HeForShe (often referred to as He for She) is a solidarity campaign for the advancement of gender equality, initiated by the UN. Its goal is to achieve equality by encouraging both genders to partake as agents of change and take action against negative stereotypes and behaviors.[2][3] Grounded in the idea that gender inequality is an issue that affects all people—socially, economically and politically—it seeks to actively involve men and boys in a movement that was originally conceived as "a struggle for women by men".

HeForShe Logo Badge withTagline Use On White.png
Formation20 September 2014 (2014-09-20)
FounderUN Women
Key people
Ryan Lennie
Simon Pegg
Emma Watson
Kiefer Sutherland
Wolf Blitzer[1]
Parent organization
UN Women

On the HeForShe website, a geo-locating map records the global engagement of the campaign through counting the number of men and women around the world who have taken a pledge for the HeForShe initiative. The UN Women had worked toward a goal of engaging 1 million men and boys by July 2015, which was a goal they failed to meet.[4] The campaign website sustains their online engagement by including a series of implementation plan for UN agencies, individuals, and civil society, in addition to those on university and college campuses. [5] Lastly, the HeForShe campaign shows the progress of their campaign by highlighting the work of the campaign supports on their website and social media platforms. [6] 

"Initially we were asking the question, 'Do men care about gender equality?' and we found out that they do care", said Elizabeth Nyamayaro, senior adviser to the executive director of UN Women. "Then we started to get a lot of emails from men who signed up, who now want to do more." [7]


A special event was held to kick-start the HeForShe campaign on 20 September 2014 at the Headquarters of the United Nations in New York.[8] It was hosted by UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson, whose speech—about her own path to feminism and her call to involve men and boys in promoting gender equality—was widely circulated via social media.[9][10]

At that event, UN Women made a call to mobilize the first 100,000 men in the campaign, a goal successfully reached in just three days. Former United States President Barack Obama[11], actor Matt Damon, and UN Secretary-General António Guterres are among some of the high-profile male champions featured on the site.

IMPACT 10x10x10 initiativeEdit

UN Women launched the HeForShe IMPACT 10x10x10 initiative to gain further momentum in advancing gender equality and women's empowerment at the 2015 World Economic Forum in Davos on January 23, 2015.[12] The initiative was launched as a one-year pilot effort to engage governments, corporations and universities as instruments of change. IMPACT 10x10x10 targets some of the communities that most need to address women's empowerment and gender equality concerns—and those that have the greatest capacity to make and influence those changes.

Global leaders serving as IMPACT 10x10x10 founding champions include H.E. Prime Minister Mark Rutte of the Netherlands; H.E. President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone; H.E. Prime Minister Stefan Löfvén of Sweden; Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever; Rick Goings, chairman and CEO of Tupperware Brands Corporation; and Dennis Nally, chairman of PricewaterhouseCoopers International Ltd.

UN Women Executive Director and Under-Secretary-General Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka said: "HeForShe exemplifies UN Women's groundbreaking leadership on gender equality. We know where change is proving hardest. The HeForShe IMPACT initiative puts responsibility for change right where it matters—and spotlights leaders who can make it happen. The founding champions from industry and government will pave the way for others to join in, using the pilot initiatives to streamline decision-making on relevant and successful activities. Ultimately, we need everyone to get involved if we are to turn the tide."

IMPACT 10x10x10 prioritizes legislative bodies and corporations based on the severity of gender inequality in these areas, as confirmed by findings from the World Economic Forum's Global Gender Gap Report in 2014. The report highlights the large gap between men and women in terms of political empowerment and indicates that there has been little improvement in workplace equality since 2006. Universities were invited to join the impact trio because youth engagement represents one of the greatest opportunities to accelerate progress in the achievement of gender equality and the end of violence against women.

Popular British actor and UN Women Global Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson serves as the public face of the movement. She said, "The groundswell of response we have received in support for HeForShe tells us we are tapping into what the world wants: to be a part of change. Now we have to channel that energy into purposeful action. The pilot initiative provides that framework. Next we need all country leadership, as well as that of hundreds of universities and corporations to follow HeForShe's IMPACT 10x10x10 so as to bring an end to the persisting inequalities faced by women and girls globally."[13]

Colleges and UniversitiesEdit

UNAM male professors working to include more women in computer engineering by creating civic technology together.

