12 March 2014 – NEW YORK
The event began with a presentation on interesting findings regarding girls and young women from the MY World Survey by María Faré Garcia, Project Manager of MY World. The survey, already answered by 1.5 million people in 194 countries, is available on website, by SMS and by paper and pen ballot with the help of over 700 partners. Respondants are asked to choose six out of 16 priorities which would help them and their families live in a better world. Globally, the gender divide in voting is equal except in SMS voting, which is 70% male. Almost 30% of MY world respondents are girls and young women. “Equality between men and women” ranks eighth with females aged 16-30, and 13th with males of same age. This data is available at data.myworld2015.org.
Emmeline Versoza, Executive Director of the Philippine Commission on Women, spoke of the amazing progress that the Phillipines has made on MDGs by prioritizing women in their development agenda. She emphasized the need for a standalone goal on the empowerment of women and girls in the post-2015 agenda.
“All over the world, 800 women a day still die from complications in childbirth” said Nanette Braun, Advocacy and Communications Specialist from UN Women. “MDG progress for women and girls has been much too slow,” she continued, revealing the new post-2015 Beijing initiative to be launched in the coming months which will focus on accelerating progress. She advocated for more focus on violence against women, access to education and empowerment for leadership skills in girls, and for women in leadership.
The most touching moment of the event occurred when Beatrice Omweri, a Girl Guide in Kenya, told about her every day reality. She delcared that “I am here today to say no to violence and to see a world where equality is a reality.” She spoke about how climate change affects her life as a young African woman, especially in fetching water for her family. “Is it a crime to be born a woman?” she wondered aloud through tears. Girl guiding has given her hope, and helped her own empowerment and those of the girls around her.
Moved by the speakers before him, Gerardo Porteny from Young Men 4 Gender Equality began, “being surrounded by so many woman leaders inspires me to fight for gender equality.” He spoke about how his organization and the various campaigns related to it promote gender equality and the fact that true masculinity is championing the women around you: “Equality leads to a better and more loving relationship.”
The event rounded out with a general call to promote equality between men and women, the promotion of a standalone goal on gender, and praise of WAGGGS in their efforts in promoting MY World and serving as advocates and leaders for women and girls everywhere.