Toledo Men Champion Gender Equality with HeforShe

A nonprofit organization in Toledo is advocating for gender equality as part of the HeForShe movement. The global effort, now localized in Toledo, joins men and women together for the unity of both genders while empowering women to further their careers.

The beginnings of an equality movement

During a 2014 United Nations meeting, Ban Ki-moon, South Korean politician and diplomat, and Emma Watson, UN Women Goodwill Ambassador, joined hundreds of thousands of men from around the world to commit to gender equality. They called this movement HeForShe. During that same year, Women of Toledo got its start to focus on addressing issues that are critical to the economic advancement of women in the workplace and the community. From 2014-2019, the organization has helped over 4,000 individuals through programs and services, according to its 2019 community report.

Shyam has helped push gender equality with HeForShe for several years.

In 2018, Women of Toledo championed the HeForShe campaign and brought it forth during a Women’s Economic Empowerment Power Luncheon. From there, the local nonprofit effort expanded to give men the tools to broaden their professional and personal horizons to break the social norm barrier.

Making the pledge

Shyam Suchak, co-chair of HeForShe, made his pledge in 2020.

Suchak grew up in a house primarily of women: four sisters and his mother. “I had the opportunity to see how powerful women can be, and they all have helped mold me into the man I am today,” he says, adding that his childhood provided him with a different outlook on life.

Suchak joins over 52 pledges made by other men in the Toledo area, including Mayor Wade Kapszukiewicz, Dr. Brad Rieger, COO at Cooper-Smith, and Nick Komives, Toledo City council member at-large. The goal? To encourage 100 local men in the Toledo area to pledge their commitment to the HeForShe movement in 2023.

Suchak says any man, no matter their age, can make a pledge to continue to achieve gender equality. “It is not about empowering women. They are already very powerful. I am here to support the reveal of this power and claim my responsibility to use my abilities to move the needle of gender equality forward.”

Getting involved

Outside of making a pledge, HeForShe offers several ways that individuals can​ get involved.

  • Donate an annual gift of at least $250 to the No Women Left Behind Fund.
  • Attend two Women’s Economic Empowerment/Forum and Community activities/sessions each quarter.
  • Bring yourself and a friend to the upcoming HeForShe program session in September or October. More details forthcoming.
  • Are you working on women’s advocacy projects? Let the community know!

Suchak notes that one of the most effective channels for spreading the word about gender equality is through the HeforShe social media channels, such as Facebook. There, you can stay up to date on the latest events and happenings. You can promote gender equality by using #breaktheglass.

“Behind every great man is a strong and powerful woman and it’s our job as men to recognize those women. It is our job as men to recognize those women. It is time for us to step to the side so we can be successful together.”

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