World leaders, change-makers, activists and celebrities came together to mark the second anniversary of UN Women’s HeForShe initiative at the Museum of Modern Art in New York City.
The evening reception hosted by IMPACT 10x10x10 Champions His Excellency Sauli Niinistö, President of Finland; Bob Moritz, Chairman, PricewaterhouseCoopers International Limited; and Samuel L. Stanley Jr, President of Stony Brook University featured bold commitments, powerful stories of change, and new narratives about what it means to be HeForShe.
In an event that was dubbed a night of “stories and storytelling” by host Trevor Noah, highlights included stories from different regions about how activists are creating meaningful change in their home countries.
Among the powerful stories of the evening:
- With a new national law that outlaws child marriage, village chiefs are working to end abuse against women and girls.
- Male and female activists in traditional cultures are breaking social norms by signing up men and boys up to support gender equality.
- College fraternity brothers are uniting to stop sexual violence and raise funds for gender equality.
Actor Edgar Ramirez explored the nature of masculinity saying that, "There has long been a misconception that gender equality is a women’s movement. But gender equality is actually about just that –equality. It is a liberation movement for each and every person that has ever felt the burden of a gender stereotype or the pain of discrimination or the pressure to fit into an uncomfortable mold."
The evening ended with a powerful call to action from UN Executive Director. "Millions of men and boys have already signed up for gender equality and now we need to get the next 1 million on board," she said.
While there is still more work to be done, the feeling of optimism – that change is possible – marked the tone for the evening.