University of Leicester among 10 world universities to join campaign for gender equality in the workplace

Today (5 May), President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester Professor Paul Boyle has pledged his commitment to gender equality in the workplace and spearheaded the University’s involvement in a global campaign  - the UN Women’s HeForShe solidarity movement.

The University of Leicester is among only 10 universities in the world that is behind the campaign.

The University of Leicester has joined UN Women’s HeForShe solidarity movement as an IMPACT 10x10x10 champion.  Leicester is among a select group of international institutions committing to taking bold, game-changing action to achieve gender equality within and beyond their institutions. This work will be done in partnership with UN Women, the United Nations entity dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. On September 20, 2014, UN Women introduced HeForShe, which aims to mobilize one billion men and boys in support of gender equality

HeForShe is a solidarity movement that calls upon men and boys to stand up against the persisting inequalities faced by women and girls globally. The campaign strengthens the support for women’s rights as human rights by enlisting the support of men and exhorting them to put themselves forward as advocates for gender equality. The movement is part of UN Women- 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.

Launched at a press conference at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January of 2015, HeForShe’s IMPACT 10x10x10 program engages 30 key leaders across three sectors—the public sector, private sector and academia. All 30 IMPACT champions have made common commitments and have also developed tailored commitments, formally reviewed by an expert team at UN Women and approved personally by the Executive Director of UN Women.

University of Leicester has committed to develop and implement a gender sensitization curriculum for students (training initiatives, designed to help students better understand gender issues in society), faculty and staff (including a mandatory orientation for all new students), along with programs that will address gender-based violence. It has also agreed to meet frequently with other IMPACT champions, to transparently measure and report on progress, to share best practices and to engage other universities to take up this cause.

Professor Paul Boyle said:

Men and women have a joint responsibility to achieve gender equality for societies around the world. We should aim to deliver fundamental change within a generation, so that organisations such as HeForShe become redundant and my two daughters and two sons take it for granted that they will be judged on their merits, not their gender.

The University of Leicester’s commitments to gender equality include:

  1. Closing the gap between men and women in key academic and career areas, in both directions
  2. Creating a cultural transformation around gender by raising awareness of gender norms, biases and gaps at all levels.  Ensuring this is embedded in the culture of the University, and the decisions staff and students make.
  3. Engaging men and making public the conversation around gender, providing transparency and actively monitoring progress on these issues

IMPACT champions were selected based on their reputation for strong ethical practices, their demonstrated excellence in public service, their global reach and relevance, and their willingness to use their full footprint and influence to drive and inspire change across higher education.

The University has a staff base of 3,898 (54% women) and a student base of 21,175 (52% women).