Press release: New UN Women HeForShe IMPACT Report puts spotlight on gender equality in global universities

Date: Tuesday, September 20, 2016

New York, NY – On the sidelines of the 71st United Nations General Assembly today, UN Women unveiled the first-ever HeForShe IMPACT 10X10X10 University Parity Report. In the groundbreaking report, 10 leading global universities lay out concrete commitments and begin charting their progress toward achieving gender parity. Launched in 2015, the HeForShe IMPACT 10X10X10 is an initiative that convenes 10 Heads of State, 10 global CEOs and 10 University Presidents to fast-track gender equality in boardrooms, classrooms and world capitals.

The group of 10 IMPACT universities span across eight countries on five continents:

Georgetown University, USA; Institut d’études politiques de Paris (Sciences Po), France; Nagoya University, Japan; Stony Brook University, USA; the University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong; the University of Leicester, UK; University of Oxford, UK; the University of São Paulo, Brazil; the University of Waterloo, Canada; and the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa.

With more than half of the world’s population under 30 and university graduation rates rising, universities have an unprecedented opportunity to make a difference. This report highlights three important critical imbalances that universities can address: 1) the ratio of men to women represented in university faculty and senior administrative positions; 2) the fields of study selected by young women versus young men; and 3) the number of female students at universities compared to 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. “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 launch of today’s report marks the completion of the first year in the IMPACT 10X10X10 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 refers to women at undergraduate and graduate levels, as well as faculty and senior leadership roles.

In total, the ten universities have committed to monitoring their progress on 30 commitments. 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 centers 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 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 launched the HeForShe movement in 2014, and took part in the report launch said 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.”

An evening reception to mark the release of the report and the second year anniversary of HeForShe, will be held at the Museum of Modern Art in New York later in the day. The event will be 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. This special event will bring together Heads of State IMPACT Champions, University IMPACT Champions, corporate IMPACT Champions as well as UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson, activists and other HeForShe Celebrity Champions.

At the 2016 World Economic Forum in Davos, the Corporate HeForShe IMPACT Champions unveiled the inaugural Corporate HeForShe Parity Report. The Corporate Parity Report provided unprecedented disclosure of workforce gender diversity figures, including details on leadership roles and board membership, to inspire global companies to monitor commitments and take action.

HeForShe IMPACT University special announcement on gender-based violence on campus

Gender-based violence remains a serious challenge to campus security – and educational opportunity – for students across the world.

One in three women worldwide is known to experience some form of physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. Many more victims remain silent due to shame, guilt, or fear. Men and boys are also the victims of physical and sexual violence, and are statistically less probable to report an assault to authorities. In some countries, the incidence of assault and violence against gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer students is estimated to be higher.

Ten global academic institutions from the HeForShe IMPACT 10X10X10 initiative have now initiated programmes of action agreed with the United Nations as part of the broader HeForShe programme; including ground-breaking commitments to tackling gender-based violence on their campuses.

Spanning 8 countries on 5 continents, reaching more than 700,000 students and with 40,000 faculty members, the ten IMPACT Universities are positioned to be powerful catalysts for change.

The universities taking part in the HeForShe IMPACT 10X10X10 programme are Georgetown University, University of Hong Kong, University of Leicester, Nagoya University, University of Oxford, University of São Paulo, Sciences Po, Stony Brook University, University of Waterloo, and University of the Witwatersrand.

IMPACT Universities will work together to:

  • Institutionalize zero-tolerance policies on sexual assault; 
  • Provide campus-wide training and briefings for all faculty, administration, and students;
  • Transform student ideas into action through HeForShe Global ‘Ideathons’

Under the HeForShe programme, additional specific commitments and targets are agreed with each university, providing models of highly practical change in a global context. IMPACT Universities recognize that practical solutions to gender-based violence on campus are strengthened by collaboration with their students. A pioneering initiative to end gender-based violence includes the launch of annual HeForShe Ideathons over the next three years on IMPACT university campuses, which enables students to explore and devise solutions through collaboration and facilitation. Across all IMPACT universities, tackling gender-based violence is regarded as an absolute priority. Charting a path for other universities to follow, the models under creation at IMPACT universities are central to the global campaign to eradicate gender-based violence. 

