Actress Emma Watson, known for her role as Hermione in “Harry Potter,” recently endorsed the He-For-She campaign, a United Nations (UN) affiliated campaign addressing gender inequality. Students at the University of Miami are spreading a similar message through a chapter of the U.S. National Committee (USNC) for UN Women that was brought to campus this fall.
The club, which is affiliated with the UN and a branch recognized by the USNC, places an emphasis on international issues. It explores problems women all around the world face, from daily domestic violence to human trafficking and child brides.
The organization aims to spread USNC’s mission, which is to create equality in social, political and economic matters for women around the world. The club also works to educate the community about global women’s issues through newsletters, meetings and events like the U.S. National Committee Annual Walk to host documentary screenings and support the elimination of violence against women.
Senior Vanessa McLay, who is a member of the organization enjoys raising awareness.
“Becoming a part of an organization that allows us to reach out and spread the word about women’s rights has given not only me but my fellow classmates a sense of making a difference,” McLay said. “Our goal is to express our concerns about this issue and gather as many people as we can to help spread awareness. We are here to make a difference and empower women to stand up for their rights.”
Focusing on the gender ineqaulity concept addressed by Watson’s campaign, the club’s current aim is to spread the message that gender inequality is a man’s issue just a much as a woman’s issue.
In her recent speech to the UN, Watson said, “How can we affect change in the world when only half of it is invited or feel welcome to participate in the conversation?”
At the club’s first meeting last Wednesday, President Mariana Gaviria echoed Watson’s sentiment.
“We need to de-stigmatize feminism and target as many males as possible, making this an issue for both gender’s issue rather than just one,” Gaviria said.
The club will work to implement that idea on campus through hosting keynote speakers and events throughout the academic year. It will also commemorate national days dedicated to women such as The 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence Campaign, the United Nations Day and Human Rights Day.
The 16 Days Campaign educates on gender-based violence at a national, regional, local and international levels by creating tools to pressure governments to implement promises made to end violence against women. It starts on Nov. 25 and goes on until Human Rights Day, which is Dec. 10, linking the two together.
The organization’s next planned event, taking place in November, will be a screening of a documentary at the Cosford Cinema to spread awareness. The date and documentary title are to be announced.
For more information, contact the club’s secretary, Vivian Garcia at firstname.lastname@example.org. The club meets every other Wednesday at 5 p.m. in room 206 of the University Center (UC).