HeForShe Campaign - New Zealand Launch 2015

New Zealand National Committee for UN Women launched the global HeforShe campaign for gender equality by 2030 on Friday, 27 November 2015.

HeForShe is a solidarity campaign for gender equality initiated by UN Women. Its goal is to engage men and boys as agents of change for the achievement of gender equality and women’s rights, by encouraging them to take action against inequalities faced by women and girls.

UN Women’s HeForShe Campaign asks men to take active steps in promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment. It is our hope that in 2015, 100,000 New Zealand men will pledge their support for the campaign and commit to the HeForShe Champion Actions.

The HeForShe Commitment

I commit to taking action against gender discrimination and violence in order to build a more just and equal world.

New Zealand HeforShe Champions

Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae
Governor-General of New Zealand

Gareth Morgan
Economist, Public Commentator and Philanthropist

Jack Tame
New Zealand Television and Radio Journalist and Presenter based in New York

Jeremy Elwood
New Zealand Actor and Comedian

Judge Peter Boshier
Chief Ombudsman and White Ribbon Chair

Wallace Chapman
Radio New Zealand Sunday Morning Host

Symon Brewis-Weston
Sovereign New Zealand Chief Executive Officer

Mike Bush
Commissioner of New Zealand Police

Russell Stanners
Vodafone New Zealand Chief Executive Officer

Mike Bullock
Chief Operating Officer, ANZ New Zealand

Leo Foliaki
Senior Assurance Partner , and Diversity and Inclusion Leader of PwC New Zealand

Chris Sedgwick
Senior Vice President for AccorHotels New Zealand, Fiji and French Polynesia

Ray Dunn
Executive General Manager, Schneider Electric

Justin Lester
Wellington Deputy Mayor

Richard Wagstaff
NZ Council of Trade Unions President

Kelvin Davis
Member for Te Tai Tokerau, Labour Party and Associate Spokesperson Justice (Sexual and Domestic Violence)

The Reverend Richard Randerson
Retired Anglican Bishop. Speaker and writer on social and corporate ethics.

James Shaw
Green Party Co-Leader

Mike Tana
President, The New Zealand Public Service Association

Grant Guilford
Vice-Chancellor, Victoria University of Wellington

Guy Ryan
CEO, Inspiring Stories, Young New Zealander of the Year

Andrew Lumsden
New Zealand Actor and Comedian – Te Radar

Speech by Sue Kedgley at the launch of the HeforShe campaign on November 27 2015

It is an astonishing fact that women have been discriminated against, and assumed to be inferior to men, throughout all of human history, in every civilisation, in every society, in every religion and in every culture.

And despite making progress in many areas over the past few decades, violence and discrimination against women remain endemic and entrenched in every society in the world, including our own. No country can yet say they have achieved equality between men and women, and the pace of change is frustratingly slow.

Indeed it has been estimated that at the present rate of progress it will be another eighty years before we achieve equality between men and women.

This rather depressing reality is what has prompted UN Women, the gender equality organisation in the UN, to launch the global HeforShe social media campaign last year to eliminate gender inequality by 2030.

It’s the first campaign of its kind at the United Nations, and the UN Women Director General, Phumzile Mlambo Nguka, says that if we’re going to achieve gender equality in our lifetime, we will have to mobilise everyone, men and women and boys and girls, to the cause.

So the campaign calls upon men and boys to join the campaign for gender equality, and speak up and take action against gender inequality wherever it occurs, so that their daughters and sisters and mothers and partners and friends can be free from prejudice and discrimination.

Half a million men around the world have joined the HeforShe campaign since it was launched overseas earlier this year.

And I would like to congratulate the 22 HeforShe champions who are leading the campaign here in New Zealand, and in particular the eleven HeforShe champions who are able to be with us today. We really appreciate your willingness to put your heads above the parapet and support this important campaign.

I would also like to thank the partners who have joined with the New Zealand National Committee for UN Women in launching the HeforShe campaign in New Zealand, including ANZ Bank, which has generously hosted our launch here today, and which pays kiwisaver contributions for staff on parental leave –a first in New Zealand; the White Ribbon campaign, which has done extraordinary and heroic work over many years to try to eliminate violence against women in New Zealand; the National Council of Women, which launched an outstanding White paper on gender equality last week; Vodafone New Zealand; Accor Hotels, PwC and Schneider Electric, which are all committed to promoting gender equity in their organisations.

In 1893, New Zealand was an acknowledged leader in gender equality, when we were the first nation in the world to extend the vote to women.

120 years later, despite some notable and visible successes and the passage of numerous pieces of legislation such as the Equal Pay act; despite 45 years of campaigning by hundreds of thousands of New Zealand women, including some who are in this room today, New Zealand has well and truly lost its role as an international leader in promoting gender equality.

The gender pay gap has never been higher—at 14%

Women are clustered in the low-income occupations, like caregivers and cleaners, and are likely to retire, according to ANZ research, with $60.000 less than their male counterparts

Despite amazing work by rape crisis, women’s organisations and the White Ribbon campaign, one in four women will experience intimate partner violence in their lives; and rape and sexual violence remains the only crime for which the victim is sometimes more stigmatised than the perpetrator.

Women still do the bulk of housekeeping and childrearing.

Single mother families have much higher poverty rates than sole father families

There are still vast amounts of violent and demeaning images of women circulating in the media, and everyday sexism is so normalised and persistent that it often goes unnoticed.

Women’s representation in leadership positions is progressing at a snail’s pace or even sliding backwards, and women make up only 14% of directors on boards in New Zealand, while there are only 32 women in Parliament out of 121 and we are 39th on global rankings.

Hence the need for this campaign to establish gender equality in our lifetime. And our call for all members of society, including men, to join the campaign.

The evidence is overwhelming that we will all be better off in a gender equal society. Companies that have balanced representation of women and men on their boards perform better. Societies where women are more equal do better. So why wouldn’t we want to achieve gender equality in our lifetime and create a better world?

How will we know when we have achieved our goal of a gender equal society?

  • There will be no gender pay gap – women and men will receive the same pay for doing equal jobs.
  • Men will participate equally in domestic chores, in caring for children, and in taking parental leave.
  • Violence against women will be a rare and unusual crime.
  • Professions that women are clustered in, like caring and nursing, will be well paid and well respected.
  • There will be equal numbers of men and women in Parliament, in the Cabinet, in senior management and in virtually every board in New Zealand. This will be so normal that no one will even think to comment on it.

So, with your help and the help of HeforShe Champions, let’s make this dream a reality. It is our hope that 100,000 New Zealand men will pledge their support for the campaign over the coming year. The hope is that when enough ordinary men speak up and discuss these issues, attitudes and behaviour will change, and gender equality will become the norm.


Radio New Zealand - He For She Campaign - Sue Kedgley

TV One, Seven Sharp - Men standing up for gender equality is not about man-hating and bra-burning

NZ Herald - Men sign up to feminist cause