Our Shared Shelf

Whenever a new year begins, people always want to try doing something new. Well, that’s exactly what Emma Watson, Harry Potter actor and UN Women Goodwill ambassador, did this year. Two years ago, Watson launched the gender equality campaign HeforShe. The goal of her campaign is to encourage both men and women to get involved in the fight for gender equality and to increase awareness about gender stereotypes. Further continuing her push for equality, this year, Watson decided to start a feminist book club on Goodreads, a website where members can start topics of discussion based on various books or themes. On January 6, 2016, she tweeted that she would be starting one and asked for suggestions for the name. The idea of her feminist book club quickly gained popularity and approval, and Watson soon announced that the club would be called “Our Shared Shelf” to represent the fundamental principles of the club: that the world is a place shared equally by both men and women. In mid-January, the club was opened for anyone to join on Goodreads. Every day, readers and celebrities alike are inspired to join the club and start reading its first novel, My Life on the Road by Gloria Steinem. Since its inception, Our Shared Shelf has acquired almost 100,000 members on Goodreads, and users have already created over 200 topics discussing the first novel. Watson explained her reason for starting the club on Our Shared Shelf’s Goodreads page, saying that, “As part of my work with UN Women, I have started reading as many books and essays about equality as I can get my hands on. There is so much amazing stuff out there! Funny, inspiring, sad, thought-provoking, empowering… I decided to start a feminist book club, as I want to share what I’m learning and hear your thoughts too.” Because of this, readers can understand that the objective of Watson’s club is simply to encourage people to share knowledge and thoughts on feminism. Inspired by Emma Watson’s initiative in creating Our Shared Shelf, many readers have decided to follow her example and begin their year in an excellent way by joining the new club.

By Arpita, Grade 10