JOHANNESBURG – UN Women released their report where leading global universities lay out plans to speed up implementation of gender equality in classrooms, boardrooms and world capitals in the HeForShe IMPACT 10X10X10 initiative. It includes 10 Heads of State, 10 CEOs and 10 university presidents from all five continents, including South Africa’s University of the Witwatersrand.

In total, the ten universities have committed to monitoring their progress on closing the gender gap in administration; academia and creating centres of excellence in gender equality, in the face of rising global university graduation rates of millennials.

The report addresses three important critical imbalances that universities, namely the ratio of men to women represented in university faculty and senior administrative positions; the fields of study selected by young women versus young men; and the number of female students at universities compared to their equal access to academic and professional career tracks.

Secretary-General and Executive Director for UN Women, Pumzile Mblambo-Ncuka, emphasised the impact each generation of university graduates has on making global change. “Now that our IMPACT Champions are leading such well-targeted initiatives to tackle current barriers to gender equality, we can look to these cadres of HeForShe graduates, and the changing profiles of academia, with renewed hope.”

Gender based violence at universities has been given an absolute priority as 40% of IMPACT universities have committed to ending violence on campus, aiming for zero tolerance to sexual violence, provide training for faculties, admin and students on how to tackle sexual assault in order to provide a safe and conducive learning environment for men and women to learn.

“I see the face of the new global agenda as that of a 12-year-old girl, in school, not forced into marriage or work. It is the face of a 20-year-old woman, at university, creating and sharing knowledge. This is the importance of the HeForShe IMPACT 10X10X10 Initiative.” said Irina Bokova, Director-General of UNESCO.

For more information on this initiative, you can visit their website at or find them on Facebook and Twitter (@HeforShe).

Categories: Education News