One of my friend named, Reem, a high school student, who takes Women & Gender studies class asked me following questions as part of her project. I met Reem at the United Nations headquarters in New York. I told her about my activities and passion. I gave her following answers and thought to publish them as well. The idea of this post is to encourage the people to join our movement, He For She as well as to raise awareness.
- What inspired you to become a Feminist?
Ans: When I saw the cruelties and violence against women around the globe, I stood up against them and challenged dogmatic beliefs that were encouraging violence against women. I’m a feminist because of my and every mother, sister, and daughter around the globe. I’m a feminist because this world cannot advance alone. Both men and women can achieve a peaceful future together. It’s not just for our generations but for the generations to come.
- When did you realize you were a feminist?
Ans. At an early age, when I was around 10 years old, I realized that I’m the champion or superman for women and girls. The moment that impacted my life was when my fellow classmate dropped out of class as a result of her family’s disbelief in the goodness of education in her life. In their eyes, she should’ve worked at home with her mom. Consequently, I discovered that I needed to take matters into my own hands and asked them to send her back to school. At that point, I knew this was harmful for my classmate. She wanted to study but couldn’t because of different reasons like poverty, illiteracy etc.
- How can we ensure that the word feminism isn’t getting replaced with its connotative meaning “man hater”?
Ans: I’m a man and how can I become a man-hater myself? This is totally wrong. I think there’s a lot of abuse and misunderstanding towards feminists and feminism. We have to refine or redefine the word “feminist” and make people and masses aware of the real meaning. I think I’m feminist because I want the same for women and girls on basis of equality, respect and recognition.
- How can men and women fight for equal rights in their home cities?
Ans. I think everyone has a potential to make a difference. Starting from basic education, it should be part of the education system. Men and boys have an even more important role because usually they are the perpetrators and women and girls are victims. We should become HeForShe in order to promote Gender Equality worldwide. It’s not their rights; instead, it’s our rights. Women and girls shouldn’t be held back.
- Have you met any inspiring feminists, and what was inspiring about them?
Ans. I had a great honor to listen the speech of Ms. Emma Watson, the Global Goodwill Ambassador of the UN Women and British Actress, who touched my heart with the words, “if not us, who? If not now, when?” So the question here is clear. It’s time for global action; from a grassroots level to a domestic one, from national to regional, from continents to the world. Everyone of us can do something, no matter how small or big the contribution might be.
- What can you explain about the HeforShe campaign on a personal level?
Ans. HeForShe is not just a campaign. It’s a movement under the flag and leadership of the UN and UN Women. It’s a global call for men and boys to stand up together with the other half of the planet i.e. women and girls. I think it’s a great campaign. We can learn how to make a difference and then make it happen by acting, taking responsibility and initiation of projects. It’s that easy.
— Syed Mahmood Kazmi (@SMahmoodKazmi) February 26, 2015
- What made you get involved with the HeforShe campaign and when did you get involved?
Ans: I got involved with HeForShe since the beginning/launching of the campaign. I was the 79th man in the world to take a pledge to become HeForShe and to make a difference.
My passion and love for human rights and serving vulnerable communities made me get involved with this campaign. It’s a human rights movement. It’s for the rights of women and men around the globe because women’s rights are women’s rights are men’s rights. I invite all men and boys to sign up with HeForShe campaign NOW because we must surf our time in protecting and advocating for the rights of women and girls.
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