HeForShe Launch Event and Forum: “He” Role in Global Gender Equality, Remarks by Miwa Kato, Regional Director

Date: Saturday, November 19, 2016


Honorable Ms. Chan Hoi Fan, Acting Chief Executive of Macao SAR Government, Honorable Mr. Yao Jian, Deputy Director of Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Macao SAR, Honorable Mr. Pan Yundong, Deputy Commissioner of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China in the Macao SAR, and Honorable Ms. Ho Teng Iat, Chairwoman of Women’s General Association of Macau.

Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

On behalf of UN Women, I want to begin by thanking you all for your participation in this event, which is part of the HeForShe global solidarity movement for gender equality. Today we are here to celebrate the HeForShe spirit through the launch of the campaign in Macau, at this Forum: “He” Role in Global Gender Equality. We are very grateful for your support to UN Women and for your commitment to our common goal of advancing women’s empowerment in China and beyond.

Photo: General Women’s Association of Macau

For more than a century much has been achieved by the feminist movement and women’s rights organizations in promoting gender equality. As we stand today, we will close the educational gap by 2086, we will achieve equal pay for women by 2089. We cannot wait this long! By engaging men and boys in the path to gender equality, we can reach parity faster.

The idea that we all can and should take actions brings me to HeForShe, a global solidarity movement for gender equality that was launched just two years ago by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and UN Women Global Goodwill Ambassador, Emma Watson. The campaign seeks to engage men and boys as agents of change and as advocates for the rights of women and girls, by encouraging them to stand up, speak out and take action against the inequalities that women and girls face. This is the first campaign of its kind at the United Nations. We want to try to mobilize as many men and boys as possible to be advocates for change. And, we don’t just want to talk about it; we want bold and concrete action. And we need you for achieving that.

The HeForShe conference was watched over 11 million times, sparking 1.2 billion social media conversations, culminating in the #HeForShe hashtag becoming so popular that Twitter painted it on the walls of its headquarters. And men from almost every country in the world signed up to our commitment. In the words of UN Women Global Goodwill Ambassador, Emma Watson, “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.”

At the heart of HeForShe is the understanding that achieving gender equality in our lifetimes is possible, but only if we engage men as partners for women’s rights, and acknowledge the ways in which they also benefit from this equality. Being a HeForShe means to join a struggle that for gender equality that for too long was seen as the business of women alone, as equal partners in helping to realize a common vision that will benefit not just women but all of humanity.

Quoting our Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon “HeForShe has signed up fathers who want to raise empowered daughters; leaders who know their societies will be stronger when there are as many women in parliament and in business as men; and ordinary people who are fed up with violence and discrimination against women - and want to be part of a global force for change.”

HeForShe invites people to come together as equal partners to craft a shared vision of a gender equal world and implement specific, locally relevant solutions for the good of all of humanity. This is a unique opportunity to know about possible practices of promoting gender equality in different social sectors and learn about opinions from various perspectives. We want to bring all of these powerful voices together to achieve real change. Let’s work together because gender inequality is everybody’s business!

On behalf of UN Women, we thank the Government of Macau and the General Women’s Association of Macau for organizing this event and launching the HeForShe campaign in the Special Administrative Region of Macau. We hope that this event is the first in a series of collaborations to promote gender equality in greater China.

Thank you.