Skip to main content
Humanities LibreTexts

3.3: Emma Watson’s United Nations- “HeForShe- Gender Equality is Your Issue, Too” Speech

  • Page ID
    229876
  • \( \newcommand{\vecs}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \)

    \( \newcommand{\vecd}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash {#1}}} \)

    \( \newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)

    ( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\)

    \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\)

    \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\)

    \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\)

    \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\)

    \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\)

    \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\)

    \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\AA}{\unicode[.8,0]{x212B}}\)

    \( \newcommand{\vectorA}[1]{\vec{#1}}      % arrow\)

    \( \newcommand{\vectorAt}[1]{\vec{\text{#1}}}      % arrow\)

    \( \newcommand{\vectorB}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \)

    \( \newcommand{\vectorC}[1]{\textbf{#1}} \)

    \( \newcommand{\vectorD}[1]{\overrightarrow{#1}} \)

    \( \newcommand{\vectorDt}[1]{\overrightarrow{\text{#1}}} \)

    \( \newcommand{\vectE}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash{\mathbf {#1}}}} \)

    \( \newcommand{\vecs}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \)

    \( \newcommand{\vecd}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash {#1}}} \)

    Chapter 9 Objectives

    Students will be able to

    • Practice vocabulary with an increased understanding of the chapter words
    • Discuss an author/speaker's tone, purpose, and intended audience.
    • Use note-taking and summarizing strategies while reading
    • Read “Emma Watson’s United Nations Speech: “HeForShe: Gender Equality is Your Issue, Tooby Emma Watson is in the public domain and answer comprehension questions based on this reading
    • Make connections between this chapter and previously assigned texts
    • Write a short summary and response essay.
    • Use sentence starters (sentence frames) to write with an academic tone.

    Vocabulary Introduction

    Exercise 1 Prior Knowledge

    Look at the words in bold in Exercise 2 without reading the example sentences. Rate your current knowledge of the word before doing the unit exercises. Use the numbered scale and write the number in front of the sentences in Exercise 2. With each exercise and by the end of the unit, your knowledge should work toward a "4", which means you will know the word, can explain it and give an example. It is expected that you will mark many words with a "1" or "2" now since they might be completely new words.

    1. I do not know this word, and I have never heard of it before.

    2. I have heard of this word before. It sounds familiar.

    3. I can give an example of this word, but I cannot explain it.

    4. I know this word. I can explain it and give an example.

    Exercise 2 Definitions

    Read the sentences below. Guess the meaning of the words in bold based on the example sentence(s). Circle the best definition of the word in bold.

    ____ 1. When I did not see your car, I assumed you were not home.

    Your definition:

    ____ 2. Having dessert after a meal is a privilege. It is not necessary.

    Your definition:

    ____ 3. Women are not afforded the same rights as men.

    Your definition:

    ____ 4. When the dentist pulled Beto’s tooth, he suffered in pain for hours.

    Your definition:

    ____ 5. Because he had gained weight, he felt insecure when he was swimming in front of his friends.

    Your definition:

    ____ 6. Dogs do not perceive color as humans do.

    Your definition:

    Reading Skill: Tone, Purpose, and Audience

    Tone is the attitude the author shows in a reading. Purpose is the reason the author is writing or speaking. Audience is the group of people that the author is writing for or speaking to.

    Learn about tone, purpose, and audience. Practice filling in some example sentences from the handout.

    SOAPS TONE sentences.pdf

    Examples:

    • The tone of the speech is serious and important because the author uses phrases such as "imprisoned by gender stereotypes" and "suffering from mental illness."
    • In the United Nations speech by Emma Watson, she discusses a campaign to help people understand that gender equality will benefit people of all genders.

    Try it! Can you discover the tone, purpose, and audience of the following speech?

    • Tone: _____________________________
    • Audience:_______________________________
    • Purpose: _______________________________

    Exercise 3:

    Watch the video of Emma Watson's Speech and answer the questions below

    After watching the video, explain what you think Watson's purpose, intended audience, and tone are for her speech. Look through the text of her speech below to find words and phrases that demonstrate your ideas.

