Opinion: #HeForShe

Katie Smith is a senior public relations and a columnist for The Kent Stater. Contact her at ksmit138@kent.edu.

Katie Smith is a senior public relations and a columnist for The Kent Stater. Contact her at [email protected]

Katie Smith

It’s 2014. Gender equality should be the least of our worries as a country because, quite frankly, men and women should have been treated as equals from day one.

Here we are, almost 100 years after women were given the right to vote, and we’re still struggling with gender issues. It’s time for change.

It’s time for the chauvinists to open their narrow minds ever so slightly and entertain the fact that women are intelligent, able-bodied and capable of doing what men can do – possibly even better in some cases.

That’s why, when I heard about the HeForShe movement, I wanted to know more.

HeForShe is an initiative started by UN Women, an organization that was started in 2010 by the United Nations General Assembly, according to its website.

Emma Watson, known for her role in the Harry Potter movies and who also serves as a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, delivered a moving speech to launch the movement at the UN Headquarters in New York on Monday, Sept. 22.

During her almost 12-minute speech, she touched on many inequalities women face in the world such as females being called “bossy” for wanting to be a leader, or her friends quitting the sports teams they loved for fear of being “too muscular.”

Not only did Watson draw attention to the inequalities women deal with, she also acknowledged inequalities boys and men face such as being afraid to seek help with mental illnesses for fear of being perceived as weak.

“Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive,” she said. “Both men and women should feel free to be strong.”

I honestly couldn’t agree with her more. As humans, we should be able to have emotions and not be worried about expressing them.

According to HeForShe.org, “Gender equality is not only a women’s issue, it’s a human rights issue.” The organization also seeks to “bring together one half of humanity in support of the other of humanity, for the entirety of humanity.”

In the past, feminist movements were women fighting for the rights of their fellow women, and that’s why I think this movement is so important. For once, it unites men and women to fight for a common issue that affects us all. Being a feminist doesn’t mean you hate men. It means that you believe in equality.

Watson has received a great outpouring of support on Twitter from fellow celebrities and those who believe in equality. Of course, she also received threats from an online organization to reveal naked pictures of the actress, but that’s a whole other story.

Join the conversation on Twitter with the hashtag #HeForShe and sign the pledge to end gender equality at heforshe.org.