Some excerpts from the speech –
Emma Watson: “Men – Gender equality is your issue too.
Because 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; 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 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.”
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Another thing that she pointed out was whenever there is a discussion going on about gender equality, it is only women who talk and get involved actively for the cause.
My friends and I had observed the same thing, when we conducted a seminar on gender equality for school students’ parents. Of the whole parent population, only 10% were male. And they were the passive members in the ongoing discussion. Probably because they were too aloof from the concept of feminism and equality, or simply because they did not want to comment as it wasn’t “their problem”.
To work on these issues and take the first step, just like Emma said, we need to ask ourselves- “If not me, who? if not now, when?”