A version of this article, by Jennifer Swann, a culture and lifestyle reporter covering the intersection of pop culture and social justice, originally appeared on TakePart.
Emma Watson, U.N. Women’s goodwill Ambassador, has spent the last year trying to convince men that women’s equality is more than just a women’s issue. In the U.S., the “He for She” campaign gained the support of celebs like Forest Whitaker and Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who tweeted about it, and Steve Carell, who wore the campaign logo on his cuff link at the Oscars!
However, in Afghanistan, it may take time for “He for She” and the ideals of gender equality to take root. During it’s five-year rule that ended in 2001, the Taliban cracked down on women’s rights. Moreover the group’s violent, fundamentalist interpretation of Islamic law continues to influence daily life more than a decade later.
To kick off the U.N. campaign’s launch in Afghanistan last week, local activists, government officials, and foreign dignitaries met at a Kabul high school to demonstrate how men play an integral role in the fight for women’s rights.
Using the slogan “A brave man stands for women,” activists took the stage and shared stories that attempted to reposition the fight for women’s rights as a courageous and valiant undertaking.