Which Generation Equality hero are you?

UN Women
8 min readJun 30, 2021
Illustration: Taylor McManus

Feminism means many different things to many people but what every feminist has in common is a belief in, and commitment to, equality. Generation Equality is uniting feminists and activists from different parts of the world, with different races, religions, ages, socioeconomic status, sexualities and gender expressions, to #ActforEqual.

Taking place in Paris, from 30 June — 2 July, the Generation Equality Forum will bring together governments, activists, private sector partners and youth, and leaders from every sector. Together, they will commit investments, programmes and policies that fast-track progress towards an equal future for all.

As we start our action journey, learn more about some of our feminist action heroes who make up Generation Equality. Which Generation Equality action hero do you support and aspire to be? Tell us how you’re taking action for an equal future using #ActForEqual.

Tech Hero

Illustration: Taylor McManus

The world needs science and technology, and science and technology need women and girls. But, only 0.5 per cent of girls want to work in ICT professions by the time they turn 15, compared to 5 per cent of boys.

The Tech Heroes are barrier-breakers who are stepping into a historically male-dominated industry of technology and innovation as leaders and change-makers. They are inspiring and encouraging the next generation of girls to pursue STEM careers so that girls and women shape and benefit from technology.

Learn about the Generation Equality Action Coalition on Technology and Innovation for Gender Equality to find out more.

Climate Action Activist

Illustration: Taylor McManus

Women, especially young women and girls, are leading climate action movements all around the world, and yet they are often missing from the climate related decision-making roles.

The climate action activists are those who never give up on making their voices heard for a sustainable future. They speak up for their generations and the generations to come, and encourage everyone to do their part to protect the earth. They take action to address the risks posed by rising temperatures and the destruction of natural resources. They demand governments to implement policies that will help protect the environment.

In Turkey, Selin Goren works to bring local experiences and perspectives of the climate crisis to the international level and raises the voices of marginalized communities facing injustice.

Selin Gören, a climate activist from Turkey, with a sign that says, “Don’t leave anyone behind! #ClimateJusticeIsSocialJustice” Photo: Esin Gören

Some Climate Action Activists also go by “eco-feminists”, as they see the intersection of climate change and issues of gender justice and understand that taking climate action is taking action for women’s empowerment. So, they mobilize those around them to protect and amplify the voices of grassroots and indigenous communities, including front-line defenders, across social and political arenas.

Find out about the Generation Equality Action Coalition on Feminist Action for Climate Justice to learn more.

Defender of Women’s Rights

Illustration: Taylor McManus

Do you call out sexism when you see it? Intervene when you witness harassment? Do you speak up for gender equality and stand up for human rights? Call for more women in leadership roles? Then you are one of the defenders of women’s rights who mobilize for an equal future and challenge the patriarchy.

These are the feminist leaders, including young feminists, who create and support movements and organizations, including those led by indigenous women, young feminists, people with disabilities, LGBTQI+ and others who are historically excluded. For example, Ibtsam Sayeed Ahmed, a Syrian refugee who uses her own experience of living with disability to encourage and empower other women and young people to stand up for their rights.

Ibtsam Sayeed Ahmed, 40, is using her story to empower other women, youth and people with disabilities to stand up for their rights, Jordan. Photo: UN Women/ Lauren Rooney

The defenders of women’s rights lift each other up to ensure all feminists can carry out their work without fear of reprisal to advance gender equality, peace, and human rights for all.

In a world where Less than 1 per cent of global development aid for gender equality and women’s empowerment goes to women’s equality organizations, the defenders of women’s rights persist to bring change. They carry on the essential work that needs to be done to increase women’s representation in national parliaments, which grew from only 12 per cent in 1995 to an average of 25 per cent in 2020.

Find out about the Action Coalition on Feminist Movements and Leadership to learn more.

Anti-Violence Champion

Illustration: Taylor McManus

Women and girls in all their diversity experience multiple and intersecting forms of gender-based violence in their lifetime. The anti-violence crusaders are those of us who say, “enough is enough”. They are tired of the patriarchal backlash against women’s rights and limited political will to bring justice to survivors of violence.

The champions don’t just seek to end impunity, but also work towards changing deeply rooted social and gender norms, attitudes and beliefs that allow gender-based violence to continue.

We’re inspired by leaders and activists like Millie Odhiambo, a Member of Parliament in Kenya, who has ushered legal protections for victims, particularly women and girls, to deliver equality and protection for survivors of gender-based violence.