University IMPACT Champions:

John J. DeGioia, President of Georgetown University
Georgetown University is proud to support the HeForShe work to empower women and girls and to create conditions for equality, human dignity, and flourishing worldwide.”

Peter Mathieson, President & Vice Chancellor of the University of Hong Kong
“We need culture change, system change, sustainable long-term policy change and the shared commitment to truly make a difference. I will continue to do my best to contribute.”

Paul Boyle, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester
“Our launch event, marking the inaugural HeForShe #GetFree University Tour in September was a great start. We were delighted to welcome the UN Women team, Rt Honorable Nicky Morgan Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Equalities, 500 staff and students, around 1000 HeForShe commitments from students in 2 days, and 21 of our academics exhibiting their gender related research. We also proudly presented our unique launch ‘We are HeForShe’ video http://www2.le.ac.uk/institution/heforshe

Seiichi Matsuo, President of Nagoya University
“I am fully committed to and excited about bringing about social change toward gender equality at every level, and look forward to working together with UN Women and other IMPACT Champion universities, government, and industrial leaders toward this important end.”

Stephen Goss, Pro Vice-Chancellor of Oxford University
“Oxford is a collegiate university, consisting of the central University and 38 self-governing colleges. It is one of the world’s oldest universities, but is also an international institution and consistently appears among the top three universities in the world, as measured by its peers. Oxford had 22,348 students as of December 2014, of which 45 per cent are female. Oxford has over 11,000 members of staff. 27 per cent of academic staff are female, as are 45 per cent of researchers – a combined total of 40 per cent. 22 per cent of Professorial staff are female.”

Marco Antonio Zago, President of the University of São Paulo (USP)
“The University of São Paulo is a powerful instrument to develop long-term transformative changes of behaviors to address social issues such as violence against women and all types of discrimination.”

Frédéric Mion, President of Institut d’études politiques de Paris (Sciences Po University)
“The fact that our gender equality action plan is supported by HeForShe makes it much easier to promote this message within all decision-making spheres and, consequently, to get our projects up and running faster.”

Samuel L. Stanley, Jr., President of Stony Brook University
“In our role as a HeForShe IMPACT 10X10X10 University Champion, we will confront them [gender equality issues] as an institution, taking the lead for lasting change. It is the willingness to address [gender equality] questions and improve ourselves in the process that will create that change.”

Feridun Hamdullahpur, President & Vice Chancellor of the University of Waterloo
“I am proud that Waterloo is taking the lead for Canada’s university sector in the global HeForShe effort. […] We need to deliberately create clear paths for women to pursue studies in fields like Computer Science, Engineering and Math so we can overcome social barriers that have no place in a 21st century innovation university.”

Adam Habib, Principal & Vice-Chancellor of the University of the Witwatersrand
“It is a fight to ensure that the role of men in ending gender-based harm is as active participants and not passive observers; it is to ensure that patriarchy and inequality are uprooted; and to ensure that those who benefit from inequitable hierarchies are an equal part of their deconstruction. It is a fight that universities generally, and Wits University specifically, must be part of.”

Watch an archived webcast of the launch of the first HeForShe IMPACT 10X10X10 University Parity Report

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

About HeForShe IMPACT Champions

IMPACT 10X10X10 engages key decision makers at governments, corporations and universities around the world to drive change from the top. IMPACT Champions make gender equality an institutional priority, committing to real change within and beyond each of their organizations. Each IMPACT Champion implements the HeForShe IMPACT framework and develops three bold, game-changing commitments to advance and ultimately achieve gender equality for all. Measurement and transparency will be at the heart of these commitments, so successful initiatives can serve as models for the political, corporate and academic world. For more information, visit http://www.heforshe.org/impact

Media contact

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