UN Secretary-General: I am HeForShe


Speech by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon at a special event for the HeForShe campaign, United Nations Headquarters, New York, 20 September 2014.

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Distinguished Guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Thank you all for joining this special event.

I am especially grateful to UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka for launching a campaign for gender equality that is about men and boys.

I am honoured to welcome our wonderful new UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, Emma Watson. Thank you so much for shining your spotlight on this lifesaving work. 

Ladies and gentlemen,

I consider myself a champion of women’s equality. 

I remember one conference of business executives where I said I would walk out the next year if I didn’t see more women in the room!

During the past seven-plus years, I have appointed more senior women officials than in the entire six-plus decades of UN history.

With this record, I feel qualified to say: I am HeForShe.

Over the years, men have supported the women’s movement.

But for the most part, it was just that: a women’s movement—when in fact gender equality is the responsibility of all people.

States have an obligation to address violence against women. 

But we also need to change attitudes.

One in three women is a victim of violence—but this is a men’s issue.

Men are responsible for most of the threats and violence against women. Often, these men are close to the victims—fathers, husbands, boyfriends or supervisors.

We need to say to men and boys: Do not raise your hands in violence—raise your voices to stop it—and to support human rights for all.

I sign the HeForShe Commitment on behalf of the United Nations with hopes for great success.

Thank you.