By Lena Shareef, #GIRLWITHABOOK co-founder
This post is part of #GIRLWITHABOOK’s Expedition Granted Series. Please vote for our expedition proposal every day through 9/29 and spread the word! When you vote you’re standing up for girls and education world-wide.
I have a huge friend crush on Emma Watson. Meaning I wish we were friends in real life, the kind who hang out all the time and get brunch together. I felt even stronger about this after watching the speech she gave at the United Nations earlier this week on the dire need for gender equality.
If you missed her speech, be sure to watch it here:
The topics she brought up are very close to my heart. Especially when she spoke about the negative reactions she sees every time the word, “feminist” is uttered anywhere. The launch of the He for She campaign couldn’t have come at a better time. I, like Emma, am also constantly having to explain that feminism does not = man hating. In fact, feminism works to promote the rights of men AND women. But if we’re going to win this fight against sexual violence, sexual harrassment, discrimination, inequality, then we need everyone to participate.
As the He for She website states, “Gender equality is not only a women’s issue, it is a human rights issue.”
When we first started #GIRLWITHABOOK, Olivia and I noticed right away that we weren’t receiving as many photos from boys or men. Sure, there were great pictures from dads with their daughters or mothers with their young boys, but we only got a handful of photos from young men standing on their own with a book in their hands. Even if I specifically asked, the response I kept getting from my male friends and family was, “Oh but you’re doing this for girls. There’s no point in me posting a picture.” But there is! It makes just as big of an impact if not more for people to see a young man making a stand for women’s rights and girls’ education.
That’s why I’m loving everything about the He for She campaign. Now, finally, there’s an active effort being made to include boys and men in our fight for gender equality. Men, this is your call to action. Stand with us.