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The Graduate Union of the University of Melbourne (Graduate House) will launch a rendition of the UN Women HeForShe gender equality campaign, Tuesday, August 23.

Organised by Residents and staff, the campaign called ‘Give a flower, get a smile’ and will see men and women giving out flowers for the return of a smile.

The event will begin with an address from President of the Graduate Union, Dr Ken V Loughnan AO, who is also International Vice President of Variety the Children’s Charity, and deputy Chairman of the Corporate Advisory Board of Victoria Police.

“Gender equality is not just a women’s issue, it’s a human rights issue that benefits everyone,” said President Loughnan. “It is imperative that we continue to raise awareness and take positive action about equality. This is something that everyone of us can do something about – and we can do it right now.”

Following in the footsteps of the highly respected and extremely successful HeForShe, launched last year by Emma Watson and UN Women, the Residents’ campaign is looking to increase awareness of the male’s role in equalisation of society. Feminism, or the support of an equal standing for women, is not only up to women to progress. Men have an equally important and instrumental role to play to ensure gender equality.

“I became involved in the “HeforShe” campaign as it does not put the emphasis of women’s advancement as a responsibility of women only,” said Fatema, an organizer and Resident at Graduate House.

“I feel very proud to see Residents at Graduate House who are very civic minded, proactively addressing gender equality issues,” said Dr Kerry Bennett, CEO of The Graduate Union and Head of College.

“The give a flower, get a smile campaign is not about segregation, rather it’s sending the message that gender equality is everyone’s job,” she said.

Rhys Watson, Chair of Council, said that this is an opportunity to work together to be advocates for change for gender equality. “The promotion of gender equality in our communities is an important expression of our respect for all of humanity. It is essential that girls and women are treated as equals, with respect and given equal opportunity,” he said.

“I hope that through this launch, we do a good job to spread the word that there is still much to do in gender equality, and that this spurs a chain reaction for further change.”

All proceeds raised from flower sales will be directed to the Royal Women’s Hospital Foundation.