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Should Men Be Feminists?

Actress Emma Watson, of Harry Potter fame, gave a highly acclaimed speech last week at the UN. She spoke about feminism and women’s rights, and publicized her new HeForShe campaign. (In that effort she calls for men to advocate on behalf of women’s rights).

Here are two comments from her speech that to me make a lot of sense:

I am from Britain and think it is right that as a woman I am paid the same as my male counterparts. I think it is right that I should be able to make decisions about my own body. I think it is right that women be involved on my behalf in the policies and decision-making of my country. I think it is right that socially I am afforded the same respect as men.

Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. 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 and this is what HeForShe is about. It’s about freedom.

Does the life insurance industry need to promote this new freedom? Actually, when it comes to assessing rates for life insurance, I think the industry is pretty fair to women. Mortality statistics tell us that all things being equal, women live longer than men; so, they get charged less for coverage.

However, when it comes to decision making by potential applicants, I do see a little bit of prejudice. Especially with some older couples, the “man of the house” gets to make the final decision. They need to resolve whether or not that is the best way to do things.

Should men across America take a leading role in advocating for gender equality? That could right a lot of wrongs, but I think it is missing the big picture. Truth be told, I don’t think anybody should be prejudiced towards anyone. No one should be treated any differently due to their gender, race, religion, national origin, or economic class. My own “equality campaign” would be entitled UsForUS!