Malala Yousafzai calls herself a feminist after hearing Emma Watson’s UN speech
It has been over a year since Emma Watson spoke to the United Nations about the HeForShe movement but we are still witnessing the waves of her inspirational speech today. Most recently they could be observed when Watson met with Malala Yousafzai at the Into Film Festival to discuss He Named Me Malala, the new documentary film about the young Pakistani female activist.
Yousafzai has been making her own waves since 2009. The then 11-year-old Malala wrote blogs about life under Taliban occupation and spoke out about education for girls. She rose to international fame after she survived an assassination attempt in 2012. A year after the attack, she would speak to the UN herself on the importance of schooling and calling for worldwide access to education.
Yousafzai has been featured in Time magazine on several occasions as part of their 100 Most Influential People in the World ranking and even went on to become the youngest-ever Nobel Prize laureate. Yet, amongst all these accomplishments and overcoming adversity at such a young age, she admitted to Watson that she hadn’t dared name herself a feminist until Watson’s speech.
You wouldn’t think that someone as outspoken about her beliefs and the rights of girls to education would have any difficulty proclaiming herself as a feminist. “It has been a tricky word,” she said. “When I heard it the first time I heard some negative responses and some positive ones. I hesitated in saying am I feminist or not?”
Watson addressed the issue in a tweet after the interview, acknowledging that “feminist isn’t the easiest word use,” a sentiment that was present in her speech at the UN. It’s exciting to see that people are changing their perspectives – be they Nobel Prize laureates or men and women on the street. “Let’s not make it scary to say you’re a feminist,” Watson posted, stating that they are all working towards the same goal and should join hands to make real changes. “Malala and I are pretty serious about it but we need you.”