Malala Credits Emma Watson for Helping Her Embrace the Word Feminism

November 5th 2015

Diana Crandall

In an interview with actor Emma Watson, Malala Yousafzai, Nobel Peace Prize winner and human rights champion from Pakistan, told Watson that she changed Malala’s mind about identifying as a feminist. Watson posted about the interview on her Facebook page.

Today I met Malala. She was giving, utterly graceful, compelling and intelligent. That might sound obvious but I was...

Posted by Emma Watson on Wednesday, November 4, 2015

“It has been a tricky word," Malala told Watson. "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."

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Malala began speaking out about education for girls when she was 12 years old. According to the Guardian, Malala was 15 and on the way to school in Pakistan when she was ambushed and shot in the head for speaking out against the Taliban's ban on female education. Today, she continues to be a symbol of inspiration, peace, education, and equality around the world.

“So I am a feminist and you are truly feminist, because feminism is another word for equality,” Malala told Watson.

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Watson spoke to world leaders last year after being appointed a United Nations global goodwill ambassador for women. She gave the speech to launch her campaign “He for She,” which is aimed at encouraging men to speak up for women’s rights:

“I started questioning gender-based assumptions a long time ago,” Watson told the U.N. “When at 14, I started to be sexualized by certain elements of the media…when at 18, my male friends were unable to express their feelings, I decided I was a feminist. And this was uncomplicated to me." Watch Watson's full speech below.

Watson ended her Facebook post with a welcome to all people to identify as feminists: "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.”