The Harry Potter actress, 27, was picked from a list of stars which included celebrities such as Cheryl, Ariana Grande, Beyonce and Zayn Malik. Both girls and boys selected Watson from the line up of 43 actors, musicians, fitness personalities, YouTubers and reality stars. The research was commissioned by youth empowerment programme National Citizen Service (NCS) and conducted by ICM, with 1000 young people taking part.
Many cited Watson’s feminist stance as the reason she is so inspiring. One respondent said: “She uses the power and fame she gained from the Harry Potter series to speak about important issues like feminism.” Another stated: “She’s a big feminist. She frequently speaks out on sexism and other discrimination issues such as racism and homophobia, and what she says really inspires me.” The research also found that “feminist” is now the top tribe for teenage girls (29%), outranking labels such as “sporty” (10%) or “bookworm” (19%).
NCS marketing director Natasha Kizzie said: “The rise of internet feminism and increasingly politically engaged youth has brought these issues to the forefront of the news agenda, and the ‘Emma Watson effect’ has done brilliant things for the cause. “She inspires young people to never limit their expectations of what they can achieve on the basis on their gender.”