HeforSheNairobi, 28 May 2015 – Executive Director of UN-Habitat Dr. Joan Clos, together with other male members of staff, have signed the HeForShe campaign, committing to take action against all forms of violence and discrimination against women and girls.

HeForShe is a solidarity campaign developed by UN Women that aims to engage men and boys as agents of change for the achievement of gender equality and women’s rights, by encouraging them to take action against global inequalities faced by women and girls. Through sensitization, HeForShe challenges men to address gender equality as a human right, and as a social and economic imperative, the achievement of which will benefit both men and women.

As the male part of UN-Habitat senior management together with other male staff take a personal commitment to involving men in the issues of gender equality, UN-Habitat also takes one step further in being of in the forefront putting gender equality in the center of urbanization.

Cities: an opportunity for gender equality

Cities present a nexus of contemporary challenges; however, they are also a source of solutions for a sustainable, gender-equal future. Cities, if well planned and governed, can further the realisation of human rights, cultivate the energy of the youth and enhance gender equality and the empowerment of women.

In the process of fast urbanization, failure to mainstream gender equality into urban planning, legislation and economic development hinders the inclusiveness of cities and prevents the full integration of women and girls into the economic, social, political and cultural life of cities. According to Dr. Clos: “For cities and towns to fulfil their role as drivers of sustainable development, gender equality and women’s empowerment need to be at the centre of the New Urban Agenda”.

As a consequence of this reality, and in demonstration of UN-Habitat’s commitment to gender equality and the empowerment of women, male members of staff, including Senior Management, have pledged their support and engagement in gender equality and the empowerment of women, by signing up to the HeforShe campaign.