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HeForShe Logo Badge withTagline Use On White.png
Emblem of the United Nations.svg
Formation20 September 2014 (2014-09-20)
FounderUN Women
Key people
Emma Watson
Elizabeth Nyamayaro
Winston Duke
Edgar Ramirez[1]
Parent organization
UN Women

HeForShe, often referred to as He for She, is a solidarity movement for the advancement of gender equality, initiated by the United Nations. Grounded in the idea that gender inequality is an issue that affects all people, socially, economically and politically, HeForShe is a global effort that seeks to involve men and boys in achieving equality by taking action against negative gender stereotypes and behaviors.[2] Its logo represents the union of women and men working together to achieve gender equality, by joining together aspects of both the female and male symbols.[3]

Since its launch at the United Nations, on 20 September 2014, by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and UN Women Global Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson, millions of men from around the world including Heads of State, CEOs, and global luminaries have committed to gender equality. On the HeForShe website, a geo-locating map records the global engagement of the movement through counting the number of men and women around the world who have taken a pledge for the HeForShe initiative, registering over 2.1 million online commitments worldwide.[4]

When launching the movement in September 2014, Global Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson held a speech in the United Nations Headquarters in New York, mainly focusing on the personal and professional motivation for establishing HeForShe.[5] The speech went viral and currently has 3.8 million views on YouTube.[6]

As studies show that 257 more years will be necessary to close the gender gap,[7] and with 95% of the world's CEOs and heads of states being men,[8][9] male allyship is more than necessary. The commitment of men with power and privilege can be a major game-changer for gender equality and hopes that the human stories and scalable, proven solutions will provide a roadmap to progress and help to shape the robust men's movement for gender equality, which is needed now more than ever.[10]


A special event was held to kick-start the HeForShe movement on 20 September 2014 at the Headquarters of the United Nations in New York City.[11] It was hosted by UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson, whose speech about her call to involve men and boys in promoting gender equality was widely circulated via social media.[12][13] The video of the launch has over 11 million online views and there were 1.1 million #HeForShe tweets by more than 750,000 different users within two weeks. The launch was named by Twitter as a catalytic moment of 2014 and painted the hashtag on its wall in its HQ.[14]

At that event, UN Women made a call to mobilize the first 100,000 men in the movement, a goal successfully reached in just three days. Former United States President Barack Obama,[15] actor Matt Damon, singer Harry Styles,[16] and UN Secretary-General António Guterres [17] are among some of the high-profile male featured on the site. As of July 2020, over 220 000 people have committed online in India, 200 000 in Rwanda, 170 000 in the Democratic Republic of Congo, 150 000 in the US and 130 000 in Mexico.[18]

HeForShe was launched by UN Women's Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka and led by her former Senior Advisor Elizabeth Nyamayaro until 2019. Since then, HeForShe has been led by Edward Wageni, former director of Save The Children International Kenya.[19]


Global Leaders as role models[edit]

On 23 January 2015, 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.[20] The HeForShe Champions initiative is a unique ecosystem that engages 10 world leaders, 10 global CEOs and 10 university presidents to address some of today's most pressing gender issues. Each Champion has made three specific, measurable and transformative commitments towards achieving gender equality. The unwavering commitment of the HeForShe Champions is providing the leadership needed to reach the goal of gender equality in society.[21] Global leaders serving as the founding champions include former H.E. President Ernest Bai Koroma of Sierra Leone; H.E. Prime Minister Stefan Löfvén of Sweden; Paul Polman, former CEO of Unilever; Rick Goings, former chairman and CEO of Tupperware Brands Corporation. [22]

In 2016, the Thematic Champions initiative was launched to engage further global leaders, who make gender equality an institutional priority by implementing one bold, game-changing commitments to advance and achieve gender equality. As of July 2020, the Thematic Champions included Justin Trudeau, PM from Canada; Jean-Laurent Bonnafé, CEO of BNP Paribas; Bruce Cleaver, CEO from De Beers Group.[23]

As part of these initiatives, HeForShe has been holding an annual summit since 2015, where global HeForShe Champions from both initiatives and other high-profile people present their gender equality solutions to the world.[24]

Parity in Global Leadership[edit]

The HeForShe Proven Solution on How to Achieve Parity in Global Leadership was produced as several HeForShe Champions’ organisations including Price Waterhouse Coppers, World Bank, McKinsey & Company whom all have increased female representation in their global leadership team, setting out a roadmap for other organizations.

