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malala yousafzai
Malala Yousafzai

Malala Yousafzai thanks Emma Watson for making her feminist

The teen Nobel laureate tells the film star she didn’t connect with the ‘tricky word’ until her UN speech

Whether it’s Tavi talking Rookie with Amandla Stenberg or porn star Stoya chatting about sex worker rights with Playing the Whore author Melissa Gira Grant, there’s nothing more compelling that the discussion that happens when two game-changing women go head to head and make shit happen. When teen human rights and education trailblazer Malala Yousafzai sat down with Emma Watson at the premiere of the documentary about her, it was no different. 

The 18-year-old told the film star that it was her speech to world leaders that changed her mind about not describing herself as a feminist. The Nobel peace prize winner said she initially had thought feminism was a “tricky word” but now believes everyone should be a feminist. Watson, the UN global goodwill ambassador for women, gave her “He for She” campaign speech at the UN last year, aimed at encouraging men to join up in the fight for women’s rights.

It’s reasonable that Malala had issue with the term “feminism” as there’s been so much stigma until very recently around identifying as such, with false ideas about man-hating attached to it. “It has been a tricky word,” she 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?

“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.”

Watson posted a video of the interview on her Facebook page and said she found Malala’s admission moving.