Press release: 30 global leaders convene to share ground-breaking solutions on how to achieve gender equality as part of UN Women’s HeForShe movement

Date: Wednesday, September 20, 2017

UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka with the HeForShe Impact 10x10x10 Champions. Photo: Celeste Salome
UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka with the HeForShe IMPACT 10x10x10 Champions. Photo: Celeste Salome

(New York, September 20, 2017) – Thirty global leaders unveiled their ground-breaking solutions for gender equality today as part of UN Women’s HeForShe movement. Addressing critical policy issues, changing the course of business leadership and the futures of our next generation, these proven practices have the potential to see gender equality achieved within our lifetime.

HeForShe’s IMPACT Champions, comprised of 10 Heads of State, 10 global CEOs and 10 University Presidents, came together to share with the world the key obstacles they have faced on their journey, as well as the innovative proven practices that they can now empower the rest of the world with. H.E. Arthur Peter Mutharika, President of Malawi, shared the story of how his country has ended child marriage once and for all, allowing over 1500 girls to return to education. Bob Moritz, Chairman of PricewaterhouseCoopers International Limited shared the story of how his organization has gone from 18 per cent female representation in the Global Leadership Team in January 2016 to 47 per cent by December 2016. Paul Boyle, President and Vice-Chancellor at the University of Leicester (U.K.) led a dynamic conversation on how students themselves are generating solutions to address gender-based violence on their campuses.

“The results announced in today’s IMPACT 10x10x10 Parity Report are inspirational. In 2015, I challenged the Champions to ‘think big’ and commit to creative approaches that tackled the greatest barriers. We know that incremental steps do not bring us the benefits that we so urgently need,” said Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women. “As leaders in their fields the Champions hold the key to breaking norms and making game-changing progress for both women and men. The report shares strategies, roadblocks and successes so others can follow suit.”

In a true HeForShe moment, newcomers H.E. Nana Akufo-Addo, President of Ghana, Andrew Wilson, CEO of Electronic Arts and Professor Paul Wainaina, Vice-Chancellor of Kenyatta University were warmly welcomed to the IMPACT 10x10x10 family. H.E. Nana Akufo-Addo is committed to improving gender inequalities and engaging the men of Ghana for a more equitable country. With over 300 million players around the world, Electronic Arts will lead on diversifying representation in the gaming industry, creating safe spaces online as well as advancing equal pay in the US and beyond. Home to some of the world's top scholars, researchers and experts with over 70,000 students, Kenyatta University brings a new global perspective to the IMPACT cohort. Aligning with the existing priorities of the IMPACT Universities, Kenyatta is committed to achieving a gender-balanced leadership, embedding gender equality into the very DNA of their institution and addressing gender-based violence across their campuses.

Official images, briefing documents, and video clips will be available here.

Livestream will be available here.

To learn more, you can review the full report here.

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

What IMPACT Champions are saying:

Head of State IMPACT Champions

“The HeForShe movement provides an opportunity for the socialization of men and boys to support and promote women’s and girls’ empowerment. Men should commit themselves by signing the HeForShe movement.” –H.E. Arthur Peter Mutharika, President of the Republic of Malawi

“I strongly believe removing the root causes of discrimination and violence against women and girls is a smart strategy to ensure a just and prosperous world.” –H.E. Joko Widodo, President of the Republic of Indonesia

“The formalization of the Gender Equality Expert role is not only a critical step in eliminating gender based violence throughout our communities in Romania, but also ensures that our policies are informed and responsive. Only when we do this, we will start to see gender equality becoming reality.” –H.E. Klaus Werner Iohannis, President of Romania

“We have to change mindsets, not just laws. We are in this together; let’s stand as partners and end gender inequality once and for all.” –H.E. Paul Kagame, President of the Republic of Rwanda

“In my capacity as Commander-in-Chief of the Finnish Defence Forces, I am proud to announce that all our conscripts, who are mostly young men, undergo training on anger management and prevention of violence in close relationships as part of their military service. I call upon everyone to join in efforts to build equal and sustainable societies and achieve full gender equality by 2030. Finland is a close partner of UN Women – we are one of its largest donors – in this endeavour." –H.E. Sauli Niinistö, President of Finland

“I firmly believe that empowering women to maximize their high potential to the full extent will be a driving force that puts Japan, a country currently caught in an impasse, on track for growth and prosperity once again.” –H.E. Shinzo Abe, Prime Minister of Japan

“My political commitment is based on the firm belief of equal value of all people as well as on the power of politics to change society and create equal rights and opportunities for all. This is why I am a feminist. You cannot separate equal worth from gender equality. We must defeat gender discrimination and structural biases which hold women back from shaping society and even their own lives.” –H.E. Stefan Löfven, Prime Minister of Sweden

"We are deeply hurt by the phenomenon of domestic violence and we will carry out all the actions we can to fight against this scourge As part of this commitment, Uruguay implements a prevention, confrontation, reduction and reparation of violence based on gender national policy. HeForShe Campaign provides us a powerful and creative global platform that drives and supports our efforts to ensure a life free of gender-based violence for women." –H.E. Tabaré Vázquez, President of Uruguay

Corporate IMPACT Champions

“Gender equality is foundational to the culture and values of Electronic Arts, and we must champion it as a force for global change. With more than 2.5 billion people around the world playing games today, interactive entertainment is uniquely positioned to advance this movement. Gender equality is a human right, and we are committed to leading the conversation with our employees, our players and our industry.” –Andrew Wilson, CEO of Electronic Arts

“Gender equality is not a zero-sum game—it spurs opportunity and prosperity. Enabling both genders to contribute equally in business and their personal lives benefits all. When it comes to gender parity, leaders of all types have a vital role to play in creating the right tone throughout organizations and communities, inspiring women and men alike in building a culture of equality and eradicating gender-based siloes. Without steadfast commitment on every front and at every level, gender parity will remain elusive, and remember--all of us are or can be leaders!” –Bob Moritz, Global Chairman, PwC International Ltd.

