One of the key things that emerged from the just concluded Women Deliver Global Conference in Malaysia was to engage youth, empower them with timely information and provide them the platform to look beyond their immediate sphere.
Youth-led advocacy has greater impact on society as youth hold the required energy and determination to bring a change in society. Young people are full of ideas and they need to be heard.
The youth pre-conference at Malaysia saw a strong group of 100 young leaders who were determined to act on behalf of the women in our society who are struggling to restore their human rights.
Young people need to be empowered and be equipped with information to prevent all forms of inequality that exists in society.
Globally we have 3 billion people under the age of 25, who fail to exercise their basic rights.
In all most all cases the policies and programmes that are developed by the political agencies, neglect the need of youth.
Gender equality and gender neutrality have become myths. The power structure of our society is so imbalanced that a woman has to suffer at every step to exercise her basic rights.
When empowerment comes from the kind of education one gets, women and girls are the most vulnerable as far the access to information is concerned.
We don’t need statistical data to prove it. At the conference there was consensus to bring youth to the forefront of development agenda and let them talk about their priorities before the agencies.
The big idea about change needs to be heard and aspirations of youth need to be counted.
In order to close the gap between what is known and what ought to be, there is a need to emphasise the role on youth as the drivers of change in their immediate locality.
They have to be empowered with the right tools and knowledge so that they can advocate their rights, highlight issues that affect them and raise their voices before the decision makers.
Some of the initiatives that need to be considered are formation of youth clusters and task forces at every institution level that would share information, creating youth centric interventions, making the government accountable of its electoral commitments through constant dialogue and lastly, finding a progressive platform to augment the collective spirit. We just need to consider the power and enthusiasm of youth who can transform society. It can only happen, when they are empowered. And on a brighter note, it’s always apt to say that — invest in girls and women — it pays!
The writer is pursuing his Ph.D in Mass Communication in Pondicherry University. He was one of the 100 leaders representing India at the conference in Kuala Lumpur