Students and administrators launched HoyasforShe, the student advocacy component of the university’s United Nations HeForShe campaign commitment, with plans to coordinate gender equity marketing efforts among clubs in Copley Formal Lounge on Thursday night.
University President John J. DeGioia was named one of 10 IMPACT champions by the UN Women’s HeForShe campaign in 2016, requiring the university to build a grassroots advocacy movement, engage the university community and raise awareness to fight for gender equity.
The movement requires the university to enlist students and other student groups in its gender equity movement.
Students of Georgetown, Inc. hosted HoyasForShe week from Feb. 12 to Feb. 17, where it hosted events and promoted gender equity in its storefronts, as part of a larger push by student groups to push gender equity.
The university also plans to advance of the role of women globally through the Institute for Women Peace and Security Studies and Initiatives and the university’s first Sexual Assault and Misconduct Climate Survey completed between Jan. 14 and Feb. 15.
DeGioia said Georgetown’s involvement with HeForShe and UN Women is in line with university values, in particular cura personalis, or care for the whole person.
“The only way we will realize the full development of all of our people is if we empower women for leadership,” DeGioia said in a video statement. “No one will be denied the opportunities that will ensure a full development of all of her capacities.”
According to its mission statement, the HoyasForShe student movement, in support of the UN Women’s HeForShe campaign, aims to create conditions for gender equity and human dignity to flourish on campus and worldwide.
Camille Bangug (SFS ’19), an at-large member of the board, said HoyasForShe emphasizes intersectionality.
“We want to achieve gender equity by recognizing the contributions of all genders, so not just empowering women but empowering people of every single gender identity,” Bangug said. “This meant to us focusing on how we can empower individuals across the gender spectrum, and working with them to create solutions that are inclusive, and to change Georgetown’s gender climate, not just so it serves women but so it serves all of us and the way that we perceive gender to be on our campus.”
According to Bangug, HoyasforShe aims to promote gender equity over equality.
“Achieving gender equity on our campus would mean providing recognition in the differences that make our campus so diverse and then ensuring that everyone has the ability to flourish [as] a member of our community,” Bangug said.
Madison Thomas (COL ’19), at-large member of the HoyasforShe Executive Committee, said engaging a variety of communities on campus is important to achieve the goals of the HoyasforShe movement.
“It’s really important that we remember that this is a really intersectional movement on campus. We need every voice on this campus to be involved,” Thomas said. “It is creating unity to recognize and fight the inequity on this campus. Every community matters in this fight.”
Former Georgetown University Student Association President Enushe Khan (MSB ’17) said she believes the university is not currently achieving gender equity.
“What I love about the HoyasforShe initiative is that it recognizes that the fight for gender justice and equity is a community effort and not just a fight led by one gender I think as we approach this conversation on gender equity, we need to be mindful of how gender can intersect with identities to just race ethnicity, socio-economic class, ability, sexual orientation and how those intersections can create additional social barriers here on our campus and beyond,” Khan said.
According to Khan, Georgetown should focus on achieving gender equity in social life, academic life and club leadership.
“We need to think about how we can improve our conversations and our learning environments so that it is equally empowering for people of all gender identities. How can we reform our club and social culture so that they are inclusive?” Khan said. “During my time here, I’ve learned that sexism and gender injustice not only exist, but they are very prevalent. I’ve seen firsthand, other women be victims of sexism, objectification, misogyny and disempowerment and sexual violence. This needs to end.”
Khan said the university and student body should commit to developing a gender inclusive community.
“The time has come to mobilize, organize and enact real change in procedures and policy,” Khan said. “Our aim with this initiative should be to ensure that we have a community where all Hoyas, regardless of gender identity, can thrive and feel empowered enough to succeed after graduation.”
Bangug said she hopes the Georgetown community will join HoyasForShe to change the university’s gender climate.
“If you can join us in recognizing, accepting and celebrating those differences so that when we change Georgetown’s gender climate, it’s not just for men and women, it’s for all individuals across the gender spectrum, along with recognizing how our identities interact with those relationships,” Bangug said.
This post has been updated.