Message to men: Standing up for women is your issue too

Close-up of Jared Leto with text '#HeForShe' (Courtesy photo)
The actor and musician Jared Leto joined other male celebrities who have supported the U.N. campaign for gender equality. (Courtesy photo)

When “Harry Potter” star Emma Watson spoke at the United Nations to promote the #HeForShe campaign, her message to men and boys was simple. Men gain when women have equal opportunity.

Enabling women to enjoy equal rights can help alleviate poverty, illiteracy, and abuse and benefit entire societies. For example, a 10-percent increase in girls’ school attendance means a country’s economy grows an extra 3 percent.

Finding Freedom in Working Together

Watson’s speech drew great attention. “Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive,” she said. “Both men and women should feel free to be strong.…It is time that we all perceive gender on a spectrum not as two opposing sets of ideals. If we stop defining each other by what we are not and start defining ourselves by what we are, we can all be freer.”

One month later, male celebrities like actors Russell Crowe, Kiefer Sutherland, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt and actor/musician Jared Leto had signed on to the U.N.-sponsored #HeForShe campaign.

By influencing the boys who look up to them, men are crucial participants in promoting gender equality, now and in the future.

Here, several men discuss the reasons why they support the campaign for equality:

Isn’t it time for you to become part of this global conversation? Show your support for #HeForShe.