HeForShe promotes gender equality


Shawn Paik

Gerardo Porteny Backal talks about the HeForShe movement in GCASL on Monday.

Lexi Faunce, Contributing Writer

In an attempt to combat persisting inequality faced by women and girls around the world, the Student Senators Council hosted HeforShe at the Global Center for Academic and Spiritual Life on Monday.

HeforShe is a solidarity movement that calls upon men to stand up against gender discrimination and support women’s rights. UN Women founded HeForShe to combat issues including economic inequality, political inequality and domestic violence. The event focused on educating students about the campaign’s goals and provided them with information on how to get involved in the movement.

Gerardo Porteny Backal, president of Young Men 4 Gender Equality at NYU, spoke at the event and said the HeForShe movement helps men become change agents in order to combat gender inequality.

“We are the generation of the present and we can create change right now,” Backal said. “It’s not just women’s rights, it’s
human rights.”

Women in the United States only make 72 cents to every dollar that men make. Less than 1 percent on Forbes’s list of the top 500 CEOs in the world are women.

“These facts have caught the attention of advocates everywhere ranging from government leaders, celebrities and students, all wanting to join the fight against gender discrimination,” Backal said. “Everyone is encouraged to get involved in the movement.”

Steinhardt sophomore Naomi O’Reilly said she was inspired by Emma Watson’s speech vouching for the HeForShe campaign and admired her for advocating such a controversial issue. O’Reilly wanted to attend the presentation in order to show her support for the movement.

“Women have been oppressed for so long and we are now slowly beginning to make progress,” O’Reilly said. “I admire how the movement is put together and I believe it will be really successful.”

College of Nursing sophomore and member of the Delta Phi fraternity Rowen Diano Il said he was inspired to join the movement after attending the event.

“I’ve always been into women’s rights,” Diano Il said. “Being part of Delta Phi, it’s good to show women and girls that we care and don’t fall into the stereotypes fraternities may portray.”

NYU will create its own HeForShe campus chapter this Sunday to commemorate International Women’s Day. The university will become one of the first 10 schools in the nation to support the movement.

CAS senior Margaret Velasquez said men should not feel isolated in the push for women’s rights.

“I’m definitely for bringing more men into this movement,” Velasquez said. “It is an issue that everyone should be engaged in, and the idea of having a HeForShe campaign on campus is great.”

Backal said the campaign makes great strides for women’s rights and directly affects everyone’s lives.

“Everyone knows an influential woman, whether it be a mother, sister, teacher or mentor, that has impacted our lives,” Backal said. “We must continue to support their fight for equality.”

A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, Mar. 3 print edition. Email Lexi Faunce at [email protected].