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Universities around the world have joined forces with UN Women to tackle gender inequality.
Announced on the second anniversary of the UN Women’s HeForShe movement, ten universities have pledged to be committed to achieving gender equality and ending violence on campus.
The universities include two from the UK; University of Oxford and Unversity of Leicester alongside Georgetown University; University of Hong Kong; Nagoya University; University of Sao Paulo; Sciences Po; Stony Brook University; University of Waterloo; and the University of the Witwatersrand.
The announcement comes as UN Women have released the first HeForShe IMPACT 10X10X10 University Parity Report. The report highlights the imbalances between the ratio of men to women in faculty and senior administrative positions; the subjects study by women compared to men; and the number of female students compared to their equal access to academic and professional career tracks.
A statement released by HeForShe said, “One in three women worldwide is known to experience some form of physical or sexual violence in her lifetime.”
“Many more victims remain silent due to shame, guilt, or fear.”
“Men and boys are also the victims of physical and sexual violence; while gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer students may be targeted on the basis of their sexual or gender identity.”
The University of Leicester and Oxford are both aiming to establish 30 per cent of women in their faculty by 2020, while Oxford is also offering students a mobile app to report sexual violence.
Despite the university’s pledging their commitment to gender equality, founder of HeForShe and senior adviser to the under secretary-general UN Women, Elizabeth Nyamayaro has argued that more could come forward.
Speaking to the Telegraph, Nyamayaro said, “The moment we had one or two signed up, we saw people reaching out to us.”
“We did notice we had many more universities [interested] than the 10 positions we could accommodate, but the moment we started asking for concrete transparency and commitment they fell off the radar.”
“We’re not saying this is the perfect group but these are the ones being committed to being transformative and groundbreaking.”
Speaking at a press conference, Emma Watson, actress and UN Women goodwill ambassador said, “A university should be a place of refuge that takes action against all forms of violence.”