Investing in Young Women’s Leadership – Key to Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals
By admin August 16, 2016

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UN Women, in collaboration with the UN Inter-Agency Network on Youth Development, hosted an event in celebration of the International Youth Day – “Investing in young women’s leadership is key to implementing the SDGs”. Currently there is a global youth bulge of some 1.8 billion young people, mostly in developing countries in Africa and Asia. This emerging population trend makes engaging young people – and especially young women, who are often left out of opportunities for economic, political and civic advancement – as agents for gender equality an international imperative.

Across the world, young women and girls continue to face gender-based discrimination and cultural barriers, including unequal access to education and opportunities, which stifle their potential for leadership and participation in the society. Impacting one in three women and girls around the world, gender-based violence remains a formidable obstacle to young women’s empowerment. As the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) pointed out, achieving gender equality worldwide is key to unlocking the rest of seventeen SDGs.

In the recent UN Women event, 15 young women leaders gathered together to share experiences and strategies on how to empower other young women and inspire a new generation of female leaders. Those leaders mentioned that changing the traditional customs that keep girls away from school, and having open conversations among men and women will help change the situations. UN Women’s youth strategy is built around the “LEAPs” framework, which is firstly launched in 2015. It calls for investing in young women’s Leadership; Economic empowerment of young women; Actions to end violence against young women and girls; and strengthening Partnerships with young women, young men and intergenerational partnerships, to catalyze progress towards gender equality and sustainable development.

Apart from the meeting, UN Women has continued devoting their attention in protection and education of adolescent girls. Program “Making Women’s Voices and Votes Count”, funded by UN Women’s Fund for Gender Equality, worked to help transform the numerical presence of local elected women representatives in India into substantive participation, ensuring a women- and gender-responsive government. India introduced a quota for women in local governments in 1992 and nearly 1.2 million rural women hold leadership positions across the country.

In 2010, UN Women-Africa inaugurated the Africa Young Women Leadership Program (AYWLP) to increase access for young African women to economic opportunities and decision-making positions at national, regional, and global levels. AYWLP supported emerging women leaders, aged 18-35, through networking, skills development, mentoring, and inter-generational dialogue.

Programs like these does not only benefit young girls. They have a multiplier effect when young women are empowered as leaders. Government become more accountable, technology is shared, and international cooperation become stronger, which demonstrate that investment on young women is key to sustainable development.

For more information:

The road to 2030: “Leadership by and for young women”

Investing in Young Women’s Leadership is Key to Implementing the SDGs – 2016 Summer Youth Assembly

Youth Perspective: Investing in Young Women’s Leadership to Achieve the SDGs

The Youth Assembly at the United Nations

Thanks for sharing !

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