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Equality is not just for women: UN Women’s campaign in Bonn recognized for excellence

Equality is not just for women : UN Women’s campaign in Bonn recognized for excellence

“HeForShe” has men and women working together to overcome gender stereotypes and clichés. For their efforts in this campaign, the UN Women of Bonn were recognized at the Old Town Hall in Bonn city center.

There is no freedom of men when there is no freedom of women. This is how the women's rights activist Hedwig Dohm put it. She was far ahead of her time when in 1876 she named a paradigm that has only recently been established in feminism and the women's movement: Equality is not a woman's thing, but a human right that affects men to the same extent. The worldwide UN Women solidarity campaign "HeForShe" mobilizes men and women to work together against gender clichés and gender stereotypes. For this effort, it was recognized for excellence by the German Committee of UN Women and the City of Bonn. The ceremony took place at the Old Town Hall in Bonn.

Men must be part of the solution, not the problem, Robert Franken said. He is ambassador of the campaign. Men, too, are confronted with expectations and ideas about what is right for them. One example is that they are expected to take on the role as breadwinner of the family. To break away from such embedded thoughts also means for them a liberation and a possibility of self-determination. "On the question of how we want to live and work in the future, men have to contribute their 50 percent share," says Franken. A better world works only with equal rights. "So if you want to change something, you should first become a feminist", because without full participation of all genders, neither economy, politics nor society can exploit their full potential.

In Iceland, this connection has been fully understood, with political and social action having followed as a result. One example is that since January of 2018, a law has gone into effect which requires companies with 25 employees or more to pay men and women equally.

Iceland exemplary for the ninth time in a row

Companies that violate this law will be fined. In 2017, for the ninth consecutive year, Iceland was at the forefront of the Global Gender Gap, an index that measures equality. Stella Samuelsdottir, executive director of the UN Women’s Committee, explained how this worked in practice. “Achieving equality requires political will, commitment and tools,” she said. And everyone benefits from that. Samuelsdottir believes that what works in Iceland can also work in other countries.

(Orig. text: Eva Kunkel / Translation: Carol Kloeppel)