Gender Equality Is Everybody’s Issue—#HeForShe
In September 2014, United Nations Women (UN Woman) began a crusade to galvanize the male populations to support gender equality and female empowerment: i.e the HeforShe campaign.
With famous public figures like Emma Watson as the face of the campaign, it has attained critical acclaim. Since then Malala Yousafzai has won the Nobel Prize, The Church of England Elected its first female bishop and this year Hilary Clinton tossed her ring in the hat to be, potentially, America’s first female president. Overall, 2014 was hailed as a watershed year for feminism, and, potentially, the start to a new wave of feminism similar to those seen in the 1920s-30s and the 1960s-70s. The unique thing during this time was infact the emphasis on gender equality and not just female empowerment. Issues like transgender rights, men’s rights in children’s courts and breaking gender stereotypes on both sides of the isle became increasingly important. The United States Supreme Court ruling in favor of gay marriage or prominence of transgender people like Caitlyn Jenner and Laverne Cox being celebrated by feminists celebrates gender equality. HeForShe’s emphasis on male-feminists adds to this. UN Women showed their commitment to this line by naming Bollywood Star Farhan Akhtar as the first Goodwill Ambassador for UN Women.
Currently, 347,830 (as of 22/07/2015) men have signed up and taken the pledge to respect equal rights. HeforShe has also succeeded in inspiring countless women’s clubs, blogs and magazines to change their tune about feminism. While HeforShe is, perhaps, more associated to Emma Watson than anyone else, there are arguably more powerful players at work in the fields of Politics, business and Education. From male presidents of countries as diverse as Japan and Rwanda, to male CEOs of Companies like Barclays and Mckinsey&Company or University heads from America, Brazil and South Africa- important men are also the face of HeforShe. Each market leader pledges to enact and enforce the UN Women standards in their countries, companies or schools. For example, one HeForShe pledger, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has promoted a so-called “womenomics” policy that aims to empower women and to become market leaders as a tool to improve them Japanese economy. This goes to show that if the right names get behind the project, important developments can happen. Womenomics will including more support for working mothers, and more encouragement for women in the Japanese Workforce. We are currently in a powerful time for gender equality, and HeforShe has played a role in motivating that. By harnessing celebrity power and global outreach, HeforShe can accomplish its goals.
About the Author: This article is contributed by Uchechi Odikanwa, our intern.