She told the UN General Assembly that women’s safety is “a right, not a privilege.”
Emma Watson is one of our favorite feminists who consistently advocates for gender equality through her speeches and actions. Yesterday, the actress and UN ambassador addressed sexual assault on college campuses when presenting HeForShe’s report on gender equality within universities.
In her talk about making gender parity a priority, Emma demanded that universities show women how valued they are in the campus community. They have a right to learn and lead within universities and that begins with feeling safe and feeling they have a voice. Emma asked colleges to do more when it comes to women’s safety because it “is a right, not a privilege.”
Most importantly, Emma said in order to feel safe we need to end gender-based violence.
A university should be a place of refuge that takes action against all forms of violence. That’s why we believe that students should leave university believing in, striving for and expecting societies of true equality in every sense and that universities have the power to be a vital catalyst for change.
The university experience must make it clear that the safety of women, minorities and anyone who may be vulnerable is a right and not a privilege. A right that will be respected by a community that supports and respects survivors, and recognizes that when one person’s safety is violated, the safety of everyone should feel violated.
Emma’s words are more relevant than ever because 20–25% of women have reported sexual assault or attempted rape during their college careers, according to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. In addition, an overwhelming 75% of transgender and non-binary students have reported sexual harassment. With famous cases like Brock Turner’s all over the media, we see with our own eyes that a lot of attackers receive light treatment, sending the message that victim’s assaults aren’t taken seriously.
You can watch parts of Emma’s powerful speech below.