The importance of the launch of Emma Watson’s HeForShe campaign and then subsequently the IMPACT 10x10x10 Initiative at the World Economic Forum at Davos should not be underestimated. For so long Feminism has received a bad rep. Not only is it made out to be for hairy man hating lesbians that shout and scream and like to throw peanuts at male toddlers, but it has been ostracised to the fringes of society rather than taking center stage. Often equal pay, sexual harassment, rape, domestic abuse, body image and countless other issues are deemed as not important enough, that there are other more pressing issues to be dealt with.
However, why should the presence of other issues detract from these issues? As humans should we not try and make every aspect of our lives and others lives better? Are we not capable of thinking of more than one thing at once? Surely if something is affecting half of our society then that is something worth talking about; an issue for all of us?
Here is where the HeForShe campaign steps in. It encouraged feminist issues to be men’s issues also. Yes this is not a new rhetoric, but Emma Watson acting as its figurehead and UN Women Global Goodwill Ambassador, with her popularity and vitality, mean that this message can really and truly break through.
Feminism has for the most part been a struggle for equality for women, by women. But HeForShe encourages men to join in and stand up against the inequalities and discrimination faced by women. This is vital. Feminism is not for the superiority of women, it is for EQUALITY. And how can we achieve equality without the equal participation of all sexes? The answer is we cannot. Thus by encouraging men to care, to join in and speak out we can exact real and lasting change for ALL of humanity.
And as is often the case, we sign the petition, we decide in our heads we support a campaign, but then what? What more can we do to make a change? At Davos, Emma Watson highlighted the fact that men and women can be feminists and fight for equality every single damn day, through doing the smallest of actions. Even simply by talking about it to your colleagues, friends and family. That is the pebble that may ripple out and out until waves of change affect the entire ocean.
Feminism and equality start at home. It’s a global issue, unlike a lot of others, where we as individuals can actually make a real difference. That way we can stand with governments, corporations and even whole countries to work together to build a better future for everyone. Let’s all be part of the change.