Actress Emma Watson today gave one of her best performances to date with a stirring speech at the UN that called on men to play their part in ending gender inequality. As a UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, the Harry Potter star took to the stage in New York and cordially extended an invitation to all men to help tackle the problem of day-to-day imbalance the sexes face.

Emma Watson
Emma Watson took to the stage at the UN to discuss her views on feminism

"Gender equality is your issue too," she said.

Emma Watson took on her UN role six months ago and made this latest speech as she launched a new United Nations campaign called HeForShe. The initiative aims to enlist the support of as many men as possible to help redress the balance between men and women.

In addition to offering men the opportunity to stand with women in the fight for equal rights, Watson also tried to dispel myths that often surround, and damage, the concept of feminism.

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"My recent research has shown me that feminism has become an unpopular word," she told the crowd that included UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon.

"Women are choosing not to identify as feminists. Apparently, I am among the ranks of women whose expressions are seen as too strong, too aggressive, isolating and anti-men," she said. "Feminism, by definition, is the belief that men and women should have equal rights and opportunity."

Emma Watson
The Harry Potter star was thrust into the spolight at a young age and says she has suffered sexism since she was very young

The French-born actress, who brought J.K Rowling’s head-strong and intelligent Harmione Granger to life, then went on to describe instances in her life when she has faced sexism, both in and out of the spotlight.

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It started when she was eight and she was deemed "bossy" because she wanted to direct school plays, a term that was never applied to her male counterparts that wanted to do the same thing.

"When, at 14, I started being sexualised by certain elements of the press," she said.

The 24-year-old went on to say that feminism will never be achieved as long as "only half [of the world’s population] feel welcome to participate in the conversation," before noting that men, also, struggle with gender presumptions.

"I’ve seen men fragile and insecure by a distorted sense of what constitutes male success," she said. "Men don’t have the benefits of equality either."