Invest in young women’s voice, action and leadership to achieve Planet 50-50: UN ASG Lakshmi Puri
UN Assistant Secretary-General and UN Women Deputy Executive Director engages with young people in Chennai
Date: 29 August 2016
Chennai, India – “The role of youth in achieving women’s empowerment and a more equal world – a ‘Planet 50-50’ – is crucial and a key step towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals,” United Nations Assistant Secretary-General (ASG) and UN Women Deputy Executive Director Lakshmi Puri said during a vibrant interaction with young people in Chennai on Monday.
More than 150 students, youth activists and young professionals participated in the interaction organised by UN Women (the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women) and the UN Inter Agency Network on Youth Development. They brainstormed on ways to mobilise youth for gender equality, drawing on UN Women’s ‘LEAPS’ framework which calls for strengthening young women’s Leadership, promoting Economic empowerment and skills development of young women, and Action to end violence against young women and girls. Additionally, it makes a case for promoting the Participation of young women and their organizations, partnerships with young men in gender equality as well as intergenerational partnerships.
“Young women and men represent a huge potential resource as agents of change. With approximately 600 million adolescent girls and young women empowered and educated today, we have the opportunity to create a huge wave of change which will impact how our world looks in the future,” Ms. Puri said.
Speaking alongside Ms. Puri were three youth panelists, Arun Krishnamurthy, Hafsa Badsha and Kirthi Jayakumar. The panel was moderated by Youth Planet 50-50 Champion Saket Mani and Shivapriya Ganapathi, a research scholar at Madras University.
“Youth today are far more connected and integrated through online and offline communication channels than ever before, young people always have something relevant to say, a view, a thought or a dream,” said Mr. Mani. “An intergenerational movement that bands together people of all ages, genders, backgrounds, and economic backgrounds would create an alliance unlike any other. UN Women has recognized the context of youth and gender equality, and has developed a strategy that targets young female empowerment.”
The panelists also emphasised the importance of having men speak up and act for gender equality. “Young men have an empowering role as advocates and partners willing to leave behind entrenched discriminatory practices and be equal drivers of the global solidarity movement for gender equality,” said Ms. Puri.
The interaction concluded with speakers and participants pledging to strengthen initiatives for the empowerment of young women, mobilise diverse voices across generations and develop a roadmap to encourage young people to become advocates for gender equality.
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