UN Ambassador Emma Watson, “The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and a slew of other notable individuals came together Tuesday night to advocate for gender equality around the world.
The event, which took place at New York City’s Museum of Modern Art, celebrated the second anniversary of the UN Women’s initiative HeForShe, which launched in 2014 when Watson gave her now-iconic speech galvanizing men to join the fight for gender equality.
Watson gave another riveting speech Tuesday night in honor of HeForShe’s new Impact 10x10x10 initiative, which aims to achieve gender parity in universities around the world. The initiative is part of HeForShe’s campaign Impact 10x10x10 which partners with governments, corporations and universities in different capacities to fight for gender equality. One of the commitments in the initiative is to stop sexual violence on university campuses around the world.
“In the last two years if I have learned anything, it is that nothing is impossible,” the 26-year-old actress told the crowd.
Listen to Watson’s full speech from Tuesday night speech below. (She even quotes Michelle Obama!)
To launch the University Impact 10x10x10 Parity initiative, HeForShe published a report Tuesday morning outlining the gender breakdown of undergraduate and graduate students, full-time faculty, tenured professors and senior leadership of 10 universities around the world representing 8 countries on 5 continents.
The gender gap in academia has been a persistent problem not only in the U.S., but also around the world. In the U.S., men out-rank women in faculty positions and out-earn women at higher levels. Women of color are also greatly under-represented in tenured positions.
The participating universities, which include Georgetown University, the University of Oxford, Nagoya University and the University of São Paulo., each made three underlying commitments as part of the campaign. These commitments include: implementing gender sensitization education for students, faculty and staff; developing programs to address gender-based violence on campus; and championing IMPACT 10x10x10 at their own university.
Each university also made individual commitments to achieve by the year 2020, including closing the gender gap in academia administration and creating university centers that focus on gender equality. Four of the 10 universities committed to end sexual violence on their campuses.
Below is the gender breakdown of the 10 universities included in the Impact 10x10x10 University Parity Report.
Sexual violence on college campuses is a rampant problem around the world. In the U.S., one in 5 women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted at college. Transgender students are even more vulnerable to sexual assault and often experience sexual assault at higher rates.
“Across all IMPACT Universities, tackling gender-based violence is regarded as an absolute priority,” a HeForShe press release reads. “Charting a path for other universities to follow, the models under creation at IMPACT universities are central to the global campaign to eradicate gender-based violence.”
As Watson said in an earlier HeForShe speech at the UN headquarters Tuesday morning, every student on university campuses around the world needs to know they are safe from sexual violence.
“The [university] experience must make it clear that the safety of women, minorities and anyone who may be vulnerable is a right and not a privilege,” she said. “A right that will be respected by a community that believes and supports survivors and that recognizes that when one persons safety is violated, everyone feels their own safety is violated.”
Head over to HeForShe to read more about the initiative.