Women and girls represent half of the world’s population and therefore also half of its potential. But today, gender inequality persists everywhere and stagnates social progress. Women continue to be underrepresented at all levels of political leadership, with 23.7% representation in national parliaments which is far from parity. Across the globe, women and girls perform a disproportionate share of unpaid domestic work. Inequalities faced by girls can begin right at birth and follow them all their lives. In some countries, girls are deprived of access to health care or proper nutrition, leading to a higher mortality rate. One in three women worldwide experience physical or sexual violence, with violence against women and girls intensifying since the outbreak of COVID-19
Gender equality is a right. Fulfilling this right is the best chance we have in addressing some of the most pressing challenges of our time. Every day we are inspired by women all over the world who dedicate their time — even their lives — to raise awareness of matters that are important to them. Elevating women’s voices also helps show that they not only possess the drive, will and solutions to global problems, but also the leadership that help turn things around.
We’d like to highlight 5 incredible women who we recently engaged with and who live up to our call to #TurnItAround for climate action, gender equality and reduced inequalities. Check them out and be sure to join their efforts on social media. And take a moment out of your day to shine a spotlight on women that you admire — tag us @SDGAction and we may add your post on our channels too. #TurnItAround
1. Mitzi Jonelle Tan
Climate justice activist
Talk to us and fight with us. Silence the room and make space for us. [Marginalized people] are not just anecdotes in your speech about how bad the climate crisis is. Talk about how we’ve been fighting climate injustice for all our lives.” — at the SDG Global Festival of Action
Mitzi Jonelle Tan is a climate justice activist based in the Philippines. She is the convenor and international spokesperson of Youth Advocates for Climate Action Philippines (YACAP), the Fridays For Future (FFF) of the Philippines. She is also active in FFF International, advocating for climate justice and making sure that the voices of Most Affected Peoples and Areas (MAPA)’s strikers are heard, amplified, and given space. She first became an activist in 2017 after integrating with indigenous leaders of her country, which pushed her to realize that collective action and system change is what we need for a just and greener society. Follow Mitzi on Twitter and Instagram.
2. Trisha Shetty
“When we talk about a turning point, look to the young people look for them for their advocacy and protect them, put your money behind them, protect them vocally, actively. Support them, make sure they will lead us towards the light.” — at the SDG Global Festival of Action
Trisha Shetty is a social activist and lawyer from Mumbai, India. She started SheSays, a non-profit organization working for gender equality through youth and civic-society engagement. Her organization works on public safety, security, quality education, good health and well-being, digital literacy, sanitation, public policy and advocacy through a gender-sensitive lens. Trisha is also the President of the Steering Committee of Paris Peace Forum; an initiative by President Macron to promote good global governance. She was one of the 12 globally selected Obama Foundation Scholars at Columbia University and currently sits on the Global Leadership Council for The Museum for the United Nations — UN Live and the Global Advisory Board of Unleash. Follow Trisha on Twitter and Instagram.
3. Yemi Alade
Musician and UNDP Goodwill Ambassador
“Being given this opportunity to speak on climate change and to find solutions in conversations and research, that definitely gives me the opportunity to lend my voice, to share the knowledge, to encourage people to have such conversations and work towards sustainable solutions.” — at the SDG Global Festival of Action
Nigerian singer-songwriter, composer, actress and entertainer Yemi Alade was appointed a Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) on 23 September 2020. As a UNDP Goodwill Ambassador, Yemi Alade mobilizes support for the Sustainable Development Goals focusing on fighting inequality, empowering women, and raising awareness to the impacts of climate change. With four albums and many hits under her belt, the Nigerian star is one of the most prominent Afro-pop female artists on the African continent, and the first African female Afro-pop artist to hit over 100 million views on YouTube. Follow Yemi on Twitter and Instagram.
4. Meera Dasgupta
“Women are leaders who do not have to bleed to be queens to carry gilded crowns and cultivate cities. This democracy — we are not one, but many united, a state which continues to evolve, as the seasons involve with intersections and highways, where black, brown and white women, LGBTQI+ women, older women and girls stand and shake hands at the precipice of a horizon which has risen.” — at the SDG Global Festival of Action
Meera Dasgupta is the 2020 United States Youth Poet Laureate with the National Youth Poet Laureate Program and Urban Word NYC. A Van Lier Fellow, Federal Hall Fellow, Climate Speaks Winner, & Scholastic Arts and Writing Winner, her performances have been featured by the NY Times, PBS, Apple, Grist, the Apollo, Bryant Park etc. and she has been invited to perform at Carnegie Hall, the Teen Vogue Summit, TEDxCUN. Follow Meera on Twitter and Instagram.
5. Prajakta Koli
YouTuber and Actress
“It is never too late to start doing your bit. For starters, look out for organizations that work with issues that matter to you. Sort out how you would like to help. There is service you can do in person or virtually. Discuss your scope of work and start small. Every little bit of effort counts.”
-From interview with YouTube CEO Susan Wojcicki
Prajakta Koli, aka MostlySane, is one of India’s biggest digital creators with over 6 million subscribers. As an ambassador for YouTube’s global program, Creators For Change, Prajakta was invited to the UN headquarters in New York on International Day of Tolerance to showcase her project ‘No Offence’ which speaks about hate speech, sexism and homophobia. She has collaborated with several of the biggest global personalities like Susan Wojcicki, Russell Peters, Yohan Blake, Brie Larson and Samuel L. Jackson among others. She has shared the stage with the likes of Michelle and Barack Obama, Beyonce, Lady Gaga and more for YouTube’s Dear Class of 2020. Prajakta is part of Forbes India’s 30 under 30 list and Entrepreneur India’s 35 under 35 for 2019 along with Outlook Magazine’s Women of Worth and Economic Times’ Gamechanger in the Field of Entertainment. Follow Prajakta on Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.
Show your love for Gender Equality by using our Butterfly Wings on social media! Tag us @SDGAction and we may feature you on our channels — tell the world what you are doing to spark positive change! Don’t forget our hashtag #TurnItAround.
By Christina Samson, UN SDG Action Campaign