Join us April 10 for UN’s HeForShe initiative @HKU
Dear colleagues, students, alumni and friends,
I am both pleased and proud to announce that HKU is the first university in the world to publicly sign up for HeForShe, a United Nations (UN) initiative on gender balance. I invite you to join us at the launch event at 5pm on Friday 10th April in Loke Yew Hall.
This is in particular a CALL TO ACTION for all the men of HKU: staff, students, alumni, Council members, friends alike. Why? Because the important difference from previous campaigns on gender balance is that the HeForShe initiative is targeted at men. It aims to get men to talk about, and more importantly, do something about, issues of gender equality.
I am delighted that Ms Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women, will address the audience at the Launch Event. She was Deputy President of South Africa from 2005-8. She will be joined by her senior advisor Ms Elizabeth Nyamayaro who is also the head of the HeForShe campaign.
Dr York Chow, Chair of the Equal Opportunities Commission will speak, as will Dr Richard Armour, Secretary-General of the University Grants Committee, respectively to address the Hong Kong-wide and the Higher Education sector-wide nature of the issue. One statistic for you, which derives from the research of Dr Sarah Aiston of our own Faculty of Education: in the eight government-funded Higher Education Institutions in Hong Kong, there are a total of 110 posts at Dean level or above and currently the number of these held by women is 8, i.e. 7%.
UN Women is creating an impact group called 10x10x10 comprising 10 Heads of State, 10 CEOs of global corporations and 10 University Presidents. I have been invited to be one of the 10 University Presidents and I have enthusiastically agreed.
As you will know, I am concerned about issues of gender equality at HKU (and more widely across the university sector in Hong Kong).We must do something to address the current situation of having all male Faculty Deans and Vice-Presidents.
The timing is good for me to make a public commitment to improving gender equality. The UN campaign also takes in gender-based violence but I hope and believe that this is not a major issue at HKU: of course we cannot be complacent and just make that assumption.
I very much hope that all members of the HKU family will join in and help us to achieve meaningful change. I especially hope the men of HKU will weigh in and help make a real difference.
I look forward to seeing you there!
President and Vice-Chancellor
The University of Hong Kong