In today’s world, nearly one in five women and one in 10 men are illiterate. Illiteracy is a serious issue in itself, but this statistic also points to gender inequality. In addition to discrepancies in literacy rates, women across the globe face unequal opportunities in both education and the workforce. According to the HeForShe Campaign, this inequality is more than just a women’s issue; it is an issue of human rights. While these differences are most prominent in developing countries, women all over the globe are taking a stand.
The HeForShe Campaign, started by U.N. Women, calls on everyone to stand together for gender equality. The organization’s website encourages visitors to make a commitment to gender equality and take action against gender bias, discrimination and violence. Over 1.1 million people worldwide have made that commitment, and more than 900,000 of them are men. In addition to this, HeForShe has coordinated more than 1,100 events, 1.3 million actions and 1.3 billion conversations about gender equality.
“HeForShe is the movement for fathers who love their daughters and believe in their potential and for husbands who consider their wives as partners,” said Diana Ofwona, U.N. Women regional director for West and Central Africa. At the recent launch of HeForShe in Cameroon, Cameroonian Prime Minister Philemon Yang made a commitment to the organization. One hundred and fifty others followed suit at the event. Nearly 185,000 school-aged girls in Cameroon are out of school, compared to 8,500 school-aged boys, a discrepancy leading to disproportionate literacy and employment rates. HeForShe has the potential to make a large impact on the country.
“HeForShe is for leaders who believe in the full potential of women and help them to fulfill it, CEOs for whom women in the workforce is a great asset for the profitability of the enterprises,” said Ofwona.
– Weston Northrop