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Emma recently had the opportunity to interview Valerie Hudson, author of “Sex and World Peace”. If you follow Emma on instagram, you’ll recognize this book as the one she highlight on International Women’s Day, on March 8. It’s also “Our Shared Shelf”, Emma’s book club that you can join as long you have a goodreads account, pick for April! Teen Vogue teamed up with Emma for this interview, that you can read below!

It probably takes a lot for Emma Watson to be starstruck, but that’s how the iconic Little Women and Harry Potter actor says she felt when she spoke to Texas A&M professor and author Valerie Hudson.

The two recently hopped on a call to discuss Hudson’s book, Sex and World Peace, which Watson received a copy of from Gloria Steinem and which she highlighted on her Instagram for International Women’s Day. They ended up having a sprawling conversation on everything from the power of being happily single to Watson’s work with the United Nations Women HeForShe campaign to why men just don’t listen to women enough.

Teen Vogue published their conversation, below.

Emma Watson: This is so cool. I’m starstruck!

Valerie Hudson: I sort of feel the same way. One of my daughters is currently reading the Harry Potter series, so every time she finishes a book, we get to see the movie, and of course, you know, you are their heroine.

EW: Ah, I love that. You are such a badass. Your book, it exploded my brain — I think that’s the most accurate way that I can put it! What prompted you to write it?

VH: When I went to graduate school in international affairs, you could have taken my entire coursework and never known there were women on Earth. It was that woman-less.… The idea that national security could have something to do with women would have seemed ludicrous, absolutely ludicrous. And I was a product of that. And it really wasn’t until my eyes began to open, I began to ask questions. I began to read things that had hints.

One of the things you discover very quickly is that if you say, ‘I think national security has something to do with women’, people say, ‘Oh, you know, come back when you’ve got some data; don’t tell us these stories.’ It’s too dismissible without data. That’s why we took the data route.

EW: Well, the data you collected is heart-stopping. Like the fact that ‘the largest risk for poverty in old age is determined by whether or not one has ever given birth to a child.’ When you hear that if women’s caring labor were valued even at minimum wage, it would account for 40% of world production, it’s hard to hear that and remain unmoved. How far do you think we are from achieving a minimum wage or social security benefits for what is now free caring labor?

VH: That’s a brilliant question, and one of the things that I’ve begun to think lately is: Is capitalism itself predicated on all of the life-giving/caregiving work being completely unpaid, being on the backs of women? And if it is, what does that say about the sustainability of capitalism? Those who actually keep everybody alive, give you new generations, take care of the elderly and the sick, get no credit for this.

EW: You write about the Goldberg paradigm, and how in evaluating speech the same words are rated higher coming from men. It’s likely why Harry Potter is not known to be written by Joanne Rowling. If promoting their own success is a helpful strategy for men, but women highlighting their accomplishments is a turn off, how do we get to a more level playing field?

VH: I think one of the things that really caused me to sit up straight and pay attention is when I was hearing results from neuroscience that suggested that women’s voices may be processed by men in the same area of the brain that processes background music and noise…. And I thought to myself, Well, that explains about every departmental faculty meeting I’ve ever been in. [laughs]

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