(Malala and I together at the Global Citizen Festival, September 2015)
Last September we came together as a community and did something amazing for the Global Goals. I wanted your help in making the goals famous and raising awareness for such an incredible project. Worldwide as a campaign we reached over 3 billion people and you guys were a big part of that and I can’t thank you enough. It really did surprise me how many of you were willing to take time out of your day to help the world and just be really nice people (sorry I don’t mean to sound shocked that you are nice people haha – I know you all are) it was just very touching and meant a lot to me. While I was working with the campaign and at the United Nations in New York, the topic I began to grow more and more interested was Goal 5 of the Global Goals, Gender Equality.
I was extremely lucky growing up in that my school teachers and parents never limited my dreams and always encouraged me to do whatever I wanted. My sister and I were made to feel that we could be ambitious and succeed and I never felt held back by my gender. My little brother was brought up to respect women and never feel pressures of traditional masculinity. But this isn’t the case for so many people.
As I have grown up, I’ve been able to be my own boss, run my own business and work hard to make a lot of my dreams come true without facing problems due to my gender. It’s easy to think that because of stories like mine that we don’t need to worry about Gender Equality in the same way that previous generations have, but the truth is that in so many countries and in so many ways, women are still repressed and put down by systems and beliefs. 31 million girls are still not enrolled in primary school, every day 39,000 girls are forced into marriage and women make up only 22% of parliament seats and 8% of the world’s executives.
If you don’t already know, the Global Goals are 17 goals agreed upon by 193 world leaders to end poverty, fight inequality and end climate change. I’m committed to helping make the Global Goals a reality and if you look into the problems behind lots of the goals, so many of them start with the exclusion and discrimination of girls and women. If women and men had equal wages and job opportunities, there would be no more global poverty – countries lose over $92 billion per year by failing to educate girls and boys equally. If we help girls, the rest of the world will benefit too. For example, if every Ethiopian girl finished school it would add almost $4 billion to the countries economy, shocking right? It all starts with girls, if we take action now, then we can help to give girls the opportunities that will allow them to grow up to be the best women they can be. Empowering girls and women brings everyone closer to human rights for all. Knowledge is power and I want us to start a conversation and learn about these issues together to shine a light on inequality. I want you guys to help me fight for Gender Equality. This isn’t a one time thing, it’s a long term commitment that as a community I want us to do everything we can to make a difference.
It’s time to take action towards the Global Goals. It’s Time For Girls.
Time for Girls is about everyone – irrespective of gender identity – coming together to make our world more equal, more inclusive and as a result better in every way. I wanted to create a place on the internet where we could raise awareness and take action for a variety of issues related to Gender Equality. I’ll be focusing on us learning together as knowledge and awareness really are so powerful. The more we all stand up for what we believe in, the more seriously our politicians have to take these issues. By taking these issues more seriously I mean they will implement laws and make decisions that directly impact the lives of the women and girls living in their country.
The first thing I’d love us to do is for each of us to take one action today. On the Global Goals website, I’ve worked with the team to create a page with a selection of incredible causes that you can help. It will take you a few seconds, most of them are petitions, but just imagine what could happen if each of you decided to go for it and help.
All you have to do is…
Step 1 – visit this website and pick one of the different actions on offer
Step 2 – once you’ve taken action for The Global Goals, make sure you post about it on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #TimeForGirls. I can’t wait to see how many of you get involved.
Step 3 – feel happy and proud of yourself that you are making a difference 🙂
I have a lot more things coming up soon, we are launching a really powerful video on the Global Goals website on Monday that I can’t wait to share with you guys. Even more excitingly I’m going to be hosting a twitter chat really soon (I’ll let you know the date closer to the time) where we can all talk more about these issues, you guys can ask me questions and also share your stories with me.
I’m still learning about these issues and I have a long way to go, but I really want us to go on this journey together. We’re a generation that can truly make a positive impact on our world and I believe that change starts with improving the lives of girls and women. It’s Time For Girls.
The video is on YouTube now! Here it is…