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Yassamin Ansari

Candidate for Women's Officer

What do you want to achieve during your term?

First, bring the UN-led HeForShe movement to Cambridge.

The HeForShe movement was created by UN Women to provide a platform for people everywhere to become change agents for gender equality.

As part of an initiative to bring the movement to Cambridge, I will seek to:

  • Launch a university-wide speaker series, inviting leaders from the UN, government, business, academia, and civil society
  • Partner with faculty to organize a gender-focused Hackathon
  • Screen and discuss gender related documentaries
  • Unveil a HeForShe mural project and invite student artists and local community members to illustrate what gender equality means to them
  • Build a pipeline of role models by inviting middle and high school aged students to shadow current Cambridge students
  • Create a dedicated Op-Ed column in the Cambridge Student

Second, lobby the university to make bold commitments on gender equality.

In 2014, the University of Oxford was one of ten universities to make commitments as part of the HeForShe 10x10x10 IMPACT initiative. During my term, I intend to work in collaboration with UN Women, university administration, and the Graduate Union to explore opportunities for Cambridge to make commitments as part of the next wave of institutions. The focus would be to address campus violence, change mindsets around gender, and increase the number of women in leadership positions. 

For more info on my platform, please visit:

What experience do you bring to the role? 

I am an ardent and lifelong advocate for gender equality. In June 2016, I was selected to participate in the White House Summit on Women for my extensive work on this issue. This includes tutoring young refugee girls through the Pars Equality Center in California, and mentoring girls and young women at the Zaatari Refugee Camp in Jordan. Through my work for United Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, I actively sought to encourage policies to increase the participation of young girls and women, and sought to ensure that they are equally represented in the initiatives and events I supported on global health, climate change, youth issues, and otherwise.

What do you think the relationship between the GU and CUSU’s autonomous Women’s Campaign should be?

The two campaigns should work closely with one another for maximum impact. For example, the CUSU Women’s Campaign does a fantastic job at promoting an inclusive environment for all self-defining and non-binary people through a weekly Women’s Forum. This Forum could be expanded to include graduate women, perhaps on a monthly basis, to encourage collaboration and learning.  

How would you like to collaborate with Women’s Officers in the MCRs?

Collaboration with MCRs will be vital to achieve the objectives set forth in my platform (such as the HeForShe campaign). I will work with all officers to ensure that we meaningfully engage students from across the campus and from all walks of life.

How do you think gender inequality particularly affects graduate and mature undergraduate women? How can this situation be improved?

Gender inequality negatively impacts everyone – women and men both. But as graduate and mature undergraduate women, we often feel and experience discrimination, stereotypes, implicit biases, and power disparities that limit our ability to thrive.  

To combat this, raising awareness is key. We must ensure that all students have a clear recognition of the barriers and approaches that generate or promote gender inequality. Moreover, we must equip our students with the knowledge and tools to manage this in the presence of the entrenched discrimination and gender inequity.