    1. What was the goal (purpose) of Emma Watson’s speech? Provide quotes as evidence.
      • The purpose of the (speech, text, or piece) is _____ because _____.
      • The speaker’s intended focus is _____ because _____.
      • The speaker’s point is _____ because _____.
      • The main idea of the (speech, text, or piece) is ____ since the speaker says, “______.”
    2. Who was she speaking to? Who was her intended audience? Provide quotes as evidence.
      • The text occurs during the (time period, event, etc.) as the speaker says, “______.”
      • The context of the (speech, text, or piece) is _____ and the audience is _____.
      • The speaker addresses _____ because/since he/she says, “______.”
      • The intended audience for this (speech, text, or piece) is ____ because _____.
      • Because the speaker says, “_____”, the intended audience must be _____.
    3. What was the tone of her speech? Example tones include humorous, personal, serious, sarcastic, and critical. Provide quotes as evidence.
      • The tone of the (speech, text, or piece) is ____ because the (author, speaker, etc.) uses words such as
        ____, ___, and ____.
      • When the (author, speaker, etc.) says, “_____”, it becomes evident that the author’s tone is ____ because
        _____.
      • The (author’s, speaker’s, etc.) use of _____ creates a tone of _____ because _____.
      • Because the (author, speaker, etc.) says, “_____”, it creates a tone of _____.
      • As the (speech, text, or piece) continues, it is evident that the tone is _____ because _____.

    Reading

    Emma Watson’s United Nations Speech: “HeForShe: Gender Equality is Your Issue, Too”

    Emma Watson is a British actress, model, and activist, most widely known for her portrayal of Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter film series. In 2014 Watson became a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador and helped launch the campaign HeForShe. Watson presented the speech below at the Headquarters of the United Nations in New York. As you read, take notes on why Emma Watson believes the roles of men are important in ending gender inequality.

    1Today we are launching a campaign called “HeForShe.”

    I am reaching out to you because I need your help. We want to end gender inequality—and to do that we need everyone to be involved.

    This is the first campaign of its kind at the UN: we want to try and galvanize as many men and boys as possible to be advocates for gender equality. And we don’t just want to talk about it, but make sure it is tangible.

    I was appointed six months ago and the more I have spoken about feminism the more I have realized that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating. If there is one thing I know for certain, it is that this has to stop.

    5For the record, feminism by definition is: “The belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It is the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes.”

    I started questioning gender-based assumptions when at eight I was confused at being called “bossy,” because I wanted to direct the plays we would put on for our parents—but the boys were not.

    When at 14 I started being sexualized by certain elements of the press.

    When at 15 my girlfriends started dropping out of their sports teams because they didn’t want to appear “muscly.”

    When at 18 my male friends were unable to express their feelings.

    10I decided I was a feminist and this seemed uncomplicated to me. But my recent research has shown me that feminism has become an unpopular word.

    Apparently I am among the ranks of women whose expressions are seen as too strong, too aggressive, isolating, anti-men and, unattractive.

    Why is the word such an uncomfortable one?

    I am from Britain and think it is right that as a woman I am paid the same as my male counterparts. I think it is right that I should be able to make decisions about my own body. I think it is right that women be involved on my behalf in the policies and decision-making of my country. I think it is right that socially I am afforded the same respect as men. But sadly I can say that there is no one country in the world where all women can expect to receive these rights.

    No country in the world can yet say they have achieved gender equality.

    15These rights I consider to be human rights but I am one of the lucky ones. My life is a sheer privilege because my parents didn’t love me less because I was born a daughter. My school did not limit me because I was a girl. My mentors didn’t assume I would go less far because I might give birth to a child one day. These influencers were the gender equality ambassadors that made me who I am today. They may not know it, but they are the inadvertent feminists who are changing the world today. And we need more of those.

    And if you still hate the word—it is not the word that is important but the idea and the ambition behind it. Because not all women have been afforded the same rights that I have. In fact, statistically, very few have been.

