Acclaimed Indian actor Anupam Kher has been named an advocate for the United Nations' campaign on gender equality.
The 60-year-old "Saaransh" star will collaborate with the world body to call on men and boys to stand up against inequalities against women and girls, thereby ending the discrimination and violence against them.
Kher was pinned as a "HeForShe" Champion by UN Women Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri at a ceremony here last evening.
The Kashmiri actor said he was honoured to be named the HeForShe advocate and voiced his full support for the organisation's efforts to achieve gender equality.
"Most important is that you have to start the change at home. You have to know how to treat your daughter and it should not be different from the way you treat your son," Kher told PTI.
He termed the mindset of masculinity means overpowering or oppressing women as "ridiculous".
"Weak men show their masculinity to women. A powerful and strong man will never do that, he will allow the women to be powerful," he said.
Kher added that men in India grow up with a feeling of being superior to women. The actor, however, feels that change is gradually taking place in India in the way women are treated but said there is still a long way to go.
"There is a beginning. Things are changing in India but the change is very silent, it doesn't happen overnight. In a society like India, change takes a little time," he said.
Kher also underscored the importance of making people sensitive about gender issues. He also voiced hope in the Indian young generation, which he said are forward-looking and having grown up in a free India that do not have any colonial hangovers.
"I have great faith in the younger generation. I have great hope for India because of the younger generation," he said adding that the youth will ensure a bright future for the country.
The "Baby" actor said the opportunity to work with the UN will now enable him to work "officially" on issues on which he has been so far working "unofficially".
Puri said UN Women is keen to work with Kher because as a renowned actor, filmmaker, motivational speaker and philanthropist, he can play a key role in challenging gender stereotypes, harmful practises, discriminatory social norms and traditions and structural values that perpetuate gender inequality and violence against women not only in India but also across the world.
Kher, who has worked on over 100 plays and nearly 450 films, has been pinned to acknowledge his tremendous contribution and continuing work towards gender equality.
In addition to his work in films, Kher has been deeply involved in philanthropy and established The Anupam Kher Foundation to spread education among less privileged children and to provide palliative care to people with life-limiting diseases and has been awarded the Dalai Lama Award for his work with underprivileged children.
"HeForShe" is a global movement that calls upon men and boys to stand up against inequalities faced by women and girls. More than 400,000 men have already signed on as champions.