Do you ever have those moments in life that stick out as “light bulb” moments? Whether you are driving down a road or in a meeting at work. Something hits you like a ton of bricks and you understand certain aspects of life more clearly. One of these “light bulb” moments occurred for me three years ago at the 68th Session of the United Nations General Assembly. I walked into the UN with head held high, ready to attend a high level lunch to talk about progress for women, girls and children. I brushed by Melinda Gates and ran into Mohammed Yunus and chatted with him for a little while. I am not the type of person who gets star struck but let’s just say there were a lot of important people in the room.
As the beautiful lunch continued, I scanned the room and quickly realized there wasn’t one single girl, woman or child in the room. At that moment I remember thinking:
What makes us think that we can wall ourselves into a high level lunch to talk about women’s and girls’ lives without even including them?
Since that time we have transitioned from focusing on the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Essentially, these are a set of goals and targets for countries to reach to improve global development and the world as whole. The MDGs had 8 goals with lofty targets and the SDGS have 17 goals. In rooms devoid of women and girls the question has historically been: How are we going to involve girls and young women in this? I think we need to focus on the what, not the how, this year. There are so many ways young girls and women are already making a difference.
Girls and Young Women Are:
- Raising their Voices – All over the world, girls and young women are not only talking about sustainable development they are a part of it. Do a quick Google search on young women activists and I guarantee you will find hours of multimedia and inspirational talks.
- Writing for Action – Young women and girls all over the world are utilizing new media and technology like never before. Take the latest post from Girls’ Globe blogger, Mia as an example.
- Advocating for Change – Young women and girls are advocating for adolescent health, education and against practices like child marriage, female genital mutilation and so many other injustices around the world. Just take a look at how young girls view the SDGs in this recent beautiful photo montage.
This year, Girls’ Globe has 6 amazing young women coming to the UN General Assembly from around the globe. The purpose? To enter into these spaces so that their voices and opinions are heard. They are changemakers. During the 71st Session of the United Nations, the question shouldn’t be: Why should we include girls and women in the implementation and decision making for the Sustainable Development Goals? The conversations and discussions will hopefully be what are they already doing to see this through? Simply because they are already DOING IT.
Girls’ Globe will be present in NYC during the 71st Session of the UN General Assembly. Follow the hashtag #GlobalGoals and core coverage partners, Johnson & Johnson and FHI 360. Sign up for the In Focus Newsletter at crowd360.org/unga-2016/
Featured image: UN Women/Catianne Tijerina (Creative Commons)