Newly-appointed UN ambassador Emma Watson challenges men to redefine the definition of feminism

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...

59 PHOTOS
Emma Watson: UN Women Goodwill Ambassador
See Gallery
Newly-appointed UN ambassador Emma Watson challenges men to redefine the definition of feminism
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 20: UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson (L ) looks at United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon,while they pose for a picture while they attend the HeForShe campaign launch at the United Nations on September 20, 2014 in New York, New York. (Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)
Uruguay's Vice President Danilo Astori, left, and Director of UN Women Gulden Turkoz, right, applaud after a speech by Emma Watson, UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, at Parliament in Montevideo, Uruguay, Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014. Watson attended the event organized by women's groups pushing the country's lawmaking body to increase their numbers of elected female senators and deputies. (AP Photo/Matilde Campodonico)
UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson (L) and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon pose for a photo September 20, 2014 at the United Nations in New York. The two were on hand to the Launch of the HeForShe Campaign. AFP PHOTO/Timothy A. Clary (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
Emma Watson, UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, takes notes during an event at Parliament in Montevideo, Uruguay, Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014. Watson attended the event organized by women's groups which are pushing the country's lawmaking body to increase its numbers of elected female senators and deputies. (AP Photo/Matilde Campodonico)
British Actor and UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson arrives to the presentation of the UN Womens HeForShe campaign to Non Governmental Organizations at the Uruguay's Parliament in Montevideo on September 17, 2014. The UN project intends to mobilize one billion men and boys as advocates and agents of change in ending the persisting inequalities faced by women and girls globally. The premise is that inequality is a human rights issue, the resolution of which will benefit everyone socially, politically and economically. AFP PHOTO/ Miguel ROJO (Photo credit should read MIGUEL ROJO/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, UNITED SATES - SEPTEMBER 20: Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka head of UN Women (L), President-elect of the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly (2nd L), UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson (3th L), United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (3th R), his wife Soon-taek Madam Yoo Ban (2nd R) and actor Kiefer Sutherland (R) attend the ''HeForShe'' United Nations campaign at the Peninsula Hotel in New York, United States on September 20, 2014. (Photo by Selcuk Acar/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, UNITED SATES - SEPTEMBER 20: UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson (center) speaks during the ''HeForShe'' United Nations campaign meeting in New York, United States on September 20, 2014. (Photo by Selcuk Acar/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 20: UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon pose for a picture while they attend the HeForShe campaign launch at the United Nations on September 20, 2014 in New York, New York. (Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 20: UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson (C ) speaks with United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon while they attend the HeForShe campaign launch at the United Nations on September 20, 2014 in New York, New York. (Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)
UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson (R) and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon pose for a photo September 20, 2014 at the United Nations in New York. The two were on hand to the Launch of the HeForShe Campaign. AFP PHOTO/Timothy A. Clary (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, UNITED SATES - SEPTEMBER 20: Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka head of UN Women (L), President-elect of the 69th session of the United Nations General Assembly (2nd L), UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson (3th L), United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon (3th R), his wife Soon-taek Madam Yoo Ban (2nd R) and actor Kiefer Sutherland (R) attend the ''HeForShe'' United Nations campaign at the Peninsula Hotel in New York, United States on September 20, 2014. (Photo by Selcuk Acar/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 20: UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson (C ) attends the HeForShe campaign launch at the United Nations on September 20, 2014 in New York, New York. (Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 20: UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson (C-Left ) walks next to United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, while they attend the HeForShe campaign launch at the United Nations on September 20, 2014 in New York, New York. (Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)
