Acclaimed actor, director, singer and campaigner Farhan Akhtar has been named the South Asian Goodwill Ambassador of UN Women, the organization dedicated to gender equality and women’s empowerment.
Akhtar, 40, is the first male to be appointed to the role and is charged with promoting UN women’s popular ‘HeforShe campaign to engage men and boys in women’s rights.
“We are pleased and honoured to have Farhan as our Goodwill Ambassador for South Asia, for we believe his work and values represent the core values of UN Women,” Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Women executive director, said in a statement.
“We need creative and committed men like Farhan to push the gender equality and women’s empowerment agenda.”
Widely respected in Bollywood and regarded one of the most versatile artists in India, Akhtar is also known for his campaign work.
He has long been a campaigner for gender equality and is the founder of Men Against Rape and Discrimination (MARD).
“I am a supporter of UN Women’s HeForShe campaign and the role men and boys can play in stopping crime against women and girls, and working towards gender equality,” Akhtar said in a statement.
In recent years, UN Women has appointed numerous celebrities to boost visibility and support for its gender parity initiatives.
British actress Emma Watson was appointed to the UN Women role in July and launched the HeforShe campaign in New York in September with a well-received speech at the United Nations.
Other celebrity ambassadors include Academy Award winner Nicole Kidman and HRH Princess Bajrakitiyabha Mahidol of Thailand.