The One Step Emma Watson Wants You To Take Against Sexism In Hollywood

by Leeor Bronis
Getty Images

There's no better way to celebrate International Women's Day than spending it with Emma Watson, the one Millennial woman who has ruled feminism in recent years.

This morning, an intimate crowd that included Oscar winner Forest Whitaker and Chirlane McCray, first lady of New York City, gathered with the "Harry Potter" actress to bring attention to He For She's newest initiative highlighting gender equality through the arts.

During He For She Arts Week, operas, ballets, broadway shows and theaters throughout the city will promote female-positive dialogue and work with UN Women to bring attention to feminist art.

Emma Watson and Forest Whitaker

It's no secret two of the biggest problems in Hollywood are the gender pay gap and lack of serious leading roles for female actresses. Watson spoke candidly about her experiences with bias, saying the biggest gender gap comes from entertainment media and tabloids.

Calling herself a “child actress in transition,” Watson remembered walking out of her 18th birthday party to swarms of paparazzi spread out on the pavement, snapping pictures up her skirt. The next morning, those photos landed on the covers of major British papers. Had those media outlets published the images 24 hours before, they would have been illegal.

“Obviously Dan (Radcliffe) and Rupert (Grint) don't wear skirts,” Watson says. “That was just one example of how my transition into womanhood was dealt with very differently than it was for my male costars.”

Watson said Millennials can combat gender inequality and sexism in the media by being active bystanders, calling out issues harmful to gender equality as they happen.

“I know it kind of feels easier to look the other way…[that] it would be easier to let this happen quietly,” she explains. "But, actually empowering people to know and to think that it's their role when they see something that isn't right to say something about it. That's how we define the role of being an active bystander.”

Watson has devoted herself to the full-time role of UN Women Global Goodwill Ambassador and says she is focused on ensuring the UN's full gender quality by 2030 initiative comes to fruition.

With a badass girl boss like Watson on our side, the future of women in the world is looking up.