Emma Watson Interviews Malala Yousafzai, Asks About Equality, Feminism, Activism [WATCH]

Emma Watson, founder of the #HeForShe movement and Global UN Ambassador, met Malala Yousafzai, the woman who was shot by the Taliban for attending school as a woman. These two extraordinary women sat down for an interview, and the words both spoke were the ultimate in inspiring.

Malala Yousafzai’s movie He Named Me Malala chronicling her amazing story is now being screened at the Into Film Festival, and the two women sat down for a Q&A, with Emma asking Malala questions and virtually gushing over the activist, as I’m sure we all would in her shoes.

The Q&A focused on the two women’s shared philosophy and goals: equality for women in the form of equal education, equal opportunities, and equal treatment. But the true spark occurred when the two women began discussing the controversial connotations of the word “feminist” and why they’re not afraid to take the label.

Emma Watson posted the above video to her Facebook page, and captioned the video with a heartfelt reflection on what the discussion meant to her. She wrote:

“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.”

The moment Emma was referring to was when Malala eagerly accepted the term feminist and said she definitely is one, as is her father, echoing the inherent philosophy of Watson’s #HeForShe movement. Malala said:

“It has been a tricky word. 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? Then after hearing your speech I decided there’s no way and there’s nothing wrong by calling yourself a feminist. So I’m a feminist and we all should be a feminist because feminism is another word for equality.”

Emma was visibly moved by Malala quoting Emma’s speech back to her (“If not now, when? If not me, who?”) and it was obvious that these two women will work hard to change the world, each in their own ways.

For Malala, that means education, first and foremost. Malala spoke about how the first word of the Qur’an is “Read,”, and how it doesn’t say that only men should read, but women as well. She asserts that the purpose of Islam is to learn. She said, “God has sent you to this earth…to read, to gain knowledge, and to discover more.”

Malala also asserted that her film is “not just a movie, it’s a movement.” A movement to educate others, to effect change. She is determined to see education equality occur in her lifetime, a noble goal, and one that I don’t doubt she’ll achieve.

The video above is 23 minutes long, but the message these two women are spreading is worth listening to. They’re both intelligent, powerful, inclusive, strong women who will probably change the world for the better.

About The Author
Lisa Lo Paro
Lisa is a freelance writer and bibliophile living on the outskirts of New York City. She likes 2 a.m. with a good book, takes cream in her coffee and heavily filters her photos. Check out her blog The Most Happy, her Instagram, and Twitter.