Emma Watson Revealed the Biggest Gender Problem in 'Harry Potter'

April 28th 2016

Over the past few years, British actress Emma Watson has developed a reputation as a tireless feminist icon.

In fall 2014, she started gender equality organization, HeForShe and famously delivered a speech on women's rights at the U.N. General Assembly. She recently announced that she is taking a year off acting to focus on feminist activism. This dedication to feminism came through in a recent Interview magazine chat she had with fellow actress Geena Davis, who started the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media in 2004 to fight gender inequality and gender unbalance.

Speaking to Davis, Watson revealed that the male to female ratio has skewed male throughout her life, even when she played the brilliant Hermione Granger in the "Harry Potter" film series. Hermione, the most visible female protagonist, goes on adventures with her two best friends Ron Weasley and Harry Potter (both male) — and many of the other significant characters in the story are male.

"[I]t's funny when I look at my life; my primary school was two-thirds male to one-third female," Watson said. "So I started my life that way. I have four brothers. And when I did 'Harry Potter,' the ratio was more often than not, at the very least, one-third female, two-thirds male."

Watson told Davis that she studied Davis' research and found that the entertainment industry at large seems to give preference to men over women. This made Watson realize that gender inequality is much more pervasive than she initially realized.

"But when I looked at your research and see things like 21 percent of filmmakers are women, only 31 percent of speaking roles in popular films are female — you start seeing it everywhere," Watson continued. "It's so much bigger."

Read the full Interview magazine discussion here.

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