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NYU Stern students attend UN Women’s HeForShe Summit at UN General Assembly
Reflections by Pooja Anand, Stern Senior and Social Impact Intern

On Wednesday, September 21, 25 NYU Stern students, staff, and faculty attended UN Women's flagship UN General Assembly week event, "HeForShe". HeForShe is a global initiative created by UN Women to engage individuals and provide them with a platform to champion gender equality. The student group consisted primarily of undergraduates participating in the Fall Social Impact Fellows cohort, as well as members of the EmpowHER cohort, a career program development program for Women in Sustainable Finance at the MBA level. 

Leaders from government, industry, academia, the arts, the UN, and other HeForShe Champions shared their visions for advancing gender equality in their respective communities. To highlight a few: H.E. Mr. Fumio Kishida, Prime Minister of Japan, spoke about his vision for a new form of capitalism in Japan, placing women’s economic empowerment at its core. Ms. Olena Zelenska, First Lady of Ukraine, spoke powerfully about how Ukrainian women are disproportionately affected by the crisis and war.  Bob Moritz, Global Chairman of PwC, discussed the harmful effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on women and the rise of domestic abuse. Moritz also touched upon the need to increase the representation of women in management and senior leadership positions. 

Ms. Olena Zelenska, First Lady of Ukraine, at the UN Women’s HeForShe Summit

H.E. Mr. Fumio Kishida, Prime Minister of Japan at the UN Women’s HeForShe Summit

As a woman in business, I am disappointed that only 31% of management roles are held by women, as stated by
Hisauki Idekoba, CEO of Recruit Holdings, the parent company of Indeed and Glassdoor. This statistic highlights the need for additional support for women in business, including from both men and women. 

At Stern, we have been creating spaces for discussion of gender equality as a human right through Social Impact programming, such as our undergraduate Social Impact Fellows programs. We also have forums for women to support and empower each other, such as the Undergraduate Stern Women in Business (USWIB) and Stern Women in Business (SWIB) student clubs. 

One main point I took away from the Summit is the power every individual has to make a change. We can all empower women and drive impact in our communities, and when that impact is scaled worldwide it can make an unimaginable difference. This idea is reflected in a closing message author and activist Frederick Joseph left with the audience: “The worst thing we can do in a crisis of morality is do nothing.”