At every level of the World YWCA movement – from grassroots to global – we understand the importance of investing in young women’s leadership. Around   the world, we are collaborating with our partners to address the root causes of inequalities, to promote and protect women’s rights, and to ensure women are actively involved in critical opportunities and decision-making platforms.

Today, young women are leading the World YWCA movement to reach parity. They are transforming the social, economic, cultural, and political power structures which are currently expressed in and through patriarchy. And they are committed to serving a cause greater than themselves.

Today, as we commemorate International Youth Day, we encourage all leaders to empower young women and girls, to facilitate their leadership and to ensure the full implementation of their human rights so that they can help lead the changes the world so desperately needs. To do this, we need to embrace new ways of thinking, new ways of working–and we need to be open to change.

We also congratulate the young women leaders who are advocating for and leading change and creating a world filled with justice, peace, health, human dignity, freedom and care for the environment.

In the words of Samantha Plotino Emery, the World YWCA and YWCA USA representative today at the Inter – Agency Network on Youth Development Panel: Investing in Young Women’s Leadership:

“We know that women – young women in particular – are the key to achieving the sustainable development goals (SDGs).”