    In 1995, Hilary Clinton made a famous speech in Beijing about women’s rights. Sadly many of the things she wanted to change are still a reality today.

    But what stood out for me the most was that only 30 percent of her audience were male. How can we affect change in the world when only half of it is invited or feel welcome to participate in the conversation?

    Men—I would like to take this opportunity to extend your formal invitation. Gender equality is your issue too.pZgK1fBOw95niTKxqhaNVdSU3Dn2NRNvm3pcNejMDfFasbuStmY3a3XXDThGTO-i3-bpn2VkaSwuYDzwhQydVNYJ_-UyVYwSx8urXCxtZ7rI6kBrNq5La18e04artEeSA878aqc

    Figure 15 “UN Women launched HeForShe IMPACT 10x10x10 Initiative” by UN Women is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

    20Because to date, I’ve seen my father’s role as a parent being valued less by society despite my needing his presence as a child as much as my mother’s.

    I’ve seen young men suffering from mental illness unable to ask for help for fear it would make them look less “macho”—in fact in the UK suicide is the biggest killer of men between 20-49 years of age; eclipsing road accidents, cancer and coronary heart disease. I’ve seen men made fragile and insecure by a distorted sense of what constitutes male success. Men don’t have the benefits of equality either.

    We don’t often talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes but I can see that that they are and that when they are free, things will change for women as a natural consequence.

    If men don’t have to be aggressive in order to be accepted women won’t feel compelled to be submissive. If men don’t have to control, women won’t have to be controlled.

    Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong… It is time that we all perceive gender on a spectrum not as two opposing sets of ideals.

    25If we stop defining each other by what we are not and start defining ourselves by what we are—we can all be freer and this is what HeForShe is about. It’s about freedom.

    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.

    You might be thinking who is this Harry Potter girl? And what is she doing up on stage at the UN. It’s a good question and trust me, I have been asking myself the same thing. I don’t know if I am qualified to be here. All I know is that I care about this problem. And I want to make it better.

    And having seen what I’ve seen—and given the chance—I feel it is my duty to say something. English Statesman Edmund Burke said: “All that is needed for the forces of evil to triumph is for enough good men and women to do nothing.”

    In my nervousness for this speech and in my moments of doubt I’ve told myself firmly—if not me, who, if not now, when. If you have similar doubts when opportunities are presented to you I hope those words might be helpful.

    30Because the reality is that if we do nothing it will take 75 years, or for me to be nearly a hundred before women can expect to be paid the same as men for the same work. 15.5 million girls will be married in the next 16 years as children. And at current rates it won’t be until 2086 before all rural African girls will be able to receive a secondary education.

    If you believe in equality, you might be one of those inadvertent feminists I spoke of earlier.

    And for this I applaud you.

    We are struggling for a uniting word but the good news is we have a uniting movement. It is called HeForShe. I am inviting you to step forward, to be seen to speak up, to be the “he” for “she”. And to ask yourself if not me, who? If not now, when?

    Thank you.

    Emma Watson’s United Nations Speech: “HeForShe: Gender Equality is Your Issue, Tooby Emma Watson is in the public domain.

    Text-Dependent Questions

    Exercise 4

    For the following questions, choose the best answer.

    1. PART A: Which statement identifies the central idea of the text?

    A. The term “feminism” to describe the movement of gender equality is too strong a word, which is why Emma Watson has adopted the term “HeForShe.”

    B. Emma Watson believes that gender inequality should not only be a concern for women, but men as well.

    C. Gender inequality is an issue that effects women alone, as women have been denied equal rights and men have not.

    D. The help of men in achieving gender equality is necessary because their voices and opinions are more respected than women’s.