“The vast majority of companies have introduced measures to increase gender diversity at the top, but many are still struggling to achieve significant results. Achieving gender parity is hard work, as we well know from our own experience. Changing outcomes on a scale that will move the needle will require relentless effort.” –Dominic Barton, Global Managing Partner, McKinsey & Company

“Companies have a key role to play as change agents to build a world where gender equality is a reality. It is a question of determination. Leading by example and engaging more men in these challenges will be one of my key priorities.” –Jean Pascal Tricoire, CEO, Schneider Electric

“Barclays will only succeed if we relentlessly focus on building and maintaining a diverse and inclusive environment. An environment that values experience and empowers colleagues to prioritise their professional and personal lives is one that allows us all to succeed together. Dynamic working offers colleagues an opportunity to design their own work patterns. Enabling people to decide when, where and how they work helps increase engagement and productivity.” –Jes Staley, CEO, Barclays

“Gender bias is deeply rooted in our community. Unlearning this bias is our immense challenge, yet this is the key to gender equality. As Koç Group, we focus on creating a new gender paradigm that will assist us achieving gender equality in the workplace and in the society.” –Ömer M. Koç, Chairman, Koç Holding

“We must find ways to challenge the adverse norms and stereotypes holding women and men back, and companies, like Unilever, have an important role to do so. Via our Unstereotype initiative, we are using our expertise and understanding of the drivers of social norms to create a positive transformation, starting with our advertising.” –Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever

“We realized that our research is not about Tupperware – it’s about studying a trend in the workplace, and showing that confidence is universal, translatable and ultimately valuable.” –Rick Goings, CEO, Tupperware Brands

“In a Group like AccorHotels, where about 50 per cent of our employees are women, diversity at every level in the company is not a cause we stand for: it is a vital issue and a key to sustainable performance. We are all – men and women alike – free to enjoy fulfilling professional careers.” –Sébastien Bazin, Chairman and CEO, AccorHotels

“Our Instant Network classrooms give boys and girls the opportunity to learn on tablets and have access via our technology to knowledge and subjects at the same level as every other young person in the world. Education and technology can really improve their chances of having a better life, and maybe – as several told us – go back to their countries and help re-establish peaceful societies.” –Vittorio Colao, CEO, Vodafone

University IMPACT Champions

“Through the work of our Gender Equity Office, we have seen how it is possible to tackle the structural problem of gendered privilege that manifests on our campus in a myriad of ways, including gender based harm. By taking the steps to hear and support victims, challenge perpetrators and amplify the marginalized voices within our university community, we are learning that it is possible to chip away at deeply rooted cultures of privilege.” –Adam Habib, Principal & Vice-Chancellor, University of the Witwatersrand

“Real, sustainable change does not result from the actions of a single person or vision. While the HeForShe commitments focus on opening doors to women and girls in science, technology, math and engineering (STEM), disciplines, meaningful change requires commitment across our entire campus, with students, faculty, staff and alumni coming together to share their stories, identify opportunities, envision solutions and put plans into action.” –Feridun Hamdullahpur, President and Vice Chancellor, University of Waterloo

“To reach effective gender equality is not an objective: it is our duty and our responsibility.” –Frédéric Mion, President, Sciences Po

“Our survey findings underscore an urgent and critical need to continue to address sexual assault and misconduct and provide us the information we need to better target and focus our work. Some of the action we take will be immediate, beginning in the coming days and weeks. Some action will require ongoing, sustained effort. All actions that we take will require the active engagement of our entire community.” –John DeGioia, President, Georgetown University

“For me, the university is a privileged place, where education 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 discriminations.” –Marco Zago, President, University of São Paulo

“A key component of our strategic plan is to develop talent in our people. We think the investments we make in developing our female staff will result in a transformation in the make-up of our university leaders into the next decade.” –Paul Boyle, President & Vice Chancellor University of Leicester

“I have been shocked by the male predominance in higher education in Hong Kong, and even more concerned by the passive acceptance by many parties. I welcome the challenge of addressing this issue during my Presidency.” –Peter Mathieson, President & Vice-Chancellor, The University of Hong Kong

“As a University President, I know how vital achieving equality is to our students’ success and well-being but even more than that, my commitment to gender equality is personal.” –Samuel L. Stanley Jr., M.D., President, Stony Brook University

“I am committed to striving for more women in leadership positions. This commitment remains the most challenging because of the stereotypical belief among some people that women do not make good leaders in traditional Japanese culture. But we continue to provide our female colleagues with better opportunities to build up expertise so they can take on more leadership roles in the near future.” –Seiichi Matsuo, President, Nagoya University