Hermione Granger was one smart, outspoken and truly inspiring heroine. However, the talented woman who portrayed her, Emma Watson, continues to inspire us everyday and has cemented herself as a deeply thoughtful, compassionate and smart role model for young women and men everywhere.
Since her wizarding days, Watson has become an activist for gender equality and feminism. In 2014 she founded the UN organization HeForShe and spoke about gender equality at the U.N. General Assembly. In a recent interview with fellow actress and feminist advocate Geena Davis, Watson spoke about her first encounter with gender inequality, and unsurprisingly some of those confrontations took place on the set of Harry Potter.
“[I]t’s funny when I look at my life; my primary school was two-thirds male to one-third female. So I started my life that way. I have four brothers. And when I did Harry Potter, the ratio was more often than not, at the very least, one-third female, two-thirds male”.
She then immersed herself in research from the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media, and discovered how massive the gender divide in film and entertainment actually is. “But when I looked at your research and see things like 21 percent of filmmakers are women, only 31 percent of speaking roles in popular films are female—you start seeing it everywhere,” She said. “It’s so much bigger”.
Watson launched a feminist book club on GoodReads back in January, in order to share her thoughts with readers from all around the world and allow other people to share their knowledge and ideas. She also recently announced that she would be taking a year long hiatus from acting in order to focus on the HeForShe campaign, and improve her knowledge on feminism.