Emerging Solutions for Gender Equality[edit]

The annual HeForShe Emerging Solutions for Gender Equality Report contains concrete emerging solutions on how to achieve gender equality. These solutions address a wide range of issues, including closing the gender pay gap, ending gender-based and sexual violence, and achieving parity across society.

Male Allies Guide[edit]

The HeForShe Male Allies Guide for Gender Equality – Tips for Understanding and Managing Your Emotions, was built on a programme pioneered by the Government of Finland, a HeForShe IMPACT Champion, to enlist army conscripts to prevent violence against women.[25][26]

Inspiring Individual and Community Action[edit]


To raise awareness on gender equality challenges such as mental load, gender-based violence and discrimination, and to engage men in the conversation, HeForShe holds on a regular basis campaigns on social media along side the in-person global caimpaings. These include What We Share Is More Powerful Than What Divides Us, #MorePowerfulTogether, #YearOfMaleAllyship and #HeForSheAtHome.[27]


Launched in September 2018, the #MorePowerfulTogether campaign invited landmarks around the world, most notably The Empire State Building in New York City, the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, and the CN Tower in Toronto, to turn off half their lights to demonstrate the power lost when women are underrepresented from society, economies and communities.[28]


As a response to COVID-19, as gender inequalities, particularly of women in the home, became increasingly apparent when it comes to housework, cleaning and caring for children, the sick or the elderly, HeForShe launched the #HeForSheAtHome campaign to inspire men to help balance the burden in their households. In sharing the stories of positive male role models sharing the work at home from all over the world, #HeForSheAtHome seeks to inspire many more to do their fair share and to reduce women's mental load.[29]

Country-level initiatives[edit]

The success of HeForShe can be seen through the Civil Society's numerous and impactful actions worldwide. HeForShe Taverns have been set up throughout South Africa to initiate conversations with men about engaging with women without being abusive in taverns, as they are mostly men-dominated.[30] Further HeForShe Equality Stories include boys and men cycling through rural India to shift positively traditional gender norms,[31] and boys and men redefining masculinity in Jordan.[32] Students engage very much, as a #GetFree tour was organised throughout universities to initiative gender equality ideas in North America, and over 100 HeForShe student clubs are active worldwide.[33] The Civil Society is able to engage via the online HeForShe Action Kit.[34]

HeForShe in Sports[edit]

HeForShe has been partnering with numerous organisations to advance gender equality in sports, including the Valencia Club de Fútbol (CF), one of Europe's major football teams[35] and Fenerbahçe Sports Club, one of Turkey's most popular sports club.[36] The HeForShe Champions also engage by raising awareness on gender equality through their own sports events such as the Danone Nations Cup[37] and the BNP Paribas Tennis Open.[38]


While HeForShe has been met for the most part with support and approval, HeForShe has also been met with criticism. Although HeForShe has actively represented LGBTQ+ issues alongside sister campaign United Nations Free & Equal,[39] some have expressed concerns that the name of the movement leaves behind non-binary individuals.[40] HeForShe states its goal to engage cisgender men (the "He") as allies to all other gender identities, i.e. the focus of UN Women (the "She"), the full name of which is the Global Entity for Gender Equality and therefore is aimed at addressing all forms of inequality.

See also[edit]


