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Viral Video: Emma Watson Inspires Malala To Call Herself A Feminist

In a video interview, actress and U.N. Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson gets education activist and Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai to do something she's never done before: call herself a feminist.

The moment came in a live Q&A posted on Watson's Facebook page. The video, which was promoting Yousafzai's film "He Named Me Malala," has gone viral with 4 million views in just two days. In the interview, Yousafzai tells Watson that her September 2014 #HeForShe speech, which called on men to support gender equality, inspired her to embrace the term.

"This word, feminism, it has been a very tricky word. When I heard it the first time, I heard some negative responses and some positive ones," Yousafzai says in the video.

"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 no way and there's nothing wrong by calling yourself a feminist, so I am a feminist. And feminism is another word for equality."

In her Facebook post, Watson describes that exchange as the most moving of the day.

"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," she wrote. "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."

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Malaka Gharib is the deputy editor and digital strategist on NPR's global health and development team. She covers topics such as the refugee crisis, gender equality and women's health. Her work as part of NPR's reporting teams has been recognized with two Gracie Awards: in 2019 for How To Raise A Human, a series on global parenting, and in 2015 for #15Girls, a series that profiled teen girls around the world.
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