HeForShe: Bringing the men into the fight for gender equality

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25 September 2014 - “Men, I would like to take this opportunity to extend your formal invitation. Gender Equality is your issue too.”

Extended by the UN Women Global Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson, the invitation opens the door for both genders to jointly address an issue that has thus far been perceived as being focused primarily on women: Gender equality.

UNWomen 2.0 Generic CC BY-NC-ND 2.0The HeForShe initiative, launched by UN Women and spearheaded by Emma Watson, seeks to build a movement towards equality on the basis of men’s commitment. A commitment to recognizing that gender equality is not solely a women’s issue, but a human right to all. Men from around the world can visit the HeForShe website and pledge their commitment to achieving global gender equality.

With support for UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, US President Barak Obama and Hollywood celebrities such as Matt Damon on the front page of the website, the HeForShe commitment is a truly global effort. So far, nearly 4,000 men in France, nearly a thousand in Belgium, over 1,500 in Spain, over 3,000 in Sweden, 77 men in Saudi Arabia, 29 in Afghanistan and other men from nearly every nation on earth have lent their commitment.

In the days since its launch, the project sought to get 100,000 men to sign up to building equality. Yet, just four days after the HeForShe launch there are well over 100,000 signatories and still counting. This issue is global, as is the response to Watson’s plea.

In her impassioned speech to the UN, Emma Watson matched action to words, “Both men and women should feel free to be sensitive. Both men and women should feel free to be strong…” And through this she has inspired thousands of men to voice their support for gender equality. You can lend your voice either by visiting the web site here, or by joining the online conversation using the hashtag: #HeForShe.