Actor Kiefer Sutherland and Emma Watson, UN Women Goodwill Ambassador attends the Launch of the HeForShe Campaign September 20, 2014 at the United Nations in New York. AFP PHOTO/Timothy A. Clary (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson (L) and United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon pose for a photo September 20, 2014 at the United Nations in New York. The two were on hand to the Launch of the HeForShe Campaign. AFP PHOTO/Timothy A. Clary (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 20: (L-R) Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Ugandan Foreign Affairs Minister Sam Kutesa, UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Madam Yoo (Ban) Soon-taek, and actor Kiefer Sutherland attends the HeForShe campaign launch at the United Nations on September 20, 2014 in New York, New York. (Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 20: UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson (C ) attends the HeForShe campaign launch at the United Nations on September 20, 2014 in New York, New York. (Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images)
(L-R) UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, Madam Yoo (Ban) Soon-taek, and actor Kiefer Sutherland pose for a photo September 20, 2014 at the United Nations in New York. The group gathered to the Launch of the HeForShe Campaign. AFP PHOTO/Timothy A. Clary (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)
British Actor and UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson (C) speaks next to Uruguay's Vice President Danilo Astori (L) and the Director of the UN Women Programme Division Gulden Turkoz-Cosslett (R) during the presentation of the UN Womens HeForShe campaign to Non Governmental Organizations at the Uruguay's Parliament in Montevideo on September 17, 2014. The UN project intends to mobilize one billion men and boys as advocates and agents of change in ending the persisting inequalities faced by women and girls globally. The premise is that inequality is a human rights issue, the resolution of which will benefit everyone socially, politically and economically. AFP PHOTO/ Miguel ROJO (Photo credit should read MIGUEL ROJO/AFP/Getty Images)
British Actor and UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson attends the presentation of the UN Womens HeForShe campaign to Non Governmental Organizations, at the Uruguay's Parliament in Montevideo on September 17, 2014. The UN project intends to mobilize one billion men and boys as advocates and agents of change in ending the persisting inequalities faced by women and girls globally. The premise is that inequality is a human rights issue, the resolution of which will benefit everyone socially, politically and economically. AFP PHOTO/ Miguel ROJO (Photo credit should read MIGUEL ROJO/AFP/Getty Images)
British Actor and UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson (R) speaks with Uruguay's Vice President Danilo Astori during the presentation of the UN Womens HeForShe campaign to Non Governmental Organizations at the Uruguay's Parliament in Montevideo on September 17, 2014. The UN project intends to mobilize one billion men and boys as advocates and agents of change in ending the persisting inequalities faced by women and girls globally. The premise is that inequality is a human rights issue, the resolution of which will benefit everyone socially, politically and economically. AFP PHOTO/ Miguel ROJO (Photo credit should read MIGUEL ROJO/AFP/Getty Images)
British Actor and UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson (L) speaks, next to an unidentified translator, during the presentation of the UN Womens HeForShe campaign to Non Governmental Organizations at the Uruguay's Parliament in Montevideo on September 17, 2014. The UN project intends to mobilize one billion men and boys as advocates and agents of change in ending the persisting inequalities faced by women and girls globally. The premise is that inequality is a human rights issue, the resolution of which will benefit everyone socially, politically and economically. AFP PHOTO/ Miguel ROJO (Photo credit should read MIGUEL ROJO/AFP/Getty Images)
UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson attends the HeForShe United Nations campaign launch party at the The Peninsula Hotel on Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini Invision/AP)
UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson attends the HeForShe United Nations campaign launch party at the The Peninsula Hotel on Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini Invision/AP)
UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson attends the HeForShe United Nations campaign launch party at the The Peninsula Hotel on Saturday, Sept. 20, 2014, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini Invision/AP)
In this Sept. 17, 2014 photo, fans of UK actress Emma Watson peek from behind a curtain as a security guard stands by inside Parliament in Montevideo, Uruguay. Watson is at Parliament in her role as UN Women Goodwill Ambassador for an event organized by women's groups pushing the country's lawmaking body to increase their numbers of elected female senators and deputies. (AP Photo/Matilde Campodonico)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 18: Emma Watson attends the Elle Style Awards 2014 at one Embankment on February 18, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Anthony Harvey/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - SEPTEMBER 03: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME) Emma Watson attends the GQ Men of the Year awards at The Royal Opera House on September 3, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 03: Emma Watson attends the GQ Men of the Year awards at The Royal Opera House on September 3, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 18: Emma Watson attends the Elle Style Awards 2014 at one Embankment on February 18, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Anthony Harvey/Getty Images)
