Press release: UN Women’s HeForShe initiative turns two with world leaders, activists, change-makers and celebrities, at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City

Date: Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Chairman of PricewaterhouseCoopers International Limited Bob Moritz, Under Secretary-General and UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Actor Edgar Ramirez, Actor and UN Women Global Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson, First Lady of New York City Chirlane McCray, President of Finland Sauli Niinistö and Stony Brook University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr celebrate the second anniversary of UN Women's HeForShe initiative. Photo: UN Women/Celeste Sloman
Chairman of PricewaterhouseCoopers International Limited Bob Moritz, Under Secretary-General and UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Actor Edgar Ramirez, Actor and UN Women Global Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson, First Lady of New York City Chirlane McCray, President of Finland Sauli Niinistö and Stony Brook University President Samuel L. Stanley Jr celebrate the second anniversary of UN Women's HeForShe initiative. Photo: UN Women/Celeste Sloman

New York, NY – On the sidelines of the 71st United Nations General Assembly, world leaders, activists, change-makers and celebrities recommitted to fast-tracking gender equality at UN Women’s HeForShe second anniversary event. The evening reception was held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City, and co-hosted by three IMPACT 10X10X10 Champions: His Excellency Sauli Niinistö, President of Finland; Bob Moritz, Chairman, PricewaterhouseCoopers International Limited; and Samuel L. Stanley Jr, President of Stony Brook University.

“Empowering women and girls is not only the right thing to do. It is also a simple recipe for success. Just look at Finland: Gender equality has been key to my country's rise from poverty to prosperity," His Excellency Sauli Niinistö, President of Finland said at the event.

Showcasing stories of global activists, the event renewed momentum to create a gender equal world by or before 2030. Highlights from the night included stories about the impact of outlawing child marriage and sending girls back to school in Malawi; how HeForShe IMPACT scholarships are creating more opportunities for girls in the STEM fields; and what happens when college fraternity brothers unite to stop sexual assault.

“HeForShe was launched in the conviction that we needed to find the right way for men to get involved in changing the status quo,” Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women said. “Tonight’s activists have shown us how together we really can get rapid, incremental results that benefit both women and men. Their work will open new opportunities that reinforce each other in schools, workplaces and wider communities. Millions of men and boys have already signed up for gender equality and now we need to get the next 1 million on board.”

HeForShe commemorated the anniversary with bold commitments and new narratives about what it means to be HeForShe. The evening featured a number of IMPACT 10X10X10 Champions, who shared the progress that they have made since joining the movement. IMPACT 10X10X10 is an initiative that engages 10 Heads of States, 10 corporations and 10 universities in fast-tracking gender equality in boardrooms, classrooms and world capitals.

“In January, PwC’s Global Leadership team was made up of 20 per cent women. Today, PwC’s Global Leadership is made up of 44 per cent women,” said IMPACT Champion Bob Moritz, Chairman, PricewaterhouseCoopers International Limited. “That’s real progress and it’s something I’m proud of. But, it didn’t happen overnight and we have a tremendous amount of work still to do ... I think HeForShe is going to be the tipping point for gender parity in the coming years.” 

The evening reception was held the same day as the launch of the first HeForShe IMPACT 10X10X10 University Parity report, which is the first progress report since 10 leading global universities publicly announced bold commitments to achieve gender parity in academia by 2020.

“Stony Brook University is committed to be the national leader—a model in gender equality in the United States for colleges and universities,” said Stony Brook University President and IMPACT Champion Samuel L. Stanley Jr. “That is why we are so invested in HeForShe. It provides a visionary and sound foundation from which we can all work together to improve the human condition through the achievement of gender equality."

On 20 September 2014, UN Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson extended an invitation to men and boys to build on the work of the women’s movement as equal partners. Within the first week, more than 100,000 men and boys from around the world committed to gender equality, including one man in at least every country in the world. Today, millions more have signed on and more than 200 HeForShe student clubs have organically emerged in different countries and regions.

“The reason I have shared my personal journey is that though this is a global movement, it is each of our personal stories and what we choose to do that will make a global difference,” said UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson at the event. “And at this moment in history, there is a unique opportunity and energy for us to win change all over the world.”

Photos from the events will be available at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/heforshe/

Watch an archived webcast of the event:

Join the conversation: Follow @HeForShe on Twitter and share your messages using #HeForShe #TurnsTwo #MoMA

About UN Women

UN Women is the UN entity dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. A global champion for women and girls, UN Women was established to accelerate progress on meeting their needs worldwide. For more information, visit www.unwomen.org. UN Women, 220 East 42nd Street, New York, NY 10017, New York. Tel: +1 646 781-4400. Fax: +1 646 781-4496.

About HeForShe

Created by UN Women, the HeForShe solidarity movement for gender equality provides a systematic approach and targeted platform on which men and boys can engage and become change agents towards the achievement of gender equality. HeForShe invites men and boys to build on the work of the women’s movement as equal partners, crafting and implementing a shared vision of gender equality that will benefit all of humanity. For more information, visit http://www.heforshe.org/en

Media contact

Abigail Somma
Phone: 646.781.4588
Email: abigail.somma[at]unwomen.org