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12 March 2015

Do it for you: what we learned about feminism from Emma Watson

As a founding 10x10x10 Corporate Sponsor of HeForShe, PwC sent a small team to Emma Watson’s interview at the Facebook premises on Sunday (International Women’s Day – 8 March).  

Our PwC UK colleagues, Chris Lee and Dwayne Branch guest blog this week on their experiences and observations at the event:

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"[Feminism is] equality: politically; culturally; socially; economically. That’s it, that simple … Men think it’s a women’s word. But what it means is that you believe in equality, and if you stand for equality, then you’re a feminist…Sorry to tell you. You’re a feminist.”

-          Emma Watson – Actress and UN Women Goodwill Ambassador

We are all feminists

It’s a Sunday evening and we are at Facebook’s offices in Central London listening to a passionate woman answer questions from around the world and talk about her role as the UN Women Goodwill Ambassador. Emma Watson, famous for her role as Hermione in the Harry Potter franchise, has turned her magic to representing HeForShe.  HeforShe is a movement that brings together men and boys in support of the equality of women and girls.

We were lucky enough to attend this fascinating event with over 100 of Emma’s biggest fans who won a place to see her in person.  To be honest, HeforShe was new to us and it may be new to you.  We also didn’t realise we were feminists, but as she talked, it became clear that we are all feminists. And that was ok!

It’s ok to be a feminist

Emma summarised that for some time, society had branded the idea of being a feminist as a negative thing. Feminists were seen as man haters.  However, she explained that feminism is about being who you are and supporting others to be themselves.  It's about challenging what it means to be a woman, and what it means to be a man. It’s ok for men to have emotions and express them freely. It is ok for a woman to be strong and still feminine. You can be who you want to be – we all just need to treat both genders equally.

We heard that most people think that gender equality is fast improving, and that overall society is changing for the better.  There is still work to do. Emma revealed that in just 12 hours after giving an iconic speech at the United Nations on feminism, a hoax website had been set up that threatened to leak naked pictures of her. She also shared some more shocking facts:

  • Globally, about one in three women will be beaten or raped during their lifetime
  • 85,000 women are raped every year in the UK alone
  • In the UK, the gender pay gap stands at 16 per cent
  • In the UK 77% of parliament is male

Gender inequality impacts men too. Men are still afraid to embrace their emotions or be seen as less macho. What is clear is that the fight for gender equality will only be won if we act now and we act together - both men and women.

Both men and women need to play their part

Men should not be scared or feel awkward about speaking up in support of their female counterparts. But equally, women need to accept that it’s ok to be allies with men.

Men aren’t coming to the rescue; men and women are working together equally for equality.

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Dwayne Branch and Chris Lee at Sunday’s Interview

Changes don’t have to be big

We as men are sometimes confused about how we can really make a difference. The smallest gestures can make the biggest impact. Whether it's thinking about how we view colleagues who work part-time or just letting her pay the bill. It is ok to have a dialogue about gender roles and challenge how we see things. 

PwC is supporting HeforShe:

PwC, along with other large organisations such as Unilever, Tupperware, Barclays, and Accor, are founding impact partners of HeForShe. Dennis Nally, our global Chairman, has committed the PwC network to be at the forefront of gender equality in business.  Visit www.pwc.com/heforshe to find out about the commitments PwC has made to support gender equality.

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PwC and the other IMPACT 10x10x10 Champions with Emma Watson at Sunday’s Event

 Want to see more of what Emma had to say? You can watch the full interview here:

 

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