Becoming a young activist is still a challenge, especially when you’re a girl

On 1 February, Eurochild Children’s Council Members, Una and Petra, joined a virtual consultation on girls’ and young women’ activism organised by the UN Working Group on Discrimination against Women and Girls (UN WGDWG).

« I’m an activist and I’m a girl. When you put those together, it doesn’t get really pleasant » says Una, one of the 14 girls who participated to a virtual consultation with young activists on the theme of girls’ and young women’s activism.

Being girls, most participants shared to have experienced sexism first-hand in their day-to-day lives and that it can be challenging to speak up about it because a lot of these episodes happen in school or in youth organisations and they initially didn’t know how to react.

Therefore, we need to bring children’s rights where it matters the most, in schools: it is essential to empower other children to learn how to recognise when their rights are being violated and to feel supported in speaking up about it. Furthermore, teachers and adults need to become more understanding and supportive of activism and of children deciding to get involved in the political discourse.

Both Petra and Una explained that they decided to become activists when their supporting organisations went to their respective schools to present their work. « I’m driven by a vision of the World where all children – no matter their background – can have the chance to become activists, if they want to », shared Petra when explaining what made her decide to become involved.

A new, more inclusive and stronger society starts within local communities. We collectively bear responsibility in spreading awareness about activism and in creating forums and spaces, where children and young people can have the possibility to speak to decision makers and politicians about decisions affecting them directly.

This consultation is part of a series of hearings, where girls from all over the World are invited to share their life experiences as young activists. Girls attending this meeting were supported by Eurochild members from Hungary and Slovenia, Plan International and Child Rights Connect.

The concerns and experiences shared in these meetings will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council in June.

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