Time for action – standing up for gender equality with HeForShe

The University of Nottingham is excited to welcome the inaugural HeForShe #GetFree Tour to campus for a vital discussion on the importance of gender equality.

On Wednesday 30 September, the University will host talks from senior University staff, the Students’ Union, representatives from UN Women and a keynote speech from Emma Barnett, Women’s Editor of The Telegraph and University of Nottingham alumna.

Launched in September 2014 by the United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson, HeForShe is a new effort to bring a global conversation on gender equality to people around the world. The HeForShe #GetFree Tour will encourage students, staff and the public to explore their understanding of gender issues, empowering them to take a lead in advancing equality in their environments and communities.

Kick starting the conversation

As well as The University of Nottingham, the HeForShe #GetFree Tour will visit five other universities in the UK and France: University of Cambridge, Imperial College London, University of Leicester, the London School of Economics and Political Science, University College of London, and the Paris Institute of Political Science (Institut d’études politiques de Paris).

The event at The University of Nottingham will be introduced by Professor Sir David Greenaway, featuring talks from Emma Barnett and Rob Jennings, Students’ Union Activities Officer, and a panel debate with Professor Karen Cox, Deputy Vice-Chancellor, Angharad Smith, President of the Students’ Union and Jessica McGhie, HeForShe IMPACT Corporate Champion. As part of the #GetFree Tour and to open up the gender debate to new students, the Students’ Union set up a mural during Welcome Week for students to share their feelings, and see this as an opportunity to kick start a conversation which can be built on in future.

Angharad Smith, President of the Students’ Union, said: “With the HeForShe movement coming to Nottingham, we are using this opportunity to bring together a variety of student groups to start an Umbrella campaign led by students to tackle concepts such as ‘lad culture’ and issues such as sexual consent, gender inequality and sexual violence. At 6pm on Wednesday October 7 we will be meeting in the Hub in the Students Union to discuss these matters to give all of our students the opportunity to have their voices heard.”

Asking men to speak out for gender equality

The University of Nottingham was an early adopter of the Athena SWAN Charter, which recognises good employment practice for women working in science, engineering and technology in higher education and research, and is one of only five universities with a Silver Award. However there is still much work to be done, which is why the University has teamed up with HeForShe to offer students, staff and the community the opportunity to come together in a united voice at the start of the academic year.

Professor Sir David Greenaway, Vice-Chancellor at The University of Nottingham, said: “I am looking forward to this event, which is a fantastic opportunity for us to showcase our values as a University. We fully support the HeForShe agenda and recognise the importance in encouraging men to speak out and stand up for gender equality. Our staff and students are working together on this, and by hosting this event on our University Park Campus we hope to raise awareness of these issues to staff, students and our local community.”

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women, said: “It is this generation of young people who will be the ones to steer our societies and our economies into the living reality of what it means to be equal. Their energy and dedication to making this change happen are inspiring. The GetFree tour is a perfect way for us to connect directly with thousands of students. We are grateful to the universities for their warm welcome and hope that this is just the beginning of a journey around the world on the road to gender equality.”

About UN Women and HeForShe

UN Women is the UN entity dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. A global champion for women and girls, UN Women was established to accelerate progress on meeting their needs worldwide. For more information, visit http://www.unwomen.org

Created by UN Women, the HeForShe solidarity movement for gender equality provides a systematic approach and targeted platform on which men and boys can engage and become change agents towards the achievement of gender equality. HeForShe invites men and boys to build on the work of the women’s movement as equal partners, crafting and implementing a shared vision of gender equality that will benefit all of humanity. For more information, visit http://www.heforshe.org/

More information and registration details

The University’s HeForShe Forum takes place at 2.30pm, Wednesday 30 September at Keighton Auditorium, University Park. All welcome. Follow the conversations on Twitter using #HeForShe and #GetFreeTourUK, or book your place online.

Image (left to right): Dan Rattigan, Education Officer, Emma Ehrenberg, Women’s Officer, Rob Jennings, Activities Officer and Emma Quaedvlieg, Women’s Officer. Pictured with HeForShe mural, collecting quotes about gender equality from University of Nottingham students.

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