by Angela Marionne
When I watched Emma Watson’s campaign for gender equality the other day, I was moved by the way she brought into light how gender equality has become such an issue in today’s society. Speaking before the UN General Assembly last September 24, 2014 Watson openly said, “Until feminism recognizes discrimination against men, the movement for gender equality will be incomplete”, she reached out to male allies to support gender equality.
Despite having received quite a lot of criticism from members of the male gender, the HeForShe campaign had a lot of male supporters as well. One Direction member Harry Styles and her co-stars Douglas Booth and Logan Lerman showed their support by using the HeForShe hashtag.
But men nowadays face just as much discrimination as women. Watson wanted to make a point by saying that this [gender equality] is their problem as well. “How can we affect change in the world when only half of it is invited or feel welcome to participate in the conversation?” Watson stressed. Watson also wanted to highlight that so far there are currently zero countries that have equal rights for both genders.
Comprising 1/3 of the famous trio of the Harry Potter world-known series, Watson is becoming a new voice in the international campaign for gender equality. But what about the local communities of the girls and women here in the Philippines? Are we any better?
Last April 2013, the World Bank identified the Philippines as one of the leaders in gender equality globally which specifically includes women in government positions, legislation and management. Statistically, The World Bank says that 55% of the Filipina population are lawmakers and senior officials. This definitely shows that although the Philippines does not possess full equal rights for both men and women, we have wider opportunities for both genders. But this does not mean we should stop fighting for gender equality.
These days, it’s not uncommon to discriminate both genders from what a person wears, what a person says, or how a person thinks. Since when did it become immoral for a girl to wear shorts in public and be considered attention-thirsty? And why is it when a boy finds his comfort in something men don’t usually do, like dancing or performing, it’s considered abnormal?
We should start treating people equally, because the more the other gender discriminates or acts superior to the other, the farther away we get from equality. We should change our perceptions on the way we look at people. If men know how it feels like to be judged by their actions, it’s only fair for them to lend a hand to the women who want to enjoy the same rights and privileges as them.
We may not all be Emma Watson, but in our own way we can speak and stand for gender equality by our kindness and thoughtfulness, and recognition of the humanity of the other person.