Emma Watson, UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, right, speaks with Uruguay's Vice President Danilo Astori during an event at Parliament in Montevideo, Uruguay, Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014. Watson attended the event organized by women's groups pushing the country's lawmaking body to increase their numbers of elected female senators and deputies. (AP Photo/Matilde Campodonico)
Emma Watson, UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, takes notes during an event at Parliament in Montevideo, Uruguay, Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014. Watson attended the event organized by women's groups which are pushing the country's lawmaking body to increase its numbers of elected female senators and deputies. (AP Photo/Matilde Campodonico)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 31: Emma Watson attends the UK premiere of 'Noah' at Odeon Leicester Square on March 31, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Anthony Harvey/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 31: Emma Watson attends the UK premiere of 'Noah' at Odeon Leicester Square on March 31, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Anthony Harvey/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 31: Emma Watson attends the UK premiere of 'Noah' at Odeon Leicester Square on March 31, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Marsland/WireImage)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 31: Emma Watson (Bag Detail) attends the UK premiere of 'Noah' at Odeon Leicester Square on March 31, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Anthony Harvey/Getty Images)
THE OSCARS(r) - RED CARPET ARRIVALS - The Academy Awards(r) for outstanding film achievements of 2013 will be presented on Oscar Sunday, MARCH 2 (8:00-11:00 p.m., ET/5:00-8:00 p.m., PT), at the Dolby Theatre(r) at Hollywood & Highland Center(r) and televised live on the ABC Television Network. (Photo by Rick Rowell/ABC via Getty Images) EMMA WATSON
HOLLYWOOD, CA - MARCH 02: Actress Emma Watson (L) and guest attend the Oscars at Hollywood & Highland Center on March 2, 2014 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - FEBRUARY 18: Emma Watson attends the Elle Style Awards 2014 at one Embankment on February 18, 2014 in London, England. (Photo by Anthony Harvey/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - SEPTEMBER 03: Emma Watson attends the GQ Men of the Year awards at The Royal Opera House on September 3, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Mike Marsland/WireImage)
British actress Emma Watson and Australian actor Russell Crowe pose for photographers as they arrive at the UK premiere of Noah in Leicester Square, London, Monday March 31, 2014. (Photo by Jon Furniss/Invision/AP)
Emma Watson arrives at the UK premiere of Noah in Leicester Square, London, Monday March 31, 2014. (Photo by Jon Furniss/Invision/AP)
Presenter Alex Zane and Emma Watson on stage during the UK premiere of Noah in Leicester Square, London, Monday March 31, 2014. (Photo by Jon Furniss/Invision/AP)
Emma Watson and Russell Crowe greet each other as they arrive at the UK premiere of Noah in Leicester Square, London, Monday March 31, 2014. (Photo by Jon Furniss/Invision/AP)
Actress Emma Watson arrives on the red carpet for the Elle Style Awards on the Embankment in central London, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)
British actress Emma Watson arrives on the red carpet for the Elle Style Awards on the Embankment in central London, Tuesday, Feb. 18, 2014. (Photo by Joel Ryan/Invision/AP)
Emma Watson's shoes at the LA premiere of "The Bling Ring" at the Director's Guild of America on Tuesday, June 4, 2013 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Todd Williamson/Invision/AP)
July 11, 2011 - New York, New York, U.S. - Rupert Grint, Daniel Radcliffe and Emma Watson arrive at the premiere of ''Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2'' at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center in New York on July 11, 2011.(Credit Image: © Sharon Neetles/Globe Photos/ZUMAPRESS.com)
Stars Arrive at the 2011 Baftas in London's Covent Garden - 13/02/2011
July 11, 2011 - New York, New York, U.S. - Emma Watson arrives at the premiere of ''Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2'' at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center in New York on July 11, 2011.(Credit Image: © Sharon Neetles/Globe Photos/ZUMAPRESS.com)
New York, NY, USA. 26th Mar, 2014. Emma Watson attends the premiere of "Noah" at the Ziegfeld Theater on March 26, 2014 in New York City. © C. Fletcher/Alamy Live News
May 16, 2013 - Cannes, France - CANNES, FRANCE - MAY 16: Actress Emma Watson attends the Premiere of 'The Bling. (Credit Image: © Frederick Injimbert/ZUMAPRESS.com)
New York, NY, USA. 26th Mar, 2014. Emma Watson attends the premiere of "Noah" at the Ziegfeld Theater on March 26, 2014 in New York City. © C. Fletcher/Alamy Live News
Emma Watson, Sofia Coppola, Taissa Fariga, at the gala screening of Jeune & Jolie at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival 16th May 2013
Emma Watson_53
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - OCTOBER 15: Actress Emma Watson arrives at ELLE's 19th Annual Women In Hollywood Celebration at the Four Seasons Hotel on October 15, 2012 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Jeff Vespa/WireImage)
HOLLYWOOD, CA - SEPTEMBER 10: Actress Emma Watson attends 'The Perks of Being a Wallflower' Los Angeles Premiere at ArcLight Cinemas Cinerama Dome on September 10, 2012 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Christopher Polk/WireImage)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 06: Emma Watson arrives at the 2012 MTV Video Music Awards at Staples Center on September 6, 2012 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/WireImage)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION


