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Malala Yousafzai: Emma Watson helped me embrace feminism

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Emma Watson’s speech about gender equality at the United Nations in September 2014 impacted the lives of many women around the world, including Malala Yousafzai.

The youngest ever Nobel Prize laureate told Watson in a new interview that it was the actress’ comments about feminism which helped her embrace the term. “This word, feminism, it has been a very tricky word,” Yousafzai said. “When I heard it the first time, I heard some negative responses and some positive ones. I hesitated in saying am I feminist or not. After hearing your speech, when you said, ‘If not now, when? If not me, who?’ I decided there’s no way, and there’s nothing wrong with calling yourself a feminist. I am a feminist and you’re truly feminist, because feminism is another word for equality.”

Watson was visibly moved by Yousafzai’s remarks, and agreed that feminism itself had become a “this really difficult word.”

“But I think it’s wonderful when people embrace it,” she said. “It’s synonymous with equality.”

“People have forgotten its definition,” Yousafzai added.

“For the record, feminism by definition is: ‘The belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunities. It is the theory of the political, economic and social equality of the sexes,” Watson said during her U.N. speech last year. She later added, “And if you still hate the word — it is not the word that is important but the idea and the ambition behind it. Because not all women have been afforded the same rights that I have. In fact, statistically, very few have been.”

Re-read Watson’s stirring speech on gender equality here, and watch her interview with Yousafzai in the video below.