Anti-violence Champions are showing everyone that it’s possible to build a world where women and girls can walk home safely at night without fear of harassment or abuse. They want everybody to know that violence against women is not inevitable, if we act as one with coordinated, scaled-up global action that builds political will and accountability.

Many such crusaders will gather at the Generation Equality Forum, to make concrete commitments to stop violence against women and girls and to demand that women’s rights organizations are well-resourced and recognized for their expertise.

Find out about the Action Coalition on Gender-Based Violence to learn more.

Economic Justice Advocate

Illustration: Taylor McManus

Today, 740 million women globally work in the informal sector, working for lower pay, in harsh working conditions, and without job security or insurance.

Women also spend triple the amount of time as men performing unpaid care and domestic work, which have intensified because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Economic fallout of COVID-19 predicts that 47 million more women will fall into extreme poverty.

However, change is possible, and Economic Justice Advocates advocate for economic laws and policies that work for women as well as they do for men, seek sex-disaggregated data and gender statistics so that decisions are shaped by the reality that women experience.

Women like Maria Tuyuc, who is supporting indigenous women in Guatemala to build their own business, are working to destroy the systemic barriers that hold women back and promote nondiscriminatory labour markets, free of violence and harassment.

The Mayan School of Business teaches skills for indigenous women’s participation in economic opportunities. María Tuyuc co-facilitates a session. Photo: Red Global de Empresarios Indígenas REI/Miguel Curruchiche.

These are also the women and men who share care work and household responsibilities equally, and encourage everyone to follow their example. They advocate for unified parental leave and equal work culture across all sectors. They demand a progressive work environment through equal representation of women in leadership and boardrooms and equal pay for work of equal value.

Find out about the Action Coalition on Economic Justice and Rights to learn more.

Champion of Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights

Illustration: Taylor McManus

Being a champion means respecting women and girls, their decisions about their own bodies, sexual and reproductive health, such as decisions about contraception and sex. These champions understand the meaning of consent, and practise it. The champions of sexual and reproductive health and rights come in all gender expressions, colours and ethnicities, and they speak up for bodily autonomy — the power and agency to make choices about one’s own body and future without violence or coercion.

The champions, like Martha Clara Nakato from Uganda, believe that women and girls in all their diversity should be empowered to exercise their sexual and reproductive health and rights and make autonomous decisions about their bodies free from coercion, violence, and discrimination.

You can often see these champions working to change gender norms, make comprehensive sexuality education accessible for all, and pushing for legal and policy change to protect and promote bodily autonomy and sexual and reproductive health and rights. They want to improve the quality of and access to contraceptive services and remove restrictive policies and legal barriers that prevent girls and women from accessing safe and legal abortion.

Find out about the Action Coalition on Bodily Autonomy and SRHR to learn more.


Miriam Coronel-Ferrer. Photo: Joser C. Dumbrique for the Centre for Humanitarian Dialogue

Some 2 billion people in the world are living in countries affected by conflict. And Peacebuilders are doing their part to keep peace, mediate conflicts and call for equal representation of women at the table when peace is being negotiated. We need the meaningful participation of women and girls in peace processes, and women’s leadership and agency across peace and humanitarian sectors to create a better, safer world for women and for all.

From working to improve women’s economic security in conflict and post-conflict setting to protecting women and delivering more investment in women’s role in conflict resolution, the peacebuilders are fierce and determined. Meet Miriam Coronel Ferrer, who made history as the first woman chief negotiator in the world to sign a final peace accord with a rebel group, the Moro Islamic Liberation Front in the Philippines, for a first-hand account.

The women peacebuilders are vital in preventing conflict, responding to crisis and recovering. They are demanding the implementation of the unfulfilled commitments to the women, peace and security agenda and humanitarian action.

Read about the Women, Peace and Security and Humanitarian Action Compact to learn more.

The upcoming Generation Equality Forum in Paris, from 30 June — 2 July, is an inflection point to confront the gender equality crisis and spur major investments, policy, and programmes to advance gender equality and women’s rights. Convened by UN Women and co-hosted by the governments of Mexico and France, in partnership with youth and civil society, the Forum will mark the beginning of a five-year action journey led by the six Action Coalitions and Compact on Women, Peace and Security, and Humanitarian Action.



UN Women

UN Women is the United Nations entity for #genderequality and women's empowerment.