Start main page content

Solutions to achieve gender equality

- Wits University

Professor Adam Habib joined a panel to share ground-breaking solutions on how to achieve gender equality as part of UN Women’s HeForShe movement.

On 20 September 2017, UN Women’s HeForShe movement convened its 30 IMPACT Champions. This is part of the IMPACT 10x10x 10 initiative to unveil ground-breaking solutions that have the potential to see gender equality achieved in our lifetime. Professor Adam Habib, Wits Vice-Chancellor and Principal is a HeForShe Global University IMPACT Champion and will attend the third anniversary of the HeForShe movement and the launch of the first joint IMPACT Report.

Habib was part of 10 Heads of State, 10 global CEOs and 10 University Presidents who came together to share with the world not only the key obstacles they have faced on their journey, but the innovative proven practices that they can now empower the rest of the world with.

Speaking during a panel discussion, Habib, said that the establishment of the Gender Equity Office was one of the first things the University did address gender based harm and violence at Wits.

“When I walked into the office, we were confronted with a storm of gender based incidents. There had been five very serious incidents that had not been addressed for 18 months. It seemed to me that something new had to happen. The first thing that we did was we addressed those five incidents.  What we then did was we established a separate Gender Equity Office that reported not only to me, but to the Council of the University.”

He added that although there have been successes in addressing gender based harm on campus, there is much that still needs to be done.

“I do want to note a caution. We are right at the beginning spot of trying to address gender based harm. Despite all the successes, we have got a mountain to climb and it is absolutely important that we come together to address this huge challenge.”

At an intimate dinner hosted by AccorHotels on 19 September 2017, the IMPACT Champions announced the HeForShe IMPACT Lab concept: a platform for action and communication of the proven practices emerging from the group. The IMPACT Lab creates an enabling environment to pilot test innovative ideas, document lessons learned and disseminate proven practices to a global audience through an annual IMPACT Summit aimed at public and private senior executives. The group announced the inaugural IMPACT Summit to take place on September 20, 2018.

“The results announced in today’s IMPACT 10x10x10 Parity Report are inspirational. In 2015, I challenged the Champions to ‘think big’ and commit to creative approaches that tackled the greatest barriers. We know that incremental steps do not bring us the benefits that we so urgently need,” said Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women. “As leaders in their fields the Champions hold the key to breaking norms and making game-changing progress for both women and men. The report shares strategies, roadblocks and successes so others can follow suit.” 

“South Africa’s legacy of gender discrimination and violence is a reality that we fight daily. This is not a fight for women only. It is a fight for every person who abhors the abuse of power and the trauma of violence. It is a fight to ensure that the role of men in ending gender-based harm is as active participants and not passive observers; it is to ensure that patriarchy and inequality are uprooted; and to ensure that those who benefit from inequitable hierarchies are an equal part of their deconstruction. It is a fight that universities generally, and Wits University specifically, must be part of, and that all men should champion,” says Habib.


UN Women is the UN entity dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. A global champion for women and girls, UN Women was established to accelerate progress on meeting their needs worldwide. For more information, visit


Created by UN Women, the HeForShe solidarity movement for gender equality provides a systematic approach and targeted platform on which men and boys can engage and become change agents towards the achievement of gender equality. HeForShe invites men and boys to build on the work of the women’s movement as equal partners, crafting and implementing a shared vision of gender equality that will benefit all of humanity. For more information, visit


IMPACT 10x10x10 engages key decision makers at governments, corporations and universities around the world to drive change from the top. IMPACT Champions make gender equality an institutional priority, committing to real change within and beyond each of their organizations. Each IMPACT Champion implements the HeForShe IMPACT framework and develops three bold, game-changing commitments to advance and ultimately achieve gender equality for all. Measurement and transparency will be at the heart of these commitments, so successful initiatives can serve as models for the political, corporate and academic world. For more information, visit