By AOL NEWS

Actress, Brown University graduate and newly-appointed UN Women Global Goodwill Ambassador, Emma Watson, spoke at the United Nations Sunday to help launch a new campaign called 'HeForShe.'

HeForShe, Watson said, aims to help abolish gender inequality by beginning to define each other by what we are rather than what we are not -- and hopes to rally the support of a billion male advocates over the next 12 months to do so.

'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 their sons have permission to be vulnerable and human, too, and in doing so, be a more true and complete version of themselves.'

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon was the first man to bid his support.

During her speech, the 24-year-old Briton also extended the challenge of redefining feminism, reminding men that 'gender equality is [their] issue too,' especially when it comes to the pressure to succeed in a 'male' way.

'How can we affect change in the world when only half of it is invited or feel welcome to participate in the conversation?' she added, referring specifically to Hillary Clinton's famous 1997 speech on women's rights in Beijing, during which less than 30 percent of the audience was male.

She ended by saying: 'You might think, 'Who is this Harry Potter girl? What is she doing at the U. N.?' And it's a really good question -- I've been asking myself the same thing. 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 my responsibility to say something. Statesman Edmund Burke said all that is needed for the forces of evil to triumph is for good men and women to do nothing.'

Watch the full speech or read the full transcript below:

"Today, we are launching a campaign called HeForShe. I am reaching out to you before we need your help. We want to end gender inequality and to do this, we need everyone involved. This is the first campaign of its kind at the UN. We want to try to galvanise as many men and boys as possible to be advocates for change and we don't just want to talk about it. We want to try and make sure that it's tangible."

"I was appointed as Goodwill Ambassador for U.N. Women six months ago and the more I've spoken about feminism, the more I have realised 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."

"For 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 a long time ago."

"When I was 8, I was confused about being called 'bossy' because I wanted to direct the plays that we would put on for our parents. But the boys were not. When at 14, I started to be sexualised by certain elements of the media, when at 15, my girlfriends started dropping out of their beloved sports teams, because they didn't want to appear 'muscle-y,' when at 18, my male friends were unable to express their feelings, I decided that I was a feminist. And this seems uncomplicated to me. But my recent research has shown me that feminism has become an unpopular word."

"Women are choosing not to identify as feminists. Apparently, I am among the ranks of women whose expressions are seen as too strong, 'too aggressive,' isolating and anti-men, unattractive, even. Why has the word become such an uncomfortable one?"

"I am from Britain and I think it is right that 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 [applause break] ... I think it is right that women be involved on my behalf in the policies and the decisions that affect my life. 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 that they have achieved gender equality. These 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 that I would go less far because I might give birth to a child one day. These influencers are 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. We need more of those and if you still hate the word, it is not the word that is important. It's the idea and the ambition behind it. Because not all women have received the same rights that I have. In fact, statistically, very few have been."

"In 1997, Hillary Clinton made a famous speech in Beijing about women's rights. Sadly, many of the things that she wanted to change are still true today. But what stood out for me the most was that less than 30 per cent of the 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." [Applause break] "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 less of a man. In fact, in the U.K., suicide is the biggest killer of men, between 20 to 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 want to talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes but I can see that they are. When they are free, things will change for women as a natural consequence. If men don't have to be aggressive, women won't be compelled to be submissive. If men don't need to control, women won't have to be controlled."

"It is time that we all see gender as a spectrum instead of two sets of opposing ideals. We should stop defining each other by what we are not and start defining ourselves by who 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 their sons have permission to be vulnerable and human, too and in doing so, be a more true and complete version of themselves."

"You might think, 'Who is this Harry Potter girl? What is she doing at the U. N.?' And it's a really good question - I've been asking myself the same thing. 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 my responsibility to say something. Statesman Edmund Burke said all that is needed for the forces of evil to triumph is for good men and women to do nothing."

"In my nervousness for this speech and 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 that those words will be helpful because the reality is, if we do nothing, it will take 75 years or for me, to be nearly 100, 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 can have a secondary education."

"If you believe in equality, you might be one of those inadvertent feminists that I spoke of earlier and for this, I applaud you. We are struggling for a uniting word but the good news is that we have a uniting movement. It is called HeForShe. I am inviting you to step forward to be seen and to ask yourself, 'If not me, who? If not now, when?' Thank you very, very much."

For more on celebrities and feminism, visit AOL's MAKERS, the web's largest video collection of women's stories.

More from AOL.com:
Group: Tibetan student dies after self-immolation
Spanish priest with Ebola flown back to Madrid
Blair says airstrikes not enough to beat militants

Read Full Story

People are Reading