Press Release: Celebrities and world leaders from government, business and academia convene at UN Women’s global HeForShe Summit to release pioneering solutions for gender equality

Date: Thursday, May 27, 2021

Media Contact: Dinal Limbachia, dinal.limbachia[at]unwomen.org

  • Over the last six years, a unique group of 35 world leaders across government, business and academia made over 90 commitments to address some of today’s most pressing gender issues.
  • Known as HeForShe Champions, part of UN Women’s HeForShe initiative, they are Presidents, Prime Ministers, CEOs and academic leaders.
  • Convening as part of the global ChangeNOW online event, these HeForShe Champions shared their journey and their Proven Solutions: innovative and concrete ways to eliminate global gender issues.

(New York, 27 May 2021) - In the context of COVID-19 where gender inequalities have been exacerbated through a disproportional negative impact on millions of women and girls, HeForShe Champions convened at the virtual HeForShe Summit today to release their tried and tested methods that aim to accelerate positive progress.

“I am delighted that each of the HeForShe Champions is sharing what they have learned by launching their Proven Solutions” said Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women. “After today, with our partners providing almost 40 solutions, no one can say they do not know where to start. No one can be a bystander.”

Adding his voice to the global movement, former UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair, urged men to join him in backing the initiative and expressed the need for more male leaders to be part of the solution. “Gender equality, the advancement of rights for women and girls, is a just cause and it concerns everybody,” he said. “That’s why it’s so important that men and male leaders, who have so often been part of the problem, should become now part of the solution.”

HeForShe proven solutions: Key highlights

Each HeForShe Champion joined the initiative by making ambitious commitments designed to accelerate progress towards gender equality. At the HeForShe Summit, they released the culmination of these commitments: their Proven Solutions.

  • Engaging Tomorrow’s Leaders: To address the gender gap in STEM, US-based Stony Brook University’s Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) program offers a recruitment, retention and partnership plan. WISE has expanded the number of women in its incoming cohort by 25 per cent.
  • Ending Gender-Based Violence: HeForShe Champion Vodafone became the first company to offer 10 days' paid leave to domestic-abuse victims across all their territories. Their Bright Sky app also provides critical support services to around 100,000 survivors of abuse.
  • Pursuing Economic Justice: With a persistent global gender pay gap of around 23 per cent, Head of State Champion Iceland developed a groundbreaking new Equal Pay Certification that requires companies of 25 employees or more to undergo an audit ensuring equal pay for equal work.

Gender Equality Data: Key Highlights

Since 2014, HeForShe Champions from the private sector and academia have shared annual data on the representation of women. Below are key insights and trends over the last six years:

  • Over half of the corporate partners now have at least 40 per cent of their Board made up of women
  • 62 per cent of corporate partners have increased the representation of women in their overall company compared to men, ranging from 24 per cent in 2014 to 57 per cent in 2020
  • The percentage of women in senior leadership positions has increased in 90 per cent of the university partners, ranging from 11 per cent in 2014 to 58 per cent in 2020

In a joint collaboration between HeForShe, YPO and the Financial Times, the Summit also saw the release of a unique Global Chief Executive Gender Equality Survey fielded to uncover groundbreaking insights about the journey women and men take to the corner office. Conducted earlier this year with 2,079 YPO member chief executives responding from 106 countries, the Survey provides needed research on what gender specific roadblocks leaders face in their path toward becoming a chief executive and gleaned actionable insights on how to remove them for future generations of leaders. Complete survey results can be found on the HeForShe and YPO websites.

The HeForShe Summit continues to build momentum towards the landmark Generation Equality Forum taking place from 30th June -2nd July: a global inflection point for gender equality. The Forum will see the launch of six Action Coalitions: multi-stakeholder partnerships that aim to make gender equality a reality for our generation. In the framework of the Generation Equality Action Coalitions, the new HeForShe Alliance, kicking off in 2021, will convene a fresh slate of heads of state, global CEOs and third sector leaders to engage men and boys as allies for gender equality across the six Action Coalitions.

Join the conversation: Follow @HeForShe@UN_Women on Twitter using the hashtag #HeForSheSummit#GenerationEquality