A world without Hermione may seem unthinkable, it may even be non-existent as without Hermione, few of the main characters would have made it passed the first books, leaving the coast clear for Voldemort to take power once again. However, a world without Hermione may very well be the one we’re living in today.
On September 1st, the Harry Potter Alliance (HPA), a twelve-year-old non-profit organization, launched their ‘A World Without Hermione’ campaign, aimed at tackling gender inequity in education.
Last Saturday, September 23rd, they held a press conference in New York City’s Union Square. HPA Campaigns Director Katie Bowers, dressed in full witch regalia, addressed a crowd of wizarding journalists and protesters bearing signs with magical takes on familiar phrases such as ‘Yes All Witches’ and ‘Witches Rights Are Human Rights.’ Bowers announced that female applicants to Hogwarts had been issued with waitlist letters, but encouraged young witches not to be disheartened, and to take comfort in the fact that millions of girls in the muggle world are denied education as well.
Katie Bowers announces the exclusion of girls from Hogwarts
Speaking to Bookstr after the event, Bowers explains:
We use a lot of different metaphors and allegories to look at how problems in the real world manifest themselves in the Harry Potter stories and other stories that you love, and if your heroes that you love from the books were facing problems, how would they deal with it, how would they solve it? And then [to point out] to people Harry and Ron and Hermione were just kids, you can do it, we’re ready for you to take action. That’s what we do.
So what is the ‘A World Without Hermione‘ campaign?
While the HPA deals with a number of different issues, the main problem they are tackling at present is gender inequity in education. ‘A World Without Hermione’ kicked off on September 1st with ‘waitlist’ letters sent out to all the girls on their mailing list, explaining that for the time being, they had been waitlisted and would not be allowed to attend Hogwarts. The letter stressed that the recipients take comfort in the fact that girls all over the muggle world are facing this. Millions of girls are left out of school.
The crowd protests, while witch and wizard journalists report
What the campaign is looking at is what would Hogwarts have looked like without Hermione and without a lot of the girl characters who make a big difference. The truth is Harry probably would have died in Sorcerer’s Stone, and that would have been a terrible story and eventually Voldemort would have taken over the world. So we’re kind of presenting this idea of ‘if Hermione made such a big difference in Hogwarts, what are we missing out on in the real world, when we have so many girls who are left out of school?’ Here in the US oftentimes it’s when they’re socialized out of STEM programs, singled out by dress codes and sent home for the day, and in other parts of the world and here, if a girl gets pregnant she’s out of school, child marriage gets girls out of school, poverty, all sorts of things.
The waitlist letter / Image via HPA
According to the Harry Potter Alliance website, in 2014, nearly 15% of women globally could not read or write, and as of today, more than 130 million girls are being denied education. Educating women is one of the best ways to combat climate change as it helps to control overpopulation, create more productive agriculture reducing global poverty, and ensuring women are resilient enough to cope with climate disasters. If all women were educated, child mortality would be halved, and malnutrition in children would be reduced by 12 million cases. To date, HPA’s achievements include
- A partnership with Walk Free that engaged over 400,000 fans and resulted in Warner Bros., changing the sourcing of their Harry Potter chocolate to be 100% UTZ or Fairtrade.
- Raising over $123,000 for Partners In Health and sending five cargo planes of life-saving supplies to Haiti.
- Donations of over 250,000 books across the world through HPA’s Accio Books campaign.
- A partnership with Public Knowledge that brought over 20,000 fans and online video creators together for Net Neutrality.
- The use of broad cultural messaging to link The Hunger Games with real-life inequality.
With all of this under their belt, there is little doubt that the ‘Without Hermione’ campaign will be a success. If you would like to donate or learn more, you can do so here, and join the conversation on social media with #WithoutHermione.
Featured Image Via Harry Potter Alliance