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Malala Yousafzai tells Emma Watson: “You made me believe in feminism”

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Malala Yousafzai has been campaigning for women's rights since she was a child, but it wasn't until she heard Emma Watson's powerful UN speech that she decided she would label herself a feminist.

The young Pakistani activist left the 25-year-old Harry Potter star flabbergasted when she revealed it was Emma's passionate defence of the word that converted her. 

Emma, a Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women, was interviewing the 18-year-old at the premiere of her upcoming documentary film He Named Me Malala.

“This word feminism has been a very tricky word,” Malala tells Emma. “And when I heard it the first time I hesitated in saying 'Am I a feminist or not?' and then after hearing your speech when you said, 'If not now, when? If not me, who?' I decided that there's nothing wrong with calling yourself a feminist ... because feminism is another word for equality.”

“Wow, I'm so moved to hear that, that's so amazing,” Emma replies.

Malala was 15-years-old when she was shot in the head by Taliban gunmen who objected to her going to school. She was flown to Birmingham for intensive rehabilitation and has remained in the city with her family.

The documentary charts her incredible journey from being a schoolgirl in the Swat Valley, campaigning for girls to have access to education, to becoming the youngest ever Nobel Prize laureate.

Emma posted the video of their chat on Facebook, explaining that she had originally intended not to bring up the F-word with Malala and was “utterly shocked” when Malala brought it up herself.  

She adds: “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.”

Watch the pair's chat:

Into Film Festival opening Q&A

Today I met Malala. She was giving, utterly graceful, compelling and intelligent. That might sound obvious but I was struck by this even more in person. There are lots of NGOs out there in the world doing great things... But if there were one I would put my money on to succeed and make change on this planet, it would be hers. (The Malala Fund). Malala isn't messing around or mincing her words (one of the many reasons I love her). She has the strength of her convictions coupled with the kind of determination I rarely encounter... And it doesn't seem to have been diminished by the success she has already had. And lastly…She has a sense of peace around her. I leave this for last because it is perhaps the most important. Maybe as a result of what she has been through? I personally think it is just who she is…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. With love, Emma x#HeNamedMeMalala #notjustamovieamovement Malala Fund Into Film

Posted by Emma Watson on Wednesday, 4 November 2015

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