Smart girl, Liz Jessop, just represented the United States at the Girls20 Summit in early June where she worked out solutions to issues with girls from all over the world just like the 20 world leaders would do three weeks later. Here is her experience representing the US at Girls20:
I’m number 4,541. What’s your number? There are 3.5 billion women and girls in the world…and therefore, 3.5 billion ways to change the world. And I will be the change. Lily is the change. We are all the change.
Lily already told you a little bit about the G(irls)20 Summit here. The formal presentation of the G(irls)20 Summit concluded on May 29 after two full days of presentations by some of the most passionate, inspirational women and men, who spend their daily lives fighting for women and girls. We heard from representatives of the World Bank, World Economic Forum, the UN, the NoVo Foundation, Norton Rose, Nissan, the Nike Foundation, the Girl Effect, Google, and many others.
The G20 summit took place in Mexico where the world’s most influential leaders will make important decisions regarding economic investment and policy that affects women and girls. So, in preparation for the summit, 21 young girls and global leaders discussed food security and violence against women, in terms of opportunity gained and lost. After the summit, the delegates spent over 12 hours preparing a communiqué of suggestions for the G20 leaders to give women a place on the economic agenda. The communiqué was presented to Bernice Diaz, a representative of the G20 leaders, at a press conference on Thursday, May 31in Mexico City.
The communiqué suggested several agricultural interventions to support women in agriculture including: a treaty to increase the land ownership by women; additional water sources; training opportunities in sustainable techniques and technology; an international committee to designate leadership for the national, state, and local levels; reorientation of subsidy programs; etc. On the subject of violence against women, the delegates of the G(irls)20 Summit called on the G20 leaders to encourage women to take jobs in largely male-dominated sectors or industries; address the need for gender-specific infrastructure in the workplace; promote character-based education on issues of gender equality, like violence prevention; use policy reform to change the message of media; etc. These suggestions are put forth recognizing that the G20 leaders play an important role in shaping the right policy framework for women’s economic participation. If these suggestions are not taken into consideration, the G20 leaders would be limiting the potential for economic growth and development. Women and girls are a vital player in the economy, and beyond that, in the social and political structure of society as well.
Imagine what a difference it would make if each of the suggestions was considered and acted upon by the G20 leaders. The entire face of poverty would change, as we know it.
I am well aware of issues facing women in my own country. There are problems facing girls and women everywhere. I would like to see more women like those I met at the summit: empowered, inspired, and influential.
Of all the things I learned at the summit, I realized that everyone truly can make a difference. Whether you take the time to travel and serve abroad and build a well in a small rural African village or simply put up an important article and raise awareness through social media, each person can play a key role in elevating the position of women and girls. For every adolescent girl and woman you empower, a ripple effect will be sent to her family, her community, her nation, and the world! This is the power of the Girl Effect.
Use your voice, use your girl cell, to raise awareness of issues concerning girls and women around the world. Raise your voice. We must act now.
The G(irls)20 Summit has finished for the year, but that doesn’t mean our work is done. One girl really does make all the difference. Again I will ask, What’s your number? I’m number 4,541. There are 3.5 billion women and girls in the world…and therefore, 3.5 billion solutions to fighting poverty and ending hunger. Become an agent of change and add your voice to the global discussion by finding your number at www.girls20summit.com. You aren’t just a number, you’re the change.
The revolution starts with you.
Girls, this is it!!!