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I believe in a world where everyone is equal. I also believe in the power of our generation. We have come to an era when youths are empowered to speak up for themselves and for others. I believe in changes that include everyone in our communities, leaving no one behind, and I am confident that we, all together, can build a better world for us all.
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A fatwa was issed against me; they condemned me for normalizing obscenity and indecency among women by persuading them to come out of their homes. … I said, ‘You should also give a fatwa against Hazrat Khadija (the first wife of Prophet Muhammad) because she was also a trader.’ “God has not made us as weak as we have made ourselves.”
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Billions of people across the world stand on the right side of history every day. They speak up, take a stand, mobilize, and take big and small actions to advance women’s rights. This is Generation Equality.
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“I grew up in India, in an environment where you see gender disparity around you everywhere in the way women are treated, but I was also brought up in a supportive, inter-caste and interregional environment at home that was very gender-equal. So I believed that if my family can create a nurturing environment, I should be able to do the same.
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Devishi Jha, is an 18-year-old climate activist who was born in India and now lives in the United States. She is the Director of Partnerships at Zero Hour, an international youth-led climate justice organization, and serves on the National Council at UNICEF USA.
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Ramida Juengpaisal, 24, from Thailand, is a digital product designer and front-end developer from 5 Lab Group co., ltd. a creative software company that created the COVID-19 Tracker in Thailand. She aims to bridge design and technology to make a better society.
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Shreen Saroor runs the Women’s Action Network (WAN) in Sri Lanka, a collective of women’s groups that empowers and advocates for women and women survivors of war, violence and other injustices. As the Generation Equality Forum – a landmark event to catalyze rapid advancement on gender equality – approaches, she calls on leaders to close the gaps between policies and implementation. The Forum is convened by UN Women and co-hosted by the governments of Mexico and France, in partnership with youth and civil society.
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Nidhi Mayurika is a 17-year-old student from Bangalore, India, who is a three-time winner of the NASA Ames Space Settlement Contest. Nidhi is a space enthusiast and wants to create awareness about climate action using a scientific approach.
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We have seen the evidence time and again that when women are given equal opportunities, they don't just change their own lives, they improve the lives of their families and the next generation.
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Madhura Dasgupta Sinha has more than 25 years of banking and leadership experience, and is now the CEO and Founder of Aspire For Her, which motivates young women to enter and stay in the workforce. According to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2021, with only 22.3 per cent of Indian women in the labour force and less women in leadership roles, India’s gender pay gap has increased this year. Aspire For Her is a Generation Equality Ally, a new communications and advocacy initiative under UN Women’s flagship campaign in India. UN Women spoke with Dasgupta Sinha on the occasion of Equal Pay Day, 18 September 2021.
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Krishna Sodha, 20, is a Physics graduate, social worker and educator. Her organization ‘little4change’ works on climate action, menstrual health and hygiene, women’s empowerment and human rights, with a focus on trans rights and sustainable living. “I believe that every woman and girl has the right to safe menstruation, free of taboo and misinformation. I was shocked to discover the lack of knowledge that women had about menstruation and menstrual hygiene products, only a few kilometers away from Ahmedabad.
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Captain Zoya Sapra Aggarwal is a commercial pilot and the commander with Air India, TED speaker and an inspiration to young women and girls in India and everywhere. In 2013, she became the youngest female pilot to fly a Boeing-777. In January 2021, she made another milestone by commanding an all-women team of pilots to fly Air India’s longest non-stop commercial flight from San Francisco, USA to Bengaluru, India. She been pointed to the Aerotime Global Advisory Board in recognition of her significant role in the aviation industry.
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I'm standing up and speaking out for our right to decide about our body, life and future. Being vocal about these rights means fighting for myself, for my loved ones, friends and family, for strangers across the globe in a world that was not built for us. Speaking up is my way of channeling my rage at our current world, and the process of rebuilding a new one.
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At the age of two, my leg became disabled due to polio. I didn’t realize how sheltered and protected I was from society’s gossip when my parents were alive. My parents encouraged me to pursue education – not to let polio limit life’s opportunities. Unfortunately, by 2005 both my parents had passed away. Being one of the eldest siblings, I took upon myself to look after my six sisters and two brothers. To make ends meet, I took on numerous odd jobs and used to crawl my way to clean people’s homes or wash clothes. In 2007, I pursued a fashion design course to strengthen the hand embroidery lessons I had received from my Dadi (grandmother).
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Women talking about their rights is frowned upon by their families and society at large. I wanted to use my privilege to highlight the struggles that women face in accessing basic rights including bodily rights and sexual and reproductive health. I’m doing that by creating spaces that empower other young people, including women and people with diverse gender identities, to be aware of their rights and to demand that they are respected.
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“We must provide people with the opportunity to change.” Change should start within families and communities by challenging harmful gender norms and raising awareness about gender equality, including among men and boys. Men and boys should be educated and encouraged to support women and work towards gender equality.
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Gaiotree Roy lives in Joldhaka, Rangpur in northern Bangladesh. She is currently studying Master of Arts in Philosophy. She is a karate trainer and steps away from achieving a black belt, the last stage of mastery in karate. She actively contributes to preventing gender-based violence and child marriage in her community. I am Generation Equality because… “I don’t want to see girls at risk of early and forced marriage..."
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Gaiotree Roy lives in Joldhaka, Rangpur in northern Bangladesh. She is currently studying Master of Arts in Philosophy. She is a karate trainer and steps away from achieving a black belt, the last stage of mastery in karate. She actively contributes to preventing gender-based violence and child marriage in her community. I am Generation Equality because… “I don’t want to see girls at risk of early and forced marriage..."
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Saraban Tahura Zaman is a feminist, human rights activist, and a lawyer. She is a core committee member of SheDecides Bangladesh. She is acting as the National Coordinator for the Right Here Right Now Bangladesh Platform and is a vocal speaker for the rights of youth and sexual and reproductive health and rights. She is also the founder of the first-ever feminist legal Network "Justicia" in Bangladesh, which provides support for peer-to-peer learning and tech-based legal help.
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I am generation equality because… “In the face of urgent and horrifying rights abuses, growing anti-rights forces and glacially slow change – it’s the collective creative energy of the feminist movement that keeps me going. It was a life-changing experience for me to join the Fiji Women’s Rights Movement 10 years ago. The feminists I met in Fiji and across the Pacific taught me so much about feminist practice, solidarity and most importantly, how to have fun while changing the world."