Emma Watson

March is Women’s History Month! The Cardinal will honor, observe and celebrate the vital role of women in American history.


Nancy Pulido, Staff Writer

Emma Watson was born on April 15, 1990, and has done far more than fending off evil wizards in Harry Potter. The British actress, model, and activist is a UN Women Goodwill ambassador and has an influential footprint within the sustainable fashion industry. She has gained recognition for her roles in both blockbusters and independent films, as well as her women’s rights work. In the same year, she was appointed a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador and helped launch the UN Women campaign HeForShe, which advocates for gender equality. Watson was appointed to a G7 advisory body for women’s rights in 2019, consulting with leaders on foreign policy.

Her modeling work has included campaigns for Burberry and Lancôme. She also lent her name to a line of clothing for sustainable brand People Tree. In 2020, she joined the board of directors of Kering, a luxury brand group, in her capacity as an advocate for sustainable fashion. Watson is an outspoken feminist. She has promoted education for girls, traveling to Bangladesh and Zambia to do so. In December, the Ms. Foundation for Women named Watson its Feminist Celebrity of 2014, following an online poll. Watson also gave a speech about gender equality in January 2015, at the World Economic Forum’s annual winter meeting.

Watson took the top spot on the AskMen “Top 99 Outstanding Women 2015” list on the strength of having “thrown her back” into women’s rights issues. In the same year, Watson was included on the Time 100 list of the world’s most influential people, her first-ever appearance on the list. For its recap, former New York Times editor Jill Abramson noted Watson’s “gutsy, smart take on feminism” and called her effort to get men involved “refreshing”. Watson has cited Gloria Steinem and Maya Angelou as influences. In January 2016, Watson started a feminist Goodreads book club: Our Shared Shelf. The goal of the club is to share feminist ideas and encourage discussion on the topic. One book is selected per month and is discussed in the last week of that month. The first book to be selected was My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem, whom Watson would later interview that February at the How to: Academy in London.  Our Shared Shelf ceased updates in January 2020 but continues to be open as a discussion board for recommendations. Watson has partnered with organizations such as Book Fairies and Books on the Underground to leave literature on public transit for consumption.

Watson has spoken out in support of the Black Lives Matter movement; in June 2020, she shared anti-racism educational resources on social media in support of the George Floyd protests after initially participating in Blackout Tuesday, and uploaded a podcast episode onto Spotify interviewing Reni Eddo-Lodge about her book Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race. In July 2020, she partnered with Lodge and the WOW Foundation to spearhead a project reimagining the London Underground Map, renaming the 270 stops to spotlight women and non-binary people who have shaped the city’s history. The initiative will consult writers, museums, and librarians and is set to be published by Haymarket Books on International Women’s Day 2021. Watson was among the 400 signatories in a letter calling for the UK government to include women in “decision-making roles” at the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Glasgow.