New gender equity campaign gains visibility

The HeForShe campaign has only been on campus for a little over a year, but they are already garnering support from the campus community.

“I know there are a lot of groups and committees that are definitely engaged in working against gender inequality … but I think HeForShe is really unique,” said junior Samira Dahdah, one of the founders of HeForShe on campus.

“Unlike other groups, it specifically wants to engage men in the issue.”

HeForShe is a international campaign in support of gender equity and ending violence against women by engaging men in the fight for gender equality.

The campaign was initiated in 2014 by UN Women, an organization inside the United Nations that works to end gender inequality on a global scale.

“It is a special campaign because men don’t always know their role with combating sexual assault,” said junior Courtney Triplett, another co-founder. 

Dahdah said she was interested in partnering with UN Women on UNC's campus.

“My roommate and I went to meet with Younghee Overly (the former president of the N.C. chapter for U.S. National Committee for UN Women) and she talked about the initial idea of bringing HeForShe to campus,” Dahdah said. 

After the HeForShe campaign was brought onto campus, the members made a video where men read the narrative of a sexual assault survivor.

Dahdah said the men read the narrative aloud to show how they were a part of the solution.

“The campaign dismantles the notion that feminism is solely a movement by women for women,” said junior Sara Stewart, another founder of the campaign, in an email. 

At FallFest, the campaign worked to get many notable faces on campus to stand with the campaign of supporting gender equity.

“Gender equality is an important issue across the world, and the HeForShe campaign is one example of the many departments and organizations at Carolina engaged on this topic,” said Jim Gregory, the director of media relations, in an email.

Chancellor Carol Folt showed her support by standing for the campaign as well as posting on her Twitter page in support.

While Folt has no other involvement with the campaign aside from the Twitter posting, Dahdah said it was still cool to have her support.

“There are so many clubs that it’s hard to stand out,” Triplett said. “Having (support from) Chancellor Folt was awesome.”

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