    2. PART B: Which detail from the text best supports the answer to Part A?

    A. “I was appointed six months ago and the more I have spoken about feminism the more I have realized that fighting for women’s rights has too often become synonymous with man-hating.” (Paragraph 4)

    B. “I started questioning gender-based assumptions when at eight I was confused at being called ‘bossy,’ because I wanted to direct the plays we would put on for our parents—but the boys were not.” (Paragraph 6)

    C. “How can we affect change in the world when only half of it is invited or feel welcome to participate in the conversation?” (Paragraph 18)

    D. “I’ve seen men made fragile and insecure by a distorted sense of what constitutes male success. Men don’t have the benefits of equality either.” (Paragraph 21)

    3. PART A: How do the experiences of men with gender inequality compare to women?

    A. Men are more privileged than women but are still negatively impacted by gender stereotypes.

    B. Men do not experience society’s gender expectations until later in life, while women experience them from girlhood.

    C. Men are more accepting of gender inequality than women because they have monetary advantages and this is something that is unlikely to change.

    D. Men are less likely than women to help end gender inequality because they would lose some of their rights to women.

    4. PART B: Which quote from the text best supports the answer to Part A?

    A. “This is the first campaign of its kind at the UN: we want to try and galvanize as many men and boys as possible to be advocates for gender equality.” (Paragraph 3)

    B. “When at 15 my girlfriends started dropping out of their sports teams because they didn’t want to appear ‘muscly.’” (Paragraph 8)

    C. “We don’t often talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes but I can see that that they are and that when they are free, things will change for women as a natural consequence.” (Paragraph 22)

    D. “Because the reality is that if we do nothing it will take 75 years, or for me to be nearly a hundred before women can expect to be paid the same as men for the same work.” (Paragraph 30)

    Vocabulary Practice

    Exercise 5 Sentence Completion

    Complete the sentences using the vocabulary in the box below.

    assume privilege afford

    suffer insecure perceive

    Table 24 Chapter 13 Sentence Completion

    1. Children ________________ the most when parents argue.

    2. Julia had special ________________ because her mother was a nurse.

    3. Rashid ________________ that Maria spoke Spanish because of her name.

    4. Animals’ purpose is ________________ differently depending on the culture.

    5. Because Rebecca is not fluent in Spanish, she felt ________________ when she spoke in public.

    6. Marie was ________________ the opportunity to work for an experienced lawyer.

    Exercise 6 Discussion Questions

    Take notes answering the questions below. Then discuss your answers with a partner or group.

    1. Is education a privilege or a right? Explain your answer.

    2. What shapes our perception of cultures and people? How was your perception of America formed?

    3. Have you ever made an assumption that was wrong? Explain.

    Reading Skill: Synthesis

    Exercise 7

    What do the Chicano Movement, Black Power and Civil Rights Movement, and the suffrage movement have in common? How are they different? Complete the chart below with your answers using the readings from Unit 3 and 4 as support.

    Points of comparison

    Chicano

    Black Power

    Civil Rights

    Suffrage

    Goal/Aim

           

    Time of Movement

           

    Strategies

           

    Philosophy

           

    Outcome/Results

           

    Writing Skill: Summary and Response

    Exercise 8

    Select three points from “Emma Watson's United Nations Speech that you can summarize and then respond to. Summarize three main ideas from the reading and the details that help explain them. Then respond to them. Write summary and response paragraphs by completing the sentence frames below and adding your own ideas about each point from the text.

    Summary:

    In the speech titled "__________________________________________________" by ________________________________, the speaker shares the main idea that _________________________. She begins by arguing ____________________________________________________________________. This idea is further explained when she says __________________________________ _______________________________________________________________________________________. Another significant idea is _____________________________________________________ _________________________________________________________________________ which she supports by explaining ____________________________________________. Watson concludes her speech with the idea that _____________________________ __________________________________ and suggests that the audience should __________________________________________________________________________.

    Response:

    I agree/disagree with the idea that __________________________. After considering the arguments presented in the speech by ____________________ , I (can/cannot) fully support the idea that _____________________________________________. I agree/disagree because________________________________________. For instance, the speaker says __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________. My experiences as a/an __________________________ have also helped me understand why _______________________________________________________________________________.

    For these reasons, I believe that __________________________________________________________________________________________________________________.


    This page titled 3.3: Emma Watson’s United Nations- “HeForShe- Gender Equality is Your Issue, Too” Speech is shared under a CC BY 4.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Rebecca Al Haider.

    • Was this article helpful?