Emma Watson is no newcomer to the campaign for gender equality; she has been actively speaking on its behalf for the last couple of years as a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, even starting her own initiative, HeForShe, in 2014. There are various instances where gender inequality is evident in our society, but her latest speech specifically addressed campus assault and gender inequality in the university system. She thinks that universities should “ensure students leave with expectations of equality in society,” and we couldn’t agree with her more.
Attending college or any university is a major life experience, whether you’re there for two years or eight. It should be a place of discovery, a place to feel safe and nurtured, while pushing towards an end goal of knowledge, pride, and confidence. If all students are committing to education, all students should receive equal encouragement, equal support, and equal recognition. We know, however, that women tend to be underestimated, or in some instances, disregarded all together, “…but what if our experience at university shows us that women don’t belong in leadership? What if it shows us that yes, women can study, but they shouldn’t lead a seminar? What if, as still in many places around the world, it tells us that women don’t belong there at all?”
The idea of women following men through any course or field of study is ridiculous, and should absolutely be addressed and challenged by being discussed regularly and openly in a university setting. “The university experience must tell women that their brain power is valued, and not just that, but that they belong within the leadership of the university itself.”
By supporting initiatives such as HeForShe, or any of the countless organizations that work every day for gender equality and human rights, we can all help to raise awareness and erase the ideas that it is okay for women to be underrepresented in the university system.
“If you change students' experiences so they have different expectations of the world around them, expectations of equality, society will change.”
Check back soon for more inspiring and empowering women.