The Future Young Women Want: World YWCA report launched at CSW 57
On March 5, 2013, at the Commission on the Status of Women 2013, the World YWCA hosted the session The Future Young Women Want: Putting women’s rights at the heart of the post-2015 development agenda with the official launch of the World YWCA report – The Future Young Women Want: A Global Call to Act. The report was produced through consultations, workshops, interviews and online surveys with young women from the YWCA movement. The launch brought together young women advocates, UN agencies, government representatives and women leaders from around the world.
The Future Young Women Want: A Global Call to Act report outlines and articulates specific goals, values, barriers and challenges faced globally by young women in the context of the Post- Millennium Development Goals agenda (Post-2015). Furthermore, the report sets out a clear framework and recommendations to achieving the future that young women want as expressed in the report. The event was moderated by Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda, World YWCA General Secretary and featured speakers including Penny Williams Australian Global Ambassador for Women and Girls, Dara Richardson Heron, YWCA USA CEO, Dianne Stewart, UNFPA Director of Information and External Relations, Marcia Banasko, World YWCA Communications Officer and several other young women advocates.
“Young women must be recognised as a crucial population group who has unique potential. Young women must have access to comprehensive sexuality and HIV education, reproductive health services and be free to choice if or when to marry and have children” stated Marcia Banasko of the World YWCA while introducing the report. As expressed in the report, young women continue to face challenges in achieving: economic security, informed choices free coercion, violence and discrimination about sexual and reproductive health, freedom from all forms of violence, equal access to resources and information, and active citizenship and opportunities for leadership development. Despite numerous calls for meaningful participation by young women, they continue to fall through the cracks because they are not sufficiently covered by initiatives targeting children, are outnumbered by boys in young people’s programmes and are often unable to speak out in women spaces. The World YWCA believes that young women must be recognised as critical population group in achieving development and not absorbed into generic approaches.
Dianne Stewart, speaking to sexual and reproductive health and rights stated, “We must see a world where every pregnancy is wanted, every child birth is safe and every person gets to reach their full potential.” Ms. Heron spoke of the importance of inter-generational leadership when tackling issues of ongoing gender inequality. “I have to tell you that I have learnt something from you young women today. After listening to the YWCA young women I know that the future is bright. There is a lot to be done and we cannot do it alone. We encourage others to join us in the fight” shared Ms. Heron.
“The Future Young Women Want” outlines an overall framework for what young women demand to see in any post-2015 development agenda, including:
- Ensuring that human rights principles are embedded in any international, regional and national frameworks
- Mainstreaming gender across all goals and targets of any post-2015 development goals
- Retaining gender equality as a primary goal with accelerated efforts and expanded resourcing to eliminate persistent gender inequalities and discrimination
- Accountability, monitoring and evaluation of future goals and targets with processes that strengthen national ownership and promote partnership among governments, civil society and private sector
The Future Young Women Want report is an essential document in providing direction and specific demands/recommendations that work to include issues surrounding young women and gender equality in international platforms in the coming years. As stated in the report and shared by Marcia Banasko, “Young women aged between 18-30 years constituted around 860 million of the world’s population in 2010. That is 860 million beating hearts and 860 million opinions, 860 million ways to see the stars, 860 million ways to dance. There are 860 million unique smiles and 860 million laughs. And there are 860 million dreams to be realised. But we are more than statistic, we are a valuable asset to nations, a critical population group for achieving human development and our voices must count in shaping the future of humanity.”
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