The University of Leicester played host to the launch of the inaugural UN Women’s HeForShe #GetFree Tour.
The HeForShe GetFree Tour is a UN campaign to try and achieve gender equality throughout the world and bring a global conversation on the issue to young people.
The GetFree Tour is supposed to enable students to express themselves and explore their own understanding of gender issues, empowering them to take a lead in advancing equality in their environments and communities.
Starting from the University of Leicester, the HeForShe GetFree Tour will visit six universities in the U.K. and France: University of Cambridge, Imperial College London, University of Leicester, the London School of Economics and Political Science, University of Nottingham, University College of London, and the Paris Institute of Political Science (Institut d’études politiques de Paris) respectively.
The University of Leicester and the Paris Institute of Political Science are part of HeForShe’s IMPACT 10x10x10 programme, which engages ten leaders across three sectors to drive systemic change.
“It’s this generation of young people who will be the ones to steer our societies and our economies into the living reality of what it means to be equal. Their energy and dedication to making this change happen are inspiring,” said Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women, introducing the initiative. “The GetFree tour is a perfect way for us to connect directly with thousands of students. We are grateful to the universities for their warm welcome and hope that this is just the beginning of a journey around the world on the road to gender equality.”
President and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Leicester Professor Paul Boyle said: “We look forward to welcoming the United Nations for the start of their HeForShe UK Roadshow here at the University of Leicester on 29th September.
“Our status as worldwide champions of HeForShe is both a great privilege and a huge responsibility. We have been vested with the challenge of making transformational advances in gender equality and being a beacon for the rest of the world. We 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.”
Minister for Women and Equalities and Loughborough MP Nicky Morgan said: “Acts of violence against women and girls are abhorrent and have no place in our society. I am determined to relentlessly drive a culture change to support victims and survivors, which is why initiatives like HeForShe are so important. I’m delighted Leicester has been chosen to be part of this amazing campaign and hope to see more universities doing whatever they can to protect women.
“We are taking a range of actions to protect women and girls, including the Bystander Intervention Initiative for universities to empower students to stand up to domestic violence and sexual harassment when they see it and an inquiry into campus safety.”
The GetFree Tour will feature prominent personalities including Nicky Morgan who will join university leaders and students to discuss the relevance and meaning of gender equality to universities in the 21st century.