Event Report: HeForShe Plus One! (UN Women)
On Saturday, June 30, UN Women Tokyo Office hosted an event titled “HeForShe Plus One!” at U Thant International Conference Hall, United Nations University.
HeForShe is a UN Women-led global solidarity movement for promoting women’s empowerment. Launched in September 2014 by then UN General Secretary Ban Kimoon and UN Women Global Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson, HeForShe primarily aims to involve more men in the efforts for gender equality, but anyone can show their support for the movement through submitting their signatures online.
“HeForShe Plus One” marked the launching of the Japanese website for HeForShe. The program consisted of an opening performance by Waseda University Shockers, all-men cheerleading team, followed by two panel discussions between prominent guests and UN Women Executive Director of UN Women Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.
Emphasizing the importance of men’s involvement in gender equality promotion, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka explained that the privileged ones recognizing their own privileges is the first step in any social justice efforts. Understanding the structural issues rendering the playing field disadvantageous for various minority groups is essential in creating an egalitarian society. For Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka, achievement of gender equality also critically depends on men’s realization of their privileges and fixing of the social structure that perpetuates men’s domination of privileges. Thus, inclusive solidarity initiatives like HeForShe is very meaningful. “Recreate the world and future you want,” Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka delivered a strong message to the younger generation attending the event.
Young people have already started recreating their future. At HeForShe Plus One!, two student-led groups were on stage - HeForSheNU, an official HeForShe club at Nagoya University, and EMPOWER Project, a student organization at the University of Tokyo working for “not leaving anyone behind.” In the audience, there were representatives of several student-led groups working towards gender equality and eradication of sexual violence at their respective universities. These groups gathered for a brief time after the event, and promised to make cooperative efforts to empower women and promote social inclusion.
Learn more about HeForSheNU: https://www.instagram.com/heforshenu758/
Learn more about EMPOWER project: https://tinyurl.com/yxoehoxa
Article written by Yuki Nakao, Co-founder of WE Int.