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Malala Yousafzai: Feminism Is Another Word For Equality

Nobel Peace Prize laureate Malala Yousafzai was inspired to call herself a feminist after hearing Harry Potter actor Emma Watson's speech to world leaders at the United Nations last year.

Watson is a UN global goodwill ambassador for women. She launched the 2014 HeForShe campaign with a powerful speech about gender inequality.

The 25-year-old actor interviewed Yousafzai, 18, at the premiere of a documentary about her, He Named Me Malala.

"Today I met Malala. She was giving, utterly graceful, compelling and intelligent," Watson said on Facebook.

Watson said the most moving part of the interview was when Yousafzai admitted she used to think feminism was "a very tricky word" but she now embraces it.

"I hesitated in saying `am I a feminist or not' and then after hearing your speech when you said, `If not now, when? If not me, who?' I decided that there's nothing wrong by calling yourself a feminist.

"So I am a feminist and we all should be feminists because feminism is another word for equality," Yousafzai said in the video.

"Wow. I'm so moved to hear that," replied Watson.

Into Film Festival opening Q&A

Today I met Malala. She was giving, utterly graceful, compelling and intelligent. That might sound obvious but I was struck by this even more in person. There are lots of NGOs out there in the world doing great things... But if there were one I would put my money on to succeed and make change on this planet, it would be hers. (The Malala Fund). Malala isn't messing around or mincing her words (one of the many reasons I love her). She has the strength of her convictions coupled with the kind of determination I rarely encounter... And it doesn't seem to have been diminished by the success she has already had. And lastly…She has a sense of peace around her. I leave this for last because it is perhaps the most important. Maybe as a result of what she has been through? I personally think it is just who she is…Perhaps the most moving moment of today for me was when Malala addressed the issue of feminism. To give you some background, I had initially planned to ask Malala whether or not she was a feminist but then researched to see whether she had used this word to describe herself. Having seen that she hadn't, I decided to take the question out before the day of our interview. To my utter shock Malala put the question back into one of her own answers and identified herself. Maybe feminist isn't the easiest word to use... But she did it ANYWAY. You can probably see in the interview how I felt about this. She also gave me time at the end of the Q&A to speak about some of my own work, which she most certainly didn't need to do, I was there to interview her. I think this gesture is so emblematic of what Malala and I went on to discuss. I've spoken before on what a controversial word feminism is currently. More recently, I am learning what a factionalized movement it is too. We are all moving towards the same goal. Let's not make it scary to say you're a feminist. 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#HeNamedMeMalala #notjustamovieamovement Malala Fund Into Film

Posted by Emma Watson on Wednesday, 4 November 2015

Watson said the word feminism shouldn't be controversial.

"Let's not make it scary to say you're a feminist. I want to make it a welcoming and inclusive movement," she said on Facebook.

Yousafzai began speaking out on education for girls in 2009 when she was just 12.

At 15 she was shot in the head on her way home from school in the Swat Valley, Pakistan, after criticising the Taliban's ban on female education.

Since the assassination attempt she has been living in Birmingham, in the British midlands, with her family.


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