By Amanda Bibbins
This month, the United Nations is in session in New York City for its annual session. Lasting from September through December, this 69th session of the U.N. is the global forum for all 193 U.N. members to speak and air their concerns on an international stage.
So far this session, there has been a tremendous female presence, turning the eye of the global community to the increasing prominence of women’s issues across the world
Emma Watson was among the empowering speakers at the session. On Sept. 20, the U.N. Women Goodwill Ambassador announced the U.N.’s “HeForShe” campaign. The campaign is a self-proclaimed “Solidarity Movement for Gender Equality.”
“We don’t often talk about men being imprisoned by gender stereotypes, but I can see that they are,” Watson expressed. “And that when they are free, things will change for women as a natural consequence.”
Watson’s 15-minute speech went viral within 24 hours. Since then, almost 200,000 men have taken the HeForShe Commitment on http://www.heforshe.org, over 53,000 of whom were from the U.S.
The Commitment states: “Gender equality is not only a women’s issue, it is a human rights issue that requires my participation. I commit to take action against all forms of violence and discrimination faced by women and girls.”
Other speeches of distinction include Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon’s congratulation of Malala Yousafzai on Oct. 10 for winning the 2014 Nobel Peace Prize.
Yousafzai has gained notoriety over the past few years for standing up for girls’ rights to education in her home in Pakistan, where the Taliban has banned women from receiving an education.
Following her initial activism in 2012, Malala was shot by the Taliban for speaking out. It only increased her desire to right the political and social wrongs in her region.
Ban confidently endorsed Yousafzai’s efforts at the UN, saying, “The United Nations will continue to stand with her against extremism and for the right of girls everywhere to be free of violence, to go to school and to enjoy their right to an education.”
With the U.N. still in session, they will continue to address the importance of global women’s rights.