International Women’s Day

Press Release: UN Women announces four new HeForShe Thematic Champions to accelerate progress towards gender equality

Male global leaders representing international financial institutions, global companies and police forces join the HeForShe movement

Date: Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Media contact: dinal.limbachia@unwomen.org                                         

New York, NY (March 7, 2017) –  On International Women’s Day, UN Women will announce four male global leaders as the newest Thematic Champions to be part of its latest initiative. These Thematic Champions, representing both the public and private sectors, have committed to implement game-changing policies and concrete actions towards gender parity in these critical key areas: senior leadership, paid parental leave and tackling domestic violence. They are as follows: 

  • Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank Group has committed to close the gender gap within senior management (vice presidents and above) by 2020 as the Inaugural HeForShe Thematic Champion for International Financial Institutions;
  • Emmanuel Faber, Global CEO of Danone has committed to implement a comprehensive parental policy offering, among other benefits, an 18-week gender neutral paid parental leave policy for the global work force as the Inaugural HeForShe Thematic Champion for Paid Parental Leave. The commitment from Danone’s CEO on paid parental leave aligns with the focus area of UN Women’s latest Goodwill Ambassador Anne Hathaway, who will deliver a keynote during UN Women’s IWD event on March 8th at the United Nations.
  • Giles York QPM, Chief Constable of Sussex Police and Nick Ephgrave QPM, Chief Constable of Surrey Police as the Inaugural HeForShe Thematic Champion for Police Forces, have committed to close the gender gap in senior leadership positions by 2020, and to instigate robust training for the police officers that respond to domestic violence, to support its elimination. 

These four new Thematic Champions bring us a rich opportunity to reach new audiences on issues that are critical to gender equality. They build out from the sectors our IMPACT Champions are already working on with strong, carefully crafted commitments on balanced leadership, ending different forms of violence, and corporate support for shared parenting responsibilities,” said Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women. “These are moves by key influencers to crack some of the most intractable barriers facing women today”, she added. 

The four leaders join the Prime Minister of Canada, His Excellency Justin Trudeau, who became the inaugural HeForShe Thematic Champion for Youth this past September, thus bringing the total number of Thematic Champions to five.  The five Champions were selected on the basis of their reputations for strong ethical practices, equitable gender policies and excellence in their field, together with their strong commitments to change. 

“I am honoured to be joined by these four new Thematic Champions. Each of them is uniquely placed to bring about changes in their respective fields and on the issues that are holding us all back,” said Prime Minister Trudeau.  “I look forward to seeing how together we can turn the tide on issues like the wage gap and parental leave.” 

The Thematic Champion initiative follows on the heels of another HeForShe initiative, IMPACT 10x10x10, which was launched in January 2015. IMPACT 10x10x10 likewise partners with leaders from various sectors, engaging with 10 Heads of State, 10 CEOs, and 10 Presidents of Universities in making three concrete gender equality commitments over a 5-year period. Both Thematic and IMPACT Champions agreed to have their commitments monitored annually, and the first progress reports for the already ongoing IMPACT initiative can be found online here and here.

Quotes from Thematic Champions

“I’m honored to represent the World Bank Group as a HeForShe Champion. It will be a great challenge to meet the commitments we’re making today to achieve gender equality within our organization. But our commitment is strong and as the first international financial institution to become a HeForShe champion, we hope we’ll inspire other leaders around the world – both men and women – to join the campaign for gender equality.”

 - Dr. Jim Yong Kim, President, World Bank Group

“As a global company involving so many diverse communities across the planet, we commit to provide equal opportunities to every woman and man, wherever they live and work in the world. This is a matter of social justice, which is a condition for sustained market economy development.”

- Emmanuel Faber, Global CEO, Danone

“As a leader, son, husband and father, I believe that enabling true gender equality is a shared responsibility. In supporting HeForShe, Sussex Police is demonstrating the strength of our commitment to ensuring a Police force that is representative of the communities we serve, which is key to addressing violence against women and girls.”

- Giles York QPM, Chief Constable, Sussex Police

“Men and women have a joint responsibility to achieve gender parity. Given the link between gender inequality and domestic abuse, in policing we have a unique opportunity to address issues of violence towards women and girls. Our support for HeForShe underlines that Surrey Police is dedicated to tackling gender inequality and the abuse of women and girls.”

- Nick Ephgrave QPM, Chief Constable, Surrey Police

 ABOUT HeForShe

Created by UN Women, the United Nations entity for gender equality and the empowerment of women, the HeForShe solidarity movement for gender equality provides 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 people around the world to stand together as equal partners to craft a shared vision of a gender equal world and implement specific, locally relevant solutions for the good of all of humanity. For more information, visit http://www.HeForShe.org/en

ABOUT HeForShe THEMATIC INITIATIVE

Launched by His Excellency Justin Trudeau Prime Minister of Canada in September 2016, the HeForShe Thematic Champions Initiative is a growing cohort of select world leaders who stand out as true visionaries on gender equality and who are lending their influence and conviction to UN Women’s efforts. They are spurring concrete action and centrally positioning gender equality, women’s rights and women’s empowerment. For more information, visit: http://www.HeForShe.org/en/thematic

ABOUT UN Women

UN Women is the UN organization 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.