In Mexico, the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) supports the campaign HeForShe.[14] UNAM has historically organized several events and programs to empower women, so this campaign was well aligned with the university's principles, which facilitated the university's participation.[15][16] Within the HeForShe campaign, the university has organized events where women and men collaborate and innovate together. UNAM has also opened forums where women and men share their experiences regarding discrimination, and best practices to overcome it. HeForShe has particularly offered a platform where UNAM could continue to include women, especially in tech fields.[17][18][19][20] UNAM's efforts, as well as that of other organizations in the region, have helped to position Mexico as a country with a high number of women engineers.[21][22]

Around the world, Vice Chancellors and Presidents of universities are participants in the initiative.[23]

International Women's Day Facebook conversation with Emma WatsonEdit

In celebration of International Women's Day on March 8, 2015, Emma Watson continued the HeForShe movement by hosting a live Facebook conversation in which she addressed questions and hosted an intimate conversation about gender equality.The event was attended live by 120 fans and viewed by millions more around the world as Watson galvanized a conversation about serious issues from unequal pay to why feminism should not be threatening to everyday issues including why it is okay for men to cry, chivalry and everything in between.[24]

Chase ATMs go HeForSheEdit

The UN Women's HeForShe solidarity movement for gender equality gained new exposure in early March 2015 when campaign title sponsor and leading global financial services firm JPMorgan Chase & Co. encouraged support for the movement on the screens of Chase ATMs throughout New York City and Los Angeles.[25]

"Gender equality is not just a women's issue; it's a human rights issue that benefits everyone," said a banner running on Chase ATMs through the month of March 2015, urging men and boys to stand up against the inequalities faced by women and girls globally.

HeForShe in the mediaEdit

Since its announcement with Emma Watson on 20 September 2014, the HeForShe campaign has received widespread media coverage and praise.

"In a campaign from the United Nations that seeks to promote women's rights, there is not a woman in sight—and that is deliberate. The strategy behind the campaign, which is to begin on Friday morning, is revealed by its theme 'HeForShe'—in other words, men ought to stand up for the rights of the women of the world who are their mothers, sisters and daughters. The centerpiece of the campaign is a website, heforshe.org, where visitors can watch a video clip meant to serve as a teaser that introduces the initiative."[26]

"Usually, you first have to be a woman. But not in the case of Farhan Akhtar, a Bollywood superstar—actor, singer and filmmaker—who recently became the first male ambassador for UN Women, an agency that focuses on gender equality. He's also an advocate for the UN's HeForShe campaign, designed to encourage men to stand up for gender equality."[27]

"Emma Watson launched the HeForShe campaign at the UN last week and extended a 'formal invitation' to men to participate in the conversation about gender equality. 'Gender equality is your issue, too,' said the actor and UN Women Goodwill Ambassador. Watson's speech struck a chord with many and fanned the feminist fire that is, slowly but surely, being reignited."[28]

"Watson is an ambassador for the United Nation's HeForShe campaign—a movement to remind us all that feminism really just means people treating each other with equal respect—and while discussing it last week she recalled a date who became 'tetchy' when she offered to pay for dinner. 'Awkward,' she said."[29]

"Nyamayaro—senior adviser to the Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women—Worked with Publicis Dallas, Chief Creative Officer Brad Roseberry and launched the HeForShe campaign as a means to promote solidarity among both genders to enhance the rights of women around the world."[30]