  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. ^ Emma Herman (3 October 2014). "Emma Watson's UN gender equality campaign is an invitation to men, too". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 October 2014.
  3. ^ Brand New (1 October 2014). "Of Women and Men". Under Consideration. Retrieved 1 October 2014.
  4. ^ "HeForShe". HeForShe. Retrieved 17 July 2020.
  5. ^ "Emma Watson Gender equality is your issue too". UN Women.
  6. ^ "Emma Watson at the HeForShe Campaign 2014 - Official UN Video".
  7. ^ World Economic Forum (16 December 2019). "Mind the 100 Year gap". World Economic Forum. Retrieved 16 December 2019.
  8. ^ UN Women. "Facts and figures: Leadership and political participation". UN Women.
  9. ^ Emma Hichliffe (18 May 2020). "The number of female CEOs in the Fortune 500 hits an all-time record". Fortune. Retrieved 18 May 2020.
  10. ^ HeForShe (2019). "2019 Impact Report" (PDF). HeForShe. Retrieved 15 July 2019.
  11. ^ 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.
  12. ^ Emma Watson (22 September 2014). "Emma Watson: Gender equality is your issue too". UN Women. Retrieved 22 September 2014.
  13. ^ Woman's Day (8 December 2014). "Emma Watson opens up about that amazing UN speech". Woman's Day. Retrieved 8 December 2014.
  14. ^ Shorty Awards (April 2015). "UN Women's #HeForShe solidarity movement for gender equality". Shorty Awards.
  15. ^ UN Women (29 February 2020). "Support the HeForShe Campaign!". UN Women. Retrieved 29 February 2020.
  16. ^ RTE (27 September 2014). "Harry Styles support Watson's #HeForShe campaign". RTE. Retrieved 27 September 2014.
  17. ^ Sophie Edwards (29 November 2017). "Where should the UN's HeForShe campaign go from here". Devex. Retrieved 29 November 2017.
  18. ^ HeForShe. "HeForShe". HeForShe. Retrieved 20 July 2020.
  19. ^ UN Women (18 June 2019). "Opening remarks by Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka at the 2019 annual session of the UN Women Executive Board in New York". UN Women. Retrieved 18 June 2019.
  20. ^ UN Women (23 January 2015). "Press release: UN Women launches HeForShe IMPACT 10x10x10 Initiative". UN Women. Retrieved 23 January 2015.
  21. ^ HeForShe. "2019 Impact Report" (PDF). HeForShe. Retrieved 15 July 2019.
  22. ^ HeForShe. "HeForShe Impact". HeForShe. Retrieved 6 July 2020.
  23. ^ HeForShe. "HeForShe Impact". HeForShe. Retrieved 6 July 2020.
  24. ^ UN Women. "HeForShe Impact Summit". UN Women. Retrieved 6 July 2020.
  25. ^ UN Women (26 September 2018). "Press release: Queen Rania Al-Abdullah, of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, UN Women Goodwill Ambassador Anne Hathaway and actor Winston Duke make global call to action for gender equality at the HeForShe IMPACT Summit". UN Women. Retrieved 26 September 2018.
  26. ^ HeForShe. "HeForShe Emerging Solutions for Gender Equality" (PDF). HeForShe. Retrieved 6 July 2020.
  27. ^ UN Women (15 April 2020). "HeForShe launches #HeForSheAtHome campaign". UN Women. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  28. ^ Thorbecke, Catherine (25 September 2018). "Why global landmarks are turning off half their lights for gender equality". ABC News. Retrieved 25 September 2018.
  29. ^ UN Women (15 April 2020). "HeForShe launches #HeForSheAtHome campaign". UN Women. Retrieved 15 April 2020.
  30. ^ Luckhoff, Paula (5 October 2019). "#HeForShe: Tavern owners taking a stand against gender-based violence".
  31. ^ HeForShe. "HeForShe Equality Stories". HeForShe. Retrieved 17 July 2020.
  32. ^ HeForShe (17 July 2020). "Wheels of Change". HeForShe.
  33. ^ HeForShe (29 October 2018). "#GetFree Press Release". HeForShe. Retrieved 29 October 2018.
  34. ^ HeForShe (15 April 2020). "HeForShe Action Kits". HeForShe. Retrieved 17 July 2020.
  35. ^ Caspani, Maria (27 May 2015). "Spanish football club Valencia kicks into U.N. campaign for women's equality". Sports News. Retrieved 27 May 2015.
  36. ^ HeForShe. "On International Women's Day, HeForShe and Fenerbahçe Sports Club urges women's empowerment in and through sport". HeForShe. Retrieved 17 July 2020.
  37. ^ HeForShe (13 December 2017). "Danone Nations Cup Awareness Facebook Video". HeForShe. Retrieved 17 July 2020.
  38. ^ We Are Tennis BNP Paribas. "La journée internationale du droit des femmes à Indian Wells". We Are Tennis BNP Paribas. Retrieved 17 July 2020.
  39. ^ "United Nations Free & Equal". Retrieved 17 July 2020.
  40. ^ xoJANE (26 September 2014). "Sorry Privileged White Ladies, But Emma Watson Isn't A 'Game Changer' For Feminism". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 27 October 2016.

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