HeForShe Anniversary: Pioneers in Gender Equity

This past Wednesday, the University of Waterloo celebrated our one-year anniversary as a HeForShe IMPACT 10x10x10 champion. 

Looking back at the great celebration held on campus (thank you to all who organized!), I recall guest keynote speaker and Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, saying, "Most of the time we talk about pain and steps taken to fix it, but when we hit a milestone we should celebrate, and show how this is about concrete changes that your team is making to bring about gender equality."

UN Under-Secretary Phumzile Mlambo Ngcuka at the podium

UN Under-Secretary Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka addressing the crowd.

I took pride in announcing that among several other promising gender equity accomplishments, female enrolment in our Fall 2016 engineering class is on track to be our highest ever, at nearly one third. This is great progress in the spirit of our HeForShe commitments

UWaterloo is also leading the way in some other critical areas, too, including transgender rights. I appreciate and agree with Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka's comment that this is “truly pioneering."

I want to hear more about your own journey of gender equity. UWaterloo has established a HeForShe writing contest to take place this Fall, which will then form a special anthology to be published soon after. I look forward to some inspired writing, and inspiring reading.

As I mentioned Wednesday morning, we've still got a long way to go on equity. But we've taken some strong, early steps on a much longer journey, and as Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka said, we're up for the challenge.

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