Since our launch in 2014, hundreds of thousands of young people have raised the bar for gender equality, translating their passion into more than two hundred HeForShe student associations around the world.
In September, 2015, to commemorate HeForShe’s first anniversary, we launched the first-ever HeForShe Get Free University tour, a grassroots effort to connect with passionate student activists across our global network.
Students shared a nuanced, thoughtful understanding of gender that gives us hope that we can achieve equality in this lifetime.
This tour gave us an unprecedented opportunity to hear directly from students about their perspectives on gender equality, their experiences, hopes, questions, and solutions. On this first Tour, we visited six universities across the UK and France: University of Leicester, University of Nottingham, Paris institute of Political Science, University of Cambridge, London School of Economics, and Imperial College London.
It’s clear from the diversity of responses we received that gender moderates the experiences of university students, from their first day on campus to their career choices and graduation. Today, more women are attending college than ever before, but they remain underrepresented in science and engineering. And despite an increased focus on campus violence, sexual assault is still high.
But while campus experiences differ widely, we heard a consistent call for an inclusive, proactive gender equality movement across all institutions. This generation sees gender equality as a fundamental right, regardless of gender identity and expression. And while they believe we’re on the road to gender equality, they know we have a long way to go.
Above all, students shared a nuanced, thoughtful understanding of gender that gives us hope that we can achieve equality in this lifetime. As one student so put it, this generation wants "to treat all people like people, nothing less.”
We’re eager to rise to the challenge.