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Emma Watson at Davos: Gender Inequality is Holding the World Back

Actress Emma Watson unveiled a new element of her “HeForShe” gender equality campaign before business leaders and international politicians at the World Economic Forum in Switzerland Friday.

The Harry Potter star and goodwill ambassador for UN women spoke of a year-long plan, titled “IMPACT 10X10X10X,” which seeks to advance her fight against deficiencies in gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Watson would like governments, universities, and companies to join her new initiative.

“We need all-country leadership, as well as that of hundreds of universities and corporations, to follow HeForShe’s IMPACT 10X10X10X so as to bring an end to the persisting inequalities faced by women and girls globally,” she said.

Watson extended an invitation to men this past September, when she launched her UN campaign.

“Gender equality is your issue too,” she said at the time. “Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong.”

The actress told Davos Friday about the positive feedback and overwhelming support she’s received since the launch of HeForShe.

“I’ve been stunned by the amount of men in my life that have contacted me since my speech to tell me to keep going, and that they want to make sure that their daughters will still be alive to see a world where women have power and equality, economically and politically,” she said.

The equality proponent also spoke of a fan she encountered after addressing the UN: “I’ve had my breath taking away when a fan told me since watching my speech she has stopped yourself being beaten up by her father. We are tapping into what the world wants to be a part of change. Now we have to channel that energy into purposeful action,” she continued.

Watson went on to say she believes, now more than ever, that women should be treated as equals in government, places of work, society, and in their homes.

“They know that the world is being held back in every way, because they are not. Women share this planet 50/50 and they are under-represented, their potential astonishingly untapped,” she finished.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who was a participant on the panel with Watson, then emphasized her appeal to encourage men to advocate alongside women for gender equality.

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