Author: Gauri Nimbalkar, Adolescent Girl Leader-India, Advocate for gender equality, good health and well-being.
The Generation Equality Midpoint was a crucial step marking the progress that has been made since the inception of the Generation Equality Forum (GEF) in 2021. The GEF committed to being a youth-led process involving different leaders, philanthropists, civil society, private sector, governments, and young people in all processes. As an Adolescent Girl Leader, I am proud to have been part of this process as well as being a commitment maker to Generation Equality.
The Generation Equality movement is one of the largest global campaigns aiming to achieve gender equality in all its intersections. My personal advocacy journey, similar to that of my fellow adolescent girl leaders, is an example that intersectional, intergenerational, and transformative multistakeholder spaces where young people have the power to lead and co-create processes are key to bringing young people to decision-making spaces such as UNGA.
I was privileged to co-moderate the GEF midpoint event in September 2023. As I gave the floor to the Executive Director of UN Women Sima Bahous, she reflected on the collective progress made in terms of advocacy, policy, financial and programmatic commitments, highlighting the results of the six action coalitions and the Women, Peace and Security and Humanitarian Action Compact. As part of feminist movement, I joined Feminists across all intersections and strongly resonated with what the Prime Minister of Iceland, Katrín Jakobsdóttir said when she reiterated that we cannot wait 300 years to achieve gender equality – this must be every government’s priority now.
Generation Equality Youth Leaders took to the stage during the Youth Spotlight Session to highlight the need for investing not only in transformative design processes but also in the young people driving this movement. The Action Coalition (AC) Youth Leaders, National Gender Youth Activists (NGYAs), youth commitment makers and Adolescent Girl Leaders among many others- pushed for deepened accountability and substantive funding to grassroots feminist organizations. Adolescent Girl Leaders emphasised the importance of recognition, and sustainable resources for their advocacy, beyond just the acknowledgment of their participation. We all recognized voices that were missing in the room, including activists, human rights defenders, other male-allies for gender equality, and the women and girls living every day in disaster and conflict-prone areas where their safety is at higher risk.
One of my key takeaways from the midpoint was to ensure that meaningful discussions initiated at this moment must not be confined to groups who are already aware and active. These conversations, ideas and resources must reach feminists, women & girls in all their diversity as the vast majority are marginalised and vulnerable and have no access to what happens within the walls of the UN.
I joined my fellow advocates as we voiced out the key messages from the Young Feminist Manifesto, and stated that we are more ready now than ever to step out and make a real impact, because our future depends on it. What can leaders and decision makers do to make this a reality? - What can you do? - I say “Give us the space to co-lead & co-create. Fund our movements for gender equality especially for movement building and work at the grassroots. Shift the power narrative. Close the communication gap. We want accountability and therefore initiate substantive dialogues between young feminists and decision makers”.
As an adolescent girl leader from the global south, representing girls from communities and countries like mine on a global platform, having an opportunity to tell decision-makers that we are looking for progress was a dream come true. However, there is still so much left to do with little time, and we're here to do it together.