International Women’s Day (IWD) is always an important moment for us to reflect upon our efforts in advancing an equal world for girls and women.
Often, young people are left to define what this day means for the work they do; its relevance to their lives or that of the work they do. The 2018 theme of IWD celebrations is #pressforprogress, and this to us means striving and persisting to ensure we achieve better in bridging the gender inequality gap and addressing key gender imbalances that keep many women at the bottom.
However, as we do this, let us not forget that IWD is about young people as much as it about girls and women.
Young people make up 50% of the world’s population: Women Deliver states that young people currently make up more than half of the world’s population they – young people, especially women – face more challenges realizing their full potential.
Young girls and women carry a bigger burden dealing with gender-related discrimination and challenges: from the more than 60% that make up the population of people living with HIV or the 72% of these in Sub Saharan Africa to the more than 39,000 girls married every year against their will, among others.
Young people deserve equal representation and power – Nothing about us without us: There is an urgent need to involve young people in key decision making processes about issues that affect them. This involves giving them a chance to age-appropriate sexual and reproductive health and rights messages, and youth friendly services.
Young people have equal responsibility in shaping the world they want to see in future: Since young people make up more than a majority population. Surely, they should be involved in processes that involve planning and implementation of policies that affect their lives.