This Is Our Moment: The Girl Declaration Experience

 by
Advocacy , Events , Leadership

Being involved with Girl Up the past few years has changed my life, no doubt. But I never imagined that I would get to meet other girl advocates from around the world, and have the opportunity to become friends with them! But that’s exactly what happened on March 7 at a Girl Declaration advocacy event during the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).

girl delcaration event

Photo Credit: GirlEffect.org

 

This event brought together youth leaders from around the world to increase their understanding of the Girl Declaration, the post-2015 process and CSW/Beijing+20. I attended the event along with four other Girl Up leaders, and we participated in an advocacy workshop to learn about the messages and themes of the Girl Declaration and the post-2015 framework.

Let’s back up. If you didn’t know already, the Girl Declaration is a call to action urging global leaders to put adolescent girls at the heart of efforts to help end global poverty with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). We know that when you empower a girl, you are setting up her country and our world for success. Girls are very unique and vital for solving world poverty. In many places in the world, girls often face a lot of challenges and barriers that boys and men do not typically face. To put it simply, being a girl is hard.

But, *cue superhero music da-da- DA* this is where the Girl Declaration comes in! The Girl Declaration’s recommendations address key issues affecting adolescent girls, including education, health, safety, economic security, and citizenship.

It’s hard to deny that girls are powerful when we know the following facts:

  •  In one country, if young women had the same employment rate as young men, the country would add US $13.9 billion annually
  • With nearly 4 million adolescent mothers, one country loses $383 billion annually in potential life income.

If we invested in girls, we would all benefit, and not just economically.

During the workshop, we talked about how to make the world a better place for girls and explored the main challenges that girls in our community face. This conversation brought forth the stories and perspectives of each of the girl advocates in the room, many of whom live in countries outside of the U.S., like Ethiopia, Guatemala, Malawi, and Kenya. It was cool to be a part of a conversation that felt truly global.

The room was full of inspiring girls. I got to meet Memory from Malawi, a true girl hero. I mean, this girl is really changing the world and I got to chat with her! I also got to meet so many other amazing girls – each has been an amazing influencer within her community and, as a result of hard work and advocacy, these girls have now become global leaders for all girls to look up to, myself included!

What made this workshop so particularly important was that several youth leaders like Memory and Achie were preparing to speak to their representative(s) at the United Nations to share their stories to hopefully convince their representatives that girls are the answer to ending poverty. Emelin even addressed the UN!

All the girls who participated in the workshop were given ribbon bracelets that have quotes from several of the girls who were consulted in order to devise the Girl Declaration. I wear mine each day to remind myself that this is the time for the world to recognize and support the 250 million girls around the world.

This is our moment.

This is a guest blog written by Girl Up Teen Advisor Morgan Wood.  She is a senior at Maine-Endwell High School, where she leads the MECSD Girl Up Club.