Though the HeForShe campaign has been met with some support and approval, it has also been met with widespread criticism. Some have expressed concerns that the campaign—and particularly the name of it—leaves behind individuals who suffer most from gender inequality, such as non-binary individuals.[31] Some claim that the campaign is inherently sexist for upholding the very gender stereotypes it denounces, demonstrated by the name "He for She," where it is implied the stronger male allies need to step up to defend the more sensitive and victimized women. Some critics also believe that the campaign sidelines or discriminates against men (some detractors have interpreted "HeForShe" to be a veiled grab for female superiority at men's expense disguised as a push for gender equality).[32] Some critics also note that the campaign is run by privileged women of the United Nations who have not had to endure the many struggles of gender inequality that inhibit the majority of those who suffer from it.[33]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Monde, Chiderah (22 September 2014). "Emma Watson embraces feminism, introduces 'HeForShe' campaign in speech at UN meeting". New York Daily News. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  2. ^ McDonald, Soraya Nadia (22 September 2014). "Emma Watson: Feminism too often is seen as 'man-hating'". Washington Post. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  3. ^ Suhay, Lisa (22 September 2014). "Emma Watson and HeForShe: Points to flaws in man-hating". The Christian Science Monitor. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  4. ^ 'HeForShe - Take Action' at heforshe.org
  5. ^ HeForShe website (2 October 2014). "Action Kit" (PDF). Retrieved 2 October 2014.
  6. ^ "Movement | HeForShe". www.heforshe.org. Retrieved 2019-02-20.
  7. ^ Fairchild, Caroline (December 18, 2014). "Meet the woman behind Emma Watson's viral feminism campaign". Fortune. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  8. ^ UN Women (22 September 2014). "Press release: UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson calls out to men and boys to join her campaign". UN Women. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  9. ^ Watson, Emma (22 September 2014). "Emma Watson: Gender equality is your issue too". Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  10. ^ "Emma Watson opens up about that amazing UN speech". Woman's Day. Woman's Day. Archived from the original on 8 December 2014. Retrieved 5 November 2014.
  11. ^ "About HeForSheBlog". 16 November 2014.
  12. ^ 'Emma Watson launches 10-by-10-by-10' at unwomen.org
  13. ^ Palmer, Ewan (January 23, 2015). "Davos: Emma Watson launches new HeForShe gender equality campaign at World Economic Forum". International Business Times. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  14. ^ Excelsior: 6 "La UNAM respalda la igualdad de género con 'He for She'" August 29, 201 [1] in Spanish. Retrieved September 24, 2016.
  15. ^ "UNAM se adhiere al programa He For She de la ONU". Retrieved 3 January 2017.
  16. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2016-10-04. Retrieved 2016-09-24.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  17. ^ "Ser ingeniera en los tiempos de Agustín Lara". Retrieved 3 January 2017.
  18. ^ Redacción. ""Hackatón" une a mujeres para crear casas inteligentes". Retrieved 3 January 2017.
  19. ^ "Primer Hackathon #FixIT UNAM México / Coordinación de Comunicación". Retrieved 3 January 2017.
  20. ^ "Latina hackathon FixIT a great success - UCSB Computer Science". Retrieved 3 January 2017.
  21. ^ nhendryx (19 July 2013). "Today's Mexican High Potentials at Work". Retrieved 3 January 2017.
  22. ^ "The Women Who Are Changing Mexico's Cities - TheCityFix". Retrieved 3 January 2017.
  23. ^ "Our Impact Champions". Retrieved 3 January 2017.
  24. ^ McKenzie, Sheena (March 9, 2015). "Emma Watson: Don't let anyone tell you what you can or cannot achieve". CNN. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  25. ^ Angulo, Natalia (March 12, 2015). "JPM's NYC, LA ATMs Going HeForShe in March". Fox Business. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  26. ^ Elliott, Stuart (March 7, 2014). "U.N. Women's Rights Group Seeks Men's Support". The New York Times. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  27. ^ Westcott, Lucy. "Bollywood Star Farhan Akhtar on Being U.N. Women's First Male Ambassador". Newsweek. Newsweek. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  28. ^ Emma, Herman (October 3, 2014). "Emma Watson's UN gender equality campaign is an invitation to men, too". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  29. ^ Guest, Katy. "Chivalry is dead, long live common courtesy". The Independent. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  30. ^ "U.N. Women's Rights Group Seeks Men's Support". NY Times. NY Times. Retrieved 7 March 2015.
  31. ^ xoJANE (2014-09-26). "Sorry Privileged White Ladies, But Emma Watson Isn't A 'Game Changer' For Feminism". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 2016-10-27.
  32. ^ Young, Cathy. "Sorry, Emma Watson, but HeForShe Is Rotten for Men". TIME.com. Retrieved 2016-10-27.
  33. ^ "Four reasons I won't be one of the men signing Emma Watson's #HeForShe pledge". A Voice for Men. 2014-09-29.

External linksEdit