presidents and CEOs, and more men that feel like it's okay to express how they really feel about things. And more fathers that are present in their children's lives. And until I see us all not policing and oppressing each other and not ostracizing each other. And when I live in a world where there isn't a narrowly-defined definition of masculinity and femininity. I'm just not gonna go."

On her big dream:

"If the UN Secretary General is watching this, my dream would be that I would be working for the UN Equality Agency, that gender equality would be such a thing of the past that that wouldn't even need to exist. It would just be UN Equality Agency, period, full stop, done. That's the dream."

Now don't you want to watch the full Q&A? I thought you might.

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