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HeForShe Empowering Tomorrow's Leaders: Insights from the NYU Stern Conference on Gender Equality

NYU Stern Gender Equality Conference

The NYU Stern Conference on Gender Equality recently brought together students and advocates dedicated to advancing dialogue and action on gender equality issues. Led and coordinated by student organizers, this conference underscores the significance of collaborations between UN Women and universities such as NYU Stern in amplifying efforts towards gender equality and empowering future leaders in this crucial cause. 

"The Stern Conference on Gender Equality is an important event that truly highlights the values for which the Stern Undergraduate College stands. As a leading business school, we aim to educate and mobilize our community about the challenges and opportunities of gender equality. It is only because of partnerships with groups such as UN Women, the global champion for gender equality, that we are able to put on these critical events. More generally, for the past year, Stern's Council for Gender Equality and the Business and Society Program have been deepening their partnership with UN Women and HeForShe. In fact, last fall, Stern students attended the UN Women’s HeForShe Summit. These connections allow us to expand our broad social impact and further establish Stern as a pioneer in social impact initiatives."

- Robert Whitelaw, Dean of the Undergraduate College, NYU Stern 

Vesna Jaric, Global Head of HeForShe, gave a keynote address centered on the critical role of gender mainstreaming and youth engagement in driving societal change. This address focused on understanding gender mainstreaming in private sector and organizational settings, highlighting the pivotal role of the HeForShe Alliance in advancing this agenda. With a particular emphasis on engaging male leaders, the address underscored the importance of strong leadership commitment in effecting tangible institutional change. CEOs, in particular, were highlighted as crucial advocates for promoting gender equality both within and outside their organizations. 

Central to the message was the empowerment of young advocates. By offering guidance and inspiration, Vesna Jaric encouraged students to actively participate in the gender equality movement, emphasizing their unique perspectives, energy, and the potential of youth in driving change.  

Vesna Jaric, Global Head of HeForShe giving the keynote speech at the conference.

"As future sustainable business leaders who will be driving transformational and sustainable change of tomorrow, your work on building gender equal practices starts today. HeForShe celebrates your agency to shape conversations and mobilize peers to call out and denounce sexism and misogyny." 

– Vesna Jaric, Global Head of HeForShe  

Youth engagement is a cornerstone of the HeForShe movement, with students encouraged to take concrete steps towards advocating for gender equality in their personal and professional lives. This includes taking the 'HeForShe Gender IQ test' to deepen their understanding of gender issues and their impact on society. 

The conference also addressed the importance of challenging traditional gender stereotypes and norms. By promoting positive and inclusive masculinity, young people can create space for everyone to express themselves authentically, fostering a more equitable society. 

Furthermore, students were encouraged to leverage social media and online platforms to amplify their voices and advocate for gender equality. Campaigns such as #ChangeThePunchline provide avenues for young advocates to share stories, resources, and calls to action with their peers and wider networks. 

Following Vesna Jaric's keynote address, students participated in roundtable discussions where they had the opportunity to reflect, discuss, and brainstorm ideas with their peers and guest facilitators. These discussions were centred around 3 themes: Navigating Gender Disparities in Professional Spaces; Allyship and Mentorship and Breaking Bias in Everyday life. These discussions served as a catalyst for action, inspiring attendees to translate dialogue into meaningful change within their communities and beyond. 

NYU Stern Students engaging in roundtable discussions.

The NYU Stern Conference on Gender Equality exemplifies the commitment of institutions and individuals to advancing gender equality. By empowering tomorrow's leaders with the knowledge, tools, and inspiration to drive change, we move one step closer to a more inclusive and equitable society. 

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