Have you heard for the Gender Equality movement from the UN called HeforShe? It was originally kicked off by Emma Watson and just in case you haven’t heard about it I’ll provide a little background. It’s a campaign to promote and celebrate men (as well as women) supporting gender equality and involves a simple pledge that you can sign up for:
“I am one of billions of men who believe equality for women is a basic human right that benefits us all. And I commit to taking action against gender discrimination and violence in order to build a more just and equal world.”
The University of Leicester is one of 10 universities globally signed up to represent and participate in the 10:10:10 Impact campaign along with 10 governments and 10 corporate partners, which aim to promote and implement the aims of HeforShe. I think it’s brilliant that Leicester has signed up, I’m currently the PhD rep on the department of Genetics Athena Swan working group (for more information about Athena Swan at Leicester click here) so now have a much better understanding of the challenges we face in achieving gender equality in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) disciplines. So far in my career I’ve been lucky enough not to have ever felt held back by my gender but by being part of the Athena Swan group I now understand that there are certain challenges that might present themselves in the future. At Leicester we’re dedicated to try and redress this imbalance and being part of HeforShe will definitely help move the process beyond departments to something the whole university can get involved in. It’s not about choosing women over men, it’s simply about leveling the playing field. No woman expects to be chosen over a man simply because she’s a woman, however she has every right to expect that she should be considered equally.
Often in STEM some unconscious bias exists and we’re often unaware (women are as guilty as men), by raising the issue through a global campaign like HeforShe we’re drawing attention to simple things that make a big difference. I personally think HeforShe is a brilliant way to engage everyone in an equality campaign and make it relevant to all rather than just focusing on women supporting women (which is of course brilliant as well).
Finally to read what our VC had to say about HeforShe and Leicester’s involvement you can follow this link. I hope you all think HeforShe is a worthwhile cause. I personally believe it will do a brilliant job of educating both men and women about how they can help with the leveling of that long uneven playing field.
You can follow the HeforShe campaign on twitter @