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United Nations HeForShe #GetFreeTour visits BCIT

Kathy Klinoch

On September 20, the UN Women’s HeForShe solidarity movement for gender equality came to BCIT. Since the HeForShe launch in September 2014 by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and UN Women Global Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson, over two million people from around the world have committed to taking action for a gender-equal world.

BCIT was the only post-secondary in BC to take part in the #GetFreeTour in Canada. The event featured remarks from outstanding BCIT thought-leaders including Kathy Kinloch, President, and Lara Johnson, Vice President of Marketing and Communications.

Over 300 students, faculty, and staff took part in the event and listened as Lara Johnson reminded the audience that although there is much work to be done, a recent survey shows BCIT students as optimistic. “Over 80% of students said they believe that their chosen career field will have gender equality within their lifetime, over 80% consider themselves allies in the gender equality movement and over 80% said they believed there is a culture of allyship at BCIT.”

“Our stop at BCIT marked a very important day for us because HeForShe is five. It’s been five years of intense work, engagement, and a lot of success,” shared Edward Wageni, Global Programme Manager, HeForShe, United Nations Entity for Gender Equality. “Working with universities and young people is a priority for us and as we celebrate our success, we are also looking at how the UN and UN Women are going to build on the success that we’ve had for HeForShe. We recognize that there are people of all identities and it will require all of us to work together to make sure we are achieving gender equality and equity.”

The event concluded in a panel discussion with Edward Wageni, Sue Paish, CEO, Digital Technology Supercluser, Wafaa Barakat, Student Development Coordinator, BCIT Student Association, and Tom Ormsby, Strategic Communications Manager, DeBeers Canada.