Celeste Sloman—UN Women
April 15, 2015

Emma Watson’s alter ego Hermione Granger would doubtless approve of her HeForShe campaign and its gutsy, smart take on feminism.

It’s especially refreshing to see men invited to join the fight for gender equality, as Watson pointedly did in launching the U.N. effort last fall, telling the men that it’s “your issue too.”

It’s also refreshing to see her vigorous embrace of feminism, which Watson defines as “the theory of political, economic and social equality of the sexes.” And apparently she lives by it. Although she is one of the world’s highest-paid actresses, she has spoken out about the paucity of female directors in Hollywood.

Watson was only 9 when she auditioned for the part of Hermione, and she appeared in every Harry Potter film to the end. She followed Hogwarts with a degree in English literature from Brown University.

Her HeForShe speech at Davos was an Internet sensation, but unsurprisingly, it drew the typical antifeminist rants and even some threats. Watson chose to highlight the moving letters she has received from fathers who tell her they are investing new hope in the future for their daughters. But she was also frank about the bullying tactics of her detractors and one site that made an empty threat to release nude photos. Her confident and cool reaction: “If they were trying to put me off, they did the opposite.”

Abramson, the former executive editor of the New York Times, is writing a book about the news business

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