On the sidelines of the 71st United Nations General Assembly, UN Women have recently unveiled a report by 10 global universities that lays out their concrete commitments and charts their progress towards achieving gender parity.
The first-ever “HeForShe IMPACT 10x10x10 University Parity Report” highlights three important imbalances that universities can address: the ratio of men to women represented in university faculty and senior administrative positions; the fields of study selected by young women versus young men; and the number of female students at universities compared with their equal access to academic and professional career tracks.
“Each generation of university students that emerges from these formative years of education is a new chance for the world to make progress,” said Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women, in a press release. “Now that our IMPACT Champions are leading such well-targeted initiatives to tackle current barriers to gender equality, we can look to these cadres of HeForShe graduates, and the changing profiles of academia, with renewed hope.”
The group of 10 IMPACT universities spans across eight countries on five continents: Georgetown University, United States; Institut d’études politiques de Paris (Sciences Po), France; Nagoya University, Japan; Stony Brook University, United States; University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong; the University of Leicester, United Kingdom; University of Oxford, United Kingdom; University of São Paulo, Brazil; University of Waterloo, Canada; and University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa.
UNESCO and UN Women have come together to promote the expansion of proposals that would promote equal opportunity and eliminate sexual harassment, gender inequality and abuse throughout boardrooms, classrooms, and society in general.
At a press briefing for the HeForShe Impact 10x10x10 initiative at the UN Headquarters, UNESCO Director-General, Irina Bokova and UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, Emma Watson highlighted the steps toward equal opportunity and the elimination of violence, along with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals.
Launched in 2015, the HeForShe IMPACT 10x10x10 initiative convenes 10 heads of state, 10 global chief executive officers and 10 university presidents to fast-track gender equality in boardrooms, classrooms and world capitals. The release of today’s report marks the completion of the first year in the initiative for participating universities.
In the report, University HeForShe IMPACT Champions present transparent baseline figures on the representation of women across their student and faculty populations against which future progress will be measured and published on an annual basis. This dataset includes women at undergraduate and graduate levels, as well as in faculty and senior leadership roles.
In total, the 10 universities have committed to monitoring their progress on 30 commitments. Some 70 per cent of IMPACT Champions have committed to closing the gender gap in administration; 40 per cent have committed to closing the gender gap in academia; 30 per cent have committed to creating centres of excellence in gender equality; and 40 per cent have committed to ending violence on campus.
“Sustainable development is not possible and peace will not be lasting, without empowering every girl and woman,” said Irina Bokova, Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). “I see the face of the new global agenda as that of a 12-year-old girl, in school, not forced into marriage or work. It is the face of a 20-year-old woman, at university, creating and sharing knowledge. This is the importance of the HeForShe IMPACT 10x10x10 Initiative.”
UN Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson, who participated in the launch of the HeForShe movement in 2014, and also took part in the report launch today, noted that, “A good university is like a tiny utopia – it’s a miniature model of how the whole of society could look. All our IMPACT Champions have chosen to make gender parity a central part of the way they educate their students.”
Created by UN Women, the HeForShe movement for gender equality provides a targeted platform on which men and boys can engage and become change agents towards the achievement of gender equality.