Women's potential astonishingly untapped: Emma Watson

'Harry Potter' star Emma Watson spoke at the World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting in Davos

Davos: Emma Watson has urged young men to speak out when women are degraded, their husbands to support wives to pursue their ambitions and businessmen who mentor women to share their experiences, as part of a drive to get more men to champion women’s rights.

Emma Watson launched the HeforShe campaign last year. Pic/AFP
Emma Watson launched the HeforShe campaign last year. Pic/AFP

The star, also a goodwill ambassador for UN Women, spoke at the World Economic Forum (WEF) meeting in Davos, Switzerland, where she helped launch the next phase of a campaign to encourage men and boys to join the struggle for equal rights.

“Women share this planet 50/50 and they are underrepresented their potential astonishingly untapped,” Watson said. Since the HeforShe campaign began in September last year, it had received an outpouring of support from high-profile figures such as Hillary Clinton, Prince Harry and Archbishop Desmond Tutu.

IMPACT 10X10X10, the initiative launched on Friday, is a one-year pilot project seeking concrete commitments from governments, companies and universities on women’s empowerment and gender equality.

Make it work together
A girl born this year will be 80 before she lives in a world of gender equality, unless business leaders shatter the glass ceiling, heads of state do more to protect women and young men stand up for equal rights, the head of UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said.

“Together men and women can turn the tide of inequality. The fight to end gender-based injustices has to be timebound. It cannot be an open-ended struggle,” Mlambo-Ngcuka said. Watson said she had been encouraged by the response to the campaign so far.

“I’ve had my breath taken away when a fan told me that since watching my speech, she has stopped herself from being beaten up by her father,” Watson said.

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