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Four Remarkable Men Honored for Gender Equality Efforts

The 9th annual Voices of Solidarity event hosted by fashion icon Diane von Fürstenberg in New York City shined a light on four remarkable male allies in the global movement for women’s equality.

“Amid a rollback of women’s rights around the world, it is more crucial now than ever for men to join the fight to end gender-based violence and to take action for gender equality,” said Vital Voices President, CEO and cofounder Alyse Nelson. “Voices of Solidarity honors the men who are using their power to elevate the status of women.”

The 2022 honorees include:

Shervin Hajipour
Iranian Singer and Activist
A courageous artist and activist, Mr. Hajipour’s words have become the anthem of a revolution. He released the song Baraye just days after Mahsa Amini, 22, was killed at the hands of the Islamic Republic’s ‘morality police.’

In the wake of Mahsa’s unjust death, as women and girls and their allies took to the streets in outrage, Hajipour did what artists do. He took in what was happening around him and reflected it back through his art. He used music to help amplify this historic movement, in a brave show of solidarity with women and girls and all oppressed people living under the Islamic Republic’s brutal regime.

Baraye is a protest song. It means ‘For’ or ‘Because of’ in Farsi. Hajipour composed it by stitching together tweets, the words of everyday Iranians, who were freely expressing themselves — giving voice to their reason for demonstrating — ‘For women, For life, For freedom.’

Two days after Baraye was posted online, it had been viewed 40 million times — and Hajipour was arrested by government authorities. He was detained for six days before being released on bail. Hajipour knew there was risk in what he was doing. He did it anyway, and for this, we honor his bravery.

Hajipour’s award was presented by Emmy- and Tony-nominated Actor Arian Moayed (Succession), who is a cofounder of Waterwell, a not-for-profit group of artists, educators and producers dedicated to telling impactful storytelling.

Stéphane de la Faverie
Executive Group President, The Estée Lauder Companies
Mr. de la Faverie was recognized for using his platform to support a rising generation of women leaders. Under his leadership, Estée Lauder commissioned a global study on how women leaders are perceived — and then used these findings to develop a strategy for advancing women’s leadership.

The result of this work is the Estée Lauder Emerging Leaders Fund. Its mission is as simple as it is audacious: to change the face of leadership.

Through advocacy, mentorship and community building, and an immersive leadership training experience, the Fund provides direct, holistic support to individual women.

De la Faverie’s award was presented by global spokesmodel and Estée Lauder Brand Ambassador Karlie Kloss.

Eric Gonzalez
District Attorney of Brooklyn
Mr. Gonzalez is setting a new standard with a survivor-centered approach to justice. In a groundbreaking move, he’s reshaped his office by establishing a comprehensive Gender-Based Violence Division — effectively enlisting 20 percent of his workforce in the fight to end violence against women.

This move is victim-centered and trauma-informed — countless survivors of domestic violence, sexual assault and human trafficking will benefit from Gonzalez’s consolidated model, which protects against re-victimization and prioritizes care.

By prioritizing and resourcing this important work, he is sending a clear signal — not just to his peers throughout the country, but to survivors everywhere.

Gonzalez’s award was presented by Dr. Marina Pisklakova-Parker, Ph.D., a women’s rights activist and Vital Voices leader who is founder of the Center for the Prevention of Violence.

Dr. Qudratullah Nasrat
Afghan Medical Doctor and Champion of Women’s Health
Dr. Nasrat is a medical doctor who has dedicated his life to ending gender-based violence in Afghanistan. He leads the Organization for Research and Community Development, an NGO that promotes women’s rights.

When the Taliban took over Afghanistan, forcing many of his women colleagues into hiding, Dr. Nasrat bravely put himself forward. For years, he had been one of the only male activists involved in running women’s shelters. Elected by his female colleagues, Dr. Nasrat is also Chair of the national Afghan Women Shelter Network.

Because of increasing threats on the lives of activists like Dr. Nasrat, he was evacuated to Turkey, where he continues to support efforts on the ground in Afghanistan.

Dr. Nasrat’s award was presented by Zainab Salbi, a women’s rights activist and Vital Voices Board Member who founded Women for Women International.

Special guests for the evening also included comedienne, writer and Iranian-American actress Nasim Pedrad (Saturday Night Live, Aladdin), Iranian-American actress Mozhan Marno (The Black List, House of Cards), and International Human Rights Attorney Gissou Nia. The three women, who make up the Council of Iranian Women in Media, made an on-stage presentation of the Woman, Life, Freedom campaign in support of the women-led revolution against the Islamic Republic of Iran and the systemic oppression of women and girls under the regime.

The event raised more than $500,000 in donations to Vital Voices programs for women leaders around the world (including the Afghan Women’s Fund and year-round fellowships), including $100,000 raised during the evening’s interactive, on-stage text-to-give campaign led by former Google executive and Chief Technology Officer for the United States, Megan Smith, a Vital Voices member of the board of directors.

Thanks to Our Partners
We are so grateful for the support of our partners and event sponsors, who are committed to building a more equitable world. In addition to our host, The Diller-von Furstenberg Family Foundation, Vital Voices would also like to extend our special thanks to our Patron Sponsors: Inmaat Foundation, Kate James and Hans Bishop, and Rokt.

To add your support for Voices of Solidarity and all Vital Voices programs, donate here.