Emma Watson speaks at WEF

I have a couple of things I want to share with you today – some bracing news and a new challenge from actor Emma Watson; a Twitter campaign to roundly “boo” sexism in this week’s Super Bowl ads; and an inspiring quote from a young male entrepreneur who learned what the world looks like to women.

Last week “Harry Potter” actor and U.N. Women goodwill ambassador Emma Watson took the stage at the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland to announce the next phase of the U.N.’s HeForShe campaign.

The movement aims to mobilize 1 million men and boys to support an end to the persistent inequalities faced by women and girls around the world.  The new initiative, called IMPACT 10X10X10, asks governments, universities, and businesses to make concrete commitments to achieving gender equality within the coming twelve months.

Watson reported that since her introduction of HeForShe just four months ago, the program has been mentioned in 1.2 billion social media conversations. The #HeForShe hashtag has become so popular that Twitter painted it on the walls of its corporate headquarters in San Francisco

“I’ve been stunned by the amount of men in my life that have contacted me since my speech to tell me to keep going, and that they want to make sure that their daughters will still be alive to see a world where women have power and equality, economically and politically,” Watson told world leaders, business magnates, and politicians.

Her speech was brief and captivating. I highly recommend taking five minutes and watching it.

A few days later, Watson held an online question-and-answer session during which she took questions and Tweeted her advice on achieving gender equality. When a young woman Tweeted, “My dad says I can’t be a engineer ’cause it’s a ‘men profession. What do I do to change that?”  Watson replied, “Become an engineer.”

Twitter Campaign Says ‘Boo’ to Sexist Super Bowl Ads

Would it surprise you to learn that more women watch the Super Bowl than tune in to the Oscars, Grammys and Emmys COMBINED? In fact, 46% of the big game’s viewers are female. And they are sooooo tired of ads that sell burgers, cars, and other unrelated commodities by using women as sex objects.

“In 2013 we saw waitresses turned strippers, scantily clad women tackling each other in the dirt, and a supermodel sloppily kissing a computer programmer,” wrote Kat Gordon, marketing guru, founder of The 3% Conference, and host of a Tweetup to “out” sexist ads during the Super Bowl.

“Not only were these ads off-putting to women, but many men also Tweeted their wish for something other than lowest-common-denominator creative,” she wrote in Tuesday’s edition of AdWeek.  Besides, she continued, “The old adage that ‘sex sells’ is being refuted with research that says that brand recall dips when the brain is busy processing ta-tas.”

The Tweetup is co-organized by The Representation Project, Jennifer Siebel Newsom’s organization that inspires individuals and communities to challenge and overcome limiting gender stereotypes. (I wrote last year about Newsom’s amazing film,  The Mask You Live In,” which looks at how our society is failing boys.)

Want to speak up about sexist ads on Sunday? Tweet your opinion followed by #3PercentSB and #NotBuyingIt.  By the way, if you see an ad that deserves praise for the way it portrays women, use #MediaWeLike. Fair’s fair, after all.

Good Words to End On

I found this and other encouraging sentiments in a recent Fast Company article about several men who took a course at Stanford Business School entitled “Entrepreneurship from the Perspective of Women.”

“As men, we’re often so entrenched in a society that was built for us, we have blind spots that we’re never made aware of. What better way to generate innovation than to see it from a perspective that the other half of the population experiences?”

–Johnson Ci Yu Fung, principal of The Grammaticus