Launching HeForShe at Leicester

Why movements like HeForShe are important in helping to achieve gender equality and describe their hopes for the future.

On 29 September 2015, the University officially launched its HeForShe partnership with the United Nations as one of ten universities worldwide to be HeForShe Impact Champions.

We were delighted to welcome our partners from the United Nations HeForShe team at the start of their #GetFreeTour in September and October. We were equally delighted to see over 450 students and staff at our special launch event.

This was a pivotal day in our quest to advance gender equality and in our HeForShe partnership. We launched our unique and very special video and its messages of support. It's thought-provoking and we don’t mind saying, impressive - many thanks to Hayley Evans, Amy Cory and our creative team.

We were also proud that 21 of our academic staff personally presented their gender-related research in a special exhibition that also included a display of our Inspirational Women at Leicester award recipients, which had been conferred earlier in the year on International Women’s Day.

At our launch event, we listened to an inspiring speech from our President and Vice-Chancellor, who set out our specific commitments and announced the creation of a new role, a university-wide Ambassador for Equalities and Diversities.

We were moved by Elizabeth Nyamayaro, the Assistant Director UN Women and Head of HeForShe. We were encouraged by Nicky Morgan, the then-Secretary of State for Education and Minister for Women. We were inspired by presentations on their great research by Dr Kate Mendes (Media and Communications) and Dr Lisa Smith (Criminology) and we were informed by a lively conversation between our Provost (Professor Mark Peel) and Students’ Union President Rachel Holland. Finally, participants took time to record one thing they would like Leicester HeForShe to achieve. We thank all those who gave us their ideas and comments. The following themes arose from those recordings:

  • Sexism and derogatory language
  • Lad culture
  • Women in sport
  • Gender imbalance in degree courses
  • Careers events which consider diversities
  • Women in STEM
  • Women in leadership positions

Commit today to change the future, stand up for gender equality today. Be #LeicesterHeForShe.