SEATTLE — Since landing the role of Hermione Granger in the Harry Potter film series, Emma Watson has blossomed into one of the world’s favorite actresses. Known for her brains and beauty, Watson has a degree from Brown University and an impressive list of films under her belt, but this star also has an enormous heart. Here are 10 reasons why Emma Watson is a role model and exceptional activist.
She is a Global Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations
Watson was named a U.N. Goodwill Ambassador in the summer of 2014. Her work has been focused on female empowerment and promoting education equality globally. One of the main jobs of a Goodwill Ambassador for U.N. Women is to bring awareness to important issues that impact women around the globe. Watson works alongside other famous actresses, including Nicole Kidman and Anne Hathaway.
She beatboxes for women’s rights
In 2016, Watson and Lin-Manuel Miranda put together a rap in honor of International Women’s Day. Lin-Manuel Miranda rapped and Watson did her best to beatbox in the background. Although she was bright red by the end, she was happy to bring publicity to global gender equality.
She supports J.K. Rowling’s charity Lumos
Lumos, founded by J.K. Rowling, the author of the famous Harry Potter series, is a nonprofit organization that works to relocate orphans around the world from orphanages to families. Lumos aims to eradicate the use of orphanages by 2050. Emma Watson actively supports Lumos, posting about the organization on social media and appearing with Rowling at fundraisers.
She designs fair trade fashion
The fashion industry is a huge polluter, disposing of chemicals that hurt the environment. To help combat this, Watson helped People Tree, a fair trade fashion brand, design a line of eco-friendly clothing.
She works to end child marriage
In 2016, Watson traveled to Malawi, a country in Africa, to meet with the chiefs and young girls who had been married as children. Thirty-three percent of girls in third world countries will be married before they turn 18, and child marriage contributes to the cycle of poverty and makes it difficult for these girls to receive an education. As an ambassador for U.N. Women, part of Watson’s role is advocating for countries to outlaw child marriage.
She asks her fans to donate to charity instead of sending her gifts
Like many other celebrities, including fellow activist actress Zendaya, Emma Watson often asks her fans to donate to organizations like UNICEF instead of sending her birthday or holiday gifts. She also regularly donates items to be auctioned off for charities like Wild Trout Trust and Mission Nutrition.
She is the face of He For She
One of Watson’s biggest accomplishments is spearheading U.N. Women’s He For She campaign. Launched in 2014, He For She urges everyone to pursue a feminism that firmly rejects man-hating. She has given many incredible speeches in front of the United Nations that identify gender equality as an issue both men and women should care about and encourage wealthy men to be advocates for women everywhere.
She encourages literacy and a love of learning
Watson started a book club focused on female empowerment in 2016. The club is called Our Shared Shelf and is open to anyone on Goodreads. She also has been known to leave books in public places to encourage people to read. In November 2016, she left Maya Angelou’s Mom & Me & Mom in the London Underground.
She fights against sexual harassment
Earlier this year, hundreds of celebrities signed a letter calling on women to rise up and fight against sexual harassment. Watson signed this letter, along with Emma Thompson, Keira Knightley and many other stars. In February, Emma Watson donated $1.4 million to the Justice and Equality Fund, which works against workplace harassment and discrimination.
She inspires others
Emma Watson is a role model for Malala Yousafzai, a survivor of Taliban violence and the youngest person to ever win the Nobel Peace Prize. After watching Watson’s moving speech to the United Nations, Yousafzai decided to begin identifying as a feminist.
For all of these reasons and more, Emma Watson is a role model not just for young girls, but for everyone. Her care for other people and passion for justice truly make the world a better place.
– Julia McCartney