Juana's Blog

Juana, a young human right activist from Malaysia.

Beijing+20 and I

Date: 5 December 2014

The Beijing+20 CSO and government meetings have been an eye-opening experience for young women attending the event. For many of us this is the first time we are witnessing high-level negotiations and international processes. We get to see first hand CSOs lobbying governments, and governments lobbying each other in the corridors of the United Nations. It has been both an exciting and gripping experience to observe and participate in this event, knowing that the outcome of the meetings will determine the action plan for women in Asia Pacific in the years to come.

Nevertheless, there is also an unsettling feeling among us. Young women, while we are present and considered part of the process, continue to participate only minimally. There is a disturbing sense of tokenism about our presence here. Yes, we convened a Young Women’s Caucus during the CSO meeting and have issued a formal statement in our own voice. But that statement remains largely on the sidelines of the main events and we are certainly not represented in any meaningful way in the intergovernmental process; not even as official delegates. A handful of young women sitting among the powerful does not make fair representation or participation. We need to be an integral part of this process.

The post-2015 agenda will be meaningless without input, involvement and consent by young women and girls as we are the generation that will have to see it through. Let’s make this work. Make room for us at the table. Deal us in now.

Juana Jaafar is an active member of 3R Malaysia. More of her stories can be found on her Twitter as @juanajaafar