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Emma Watson And Malala Yousafzai Are Changing The Face Of Feminism Together

Emmy Griffiths
by Emmy Griffiths Published on 5 November 2015

By speaking about feminism during her He for She campaign at the UN, Emma turned a controversial word into a solidly positive message, and converted many to the cause for equality, including Nobel Peace Prize recipient and education activist Malala Yousafzai, who has spoken out her newly pride in feminism, all thanks to Emma...

Due to the release of He Named Me Malala at the Into Film Festival, Emma Watson and Malala sat down in conversation to discuss the documentary, and eventually fell into the subject of feminism. Malala told Emma her frank thoughts on feminism, and how they were changed due to her speech at the UN.

She said: "It has been a tricky word. 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? Then after hearing your speech I decided there's no way and there's nothing wrong by calling yourself a feminist. So I'm a feminist and we all should be a feminist because feminism is another word for equality."

Malala is one of the most influential women in the world. After being shot in the head at age 15 after attending school despite the Taliban ban on female education, she recovered to be a hugely influential activist for female education, and opened an all-girls school for Syrian refugees earlier this year.

Into Film Festival opening Q&A

Today I met Malala. She was giving, utterly graceful, compelling and intelligent. That might sound obvious but I was struck by this even more in person. There are lots of NGOs out there in the world doing great things... But if there were one I would put my money on to succeed and make change on this planet, it would be hers. (The Malala Fund). Malala isn't messing around or mincing her words (one of the many reasons I love her). She has the strength of her convictions coupled with the kind of determination I rarely encounter... And it doesn't seem to have been diminished by the success she has already had. And lastly…She has a sense of peace around her. I leave this for last because it is perhaps the most important. Maybe as a result of what she has been through? I personally think it is just who she is…Perhaps the most moving moment of today for me was when Malala addressed the issue of feminism. To give you some background, I had initially planned to ask Malala whether or not she was a feminist but then researched to see whether she had used this word to describe herself. Having seen that she hadn't, I decided to take the question out before the day of our interview. To my utter shock Malala put the question back into one of her own answers and identified herself. Maybe feminist isn't the easiest word to use... But she did it ANYWAY. You can probably see in the interview how I felt about this. She also gave me time at the end of the Q&A to speak about some of my own work, which she most certainly didn't need to do, I was there to interview her. I think this gesture is so emblematic of what Malala and I went on to discuss. I've spoken before on what a controversial word feminism is currently. More recently, I am learning what a factionalized movement it is too. We are all moving towards the same goal. Let's not make it scary to say you're a feminist. I want to make it a welcoming and inclusive movement. Let's join our hands and move together so we can make real change. Malala and I are pretty serious about it but we need you. With love, Emma x#HeNamedMeMalala #notjustamovieamovement Malala Fund Into Film

Posted by Emma Watson on Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Emma spoke about how touched she was at Malala's stance on feminism, writing on Facebook: "Perhaps the most moving moment of today for me was when Malala addressed the issue of feminism. To give you some background, I had initially planned to ask Malala whether or not she was a feminist but then researched to see whether she had used this word to describe herself. Having seen that she hadn't, I decided to take the question out before the day of our interview.

"​To my utter shock Malala put the question back into one of her own answers and identified herself. Maybe feminist isn't the easiest word to use... But she did it ANYWAY. You can probably see in the interview how I felt about this."

Would you consider yourself a feminist? Tweet us @sofeminineUK!

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