On Sept. 20, 2014, Emma Watson gave a speech to the U.N. about feminism and gender equality. As a mom raising children of both genders, I want them to believe in the political, social and economic rights of all people.
“Feminism” isn’t some abstruse construct our kids can’t understand. At its very definition all it means is that women are socially, economically and politically equal to men. We want to raise our daughters to feel like they can do anything, but all too often the messages they receive from society, the media and the world is that due to their gender, their lives are worth less than boys’ lives. It’s time we all made an effort to change this message and teach our kids that they are all equal no matter what their gender. Emma Watson’s speech to the United Nations has shown us that all kids can be ambassadors for gender equality.
Parents owe it to their children — their sons and daughters both — to start this conversation with them. We need to raise our sons to believe our daughters are equal to them, and we need to raise our daughters to believe our sons don’t have to conform to traditional masculine stereotypes to be strong. As Watson said in her speech, daughters, sisters and mothers need to be free from prejudice, and sons, brothers and fathers need to be allowed to be vulnerable and human too. As a mother of young children, I believe I owe it to them and to the world to teach them that everyone is equal, regardless of gender. I believe I owe it to them to treat every person with respect. Thank you, Emma, for giving all of us the opportunity to ask ourselves, if not me, then who? If not now, then when?
Share this video with your kids, with your friends, with your parents, with your kids’ friends’ parents, with your bothers and sisters. Let’s help spread this message so our children can be part of the generation that benefits from #HeForShe.