Updated April 1, 2019
HeForShe launched in 2014 with the initial aim to mobilize one million men to commit to accelerate the achievement of gender equality. Men, you ask? Yes, men! As of April 2019, more than two billion have committed.
The movement was created by UN Women to “provide a systematic approach and targeted platform where a global audience can engage and become change agents for the achievement of gender equality in our lifetime.” HeForShe invites us all to unite as equal partners in the strive for gender equality.
HeForShe recently highlighted our CEO Ellen Matloff’s keynote address on gender inequality in the biosciences. Ellen’s message aligns with HeForShe’s message in several ways, including “men often being the best advocates for women.” Ellen shared her personal post-graduate experience discovering one of her best mentors in bioscience was a man, Dr. Vince DeVita. He is world-renowned for being the head of the National Cancer Institute and a pioneer in the treatment of lymphoma. He also has a long track record of hiring, supporting, and promoting women. Encouraging women to pursue careers in the biosciences is a joint effort between men and women, a point stressed by both Ellen Matloff and HeForShe.
HeForShe’s campaign, Are You #HeForShe?, challenged people to break the silence by recording a short video of their commitment to end sexual harassment, including a shoutout for three friends to join. In 2018, HeForShe started highlighting HeForShe IMPACT and Thematic Champions, men who are leaders in addressing critical gender issues.
Accelerating Women’s Economic Empowerment
Men play a critical role in supporting and enabling women’s economic empowerment. Research highlights the significant gender gap in leadership and pay that persists across the business sector. HeForShe engages male CEOs and other leaders as champions for gender equality within their own organizations, encouraging them to question the status quo and commit to concrete action. On an individual level, HeForShe engages men to examine how their own personal and professional lives can better recognize, reduce, and redistribute care and responsibilities between the market and the state, between the household and the workplace, and between women and men.
Advancing Women’s Political Participation and Leadership
Increasing women’s political participation and leadership requires dedicated political commitment from today’s predominantly male political parties, governments, and parliamentary leaders. Political parties create and control political opportunities, playing a gatekeeper role that in many countries means women remain on the outside of the male-dominated political sphere. Where men have prioritized gender equality, great results have followed. HeForShe engages male political leaders as catalysts for change across both public and private spheres and provides targeted support to male leaders eager to engage in this work.
Supporting Women’s Role in Peace and Security
The international community has recognized that women’s participation is vital to achieving and sustaining peace. Women are proven agents of change and should be able to do even more. HeForShe provides an opportunity to rebalance the representation of men and women in the peace process by engaging both sides of the table, empowering female leaders and working with men as advocates for change.
Eliminating Gender-Based Violence
Ending gender-based violence requires a comprehensive approach that engages every segment of society. As such, we all have a role to play. HeForShe provides a platform through which, first and foremost, men and boys can prevent violence by observing and evolving their own attitudes, values, and behaviors toward women and girls, ensuring they do not personally engage in discrimination or violence. In cases where violence has already been perpetrated, men can, through HeForShe, seek support to change their behaviors, breaking the cycle of violence. We can all inspire broader change by proactively intervening where we witness discrimination or violence.