After 2017 opened the floodgates of a growing global movement for gender equality, all eyes were on 2018 and what it would bring. All we’d learnt in the aftermath of the years preceding it was that anything was possible – both a scary and an exciting prospect.
If 2017 felt like crawling towards change, 2018 felt like bursts of movement all over the planet as we realised just how powerful people can be when we choose equality and love over hate and fear.
We said this last year and it’s worth repeating, there is always nuance and complexity and no win comes without ‘buts’. The world doesn’t always get it right, and we have great strides to make in recognising the intersecting forms of discrimination and exclusions facing girls and marginalised children all over the world.
When we do succeed though, we want to shout it from the rooftops, because year on year, the barriers, injustices and inequalities facing women and girls are getting torn down – led by women, girls, children, men, boys and you. Thank you for standing for equality and justice for everyone.
Here are just some of the wins for gender equality from 2018
- Ethiopia reached a national record of 50% representation in their cabinet (something we could learn from here in Australia?)
- Norway outlawed child marriage and Delaware became the first state in the US to ban marriage for anyone under the age of 18.
- Our youth activists in Nepal, backed by almost 50,000 people worldwide – including you! – handed in a petition to the Mayor asking him to commit to ending child trafficking and he agreed to run a new public awareness raising campaign as a result!
- Iceland made the gender pay gap illegal in a real effort to close the gap that penalises women in the workplace.
- Here at home we ditched the tampon tax so women and girls will no longer be taxed for something that is a normal bodily function that’s been happening since the dawn of time.
- Ireland voted overwhelmingly in support of a woman’s right to choose and access legal, safe abortions.
- Girls across five cities raised awareness about street harassment, with over 21,000 girls across Delhi, Kampala, Lima, Madrid and Sydney using our Free to Be mapping tool to share their stories.
- This supported girls in Kampala to run a successful campaign to help end street harassment, taking thousands of signatures (including 4,000 from you – our supporters here in Australia!) to their Capital City Authority who agreed to improve lighting, street naming and accessibility in the city plus they’re going to run a campaign to change attitudes and behaviour around street harassment!
These changes are significant. They are decades in the making. They are backed by thousands of women, girls and allies who stand today and who have stood before them. They are backed by you. For that, we say thank you. Because you know an equal world for girls is a better, fairer world for all.
So what’s in store for 2019? We want to see more girls have the opportunity to drive the change they want to see. We want those who would otherwise go unheard to be given a platform to share their stories. We want to see more love, trust, empathy, justice, listening and bravery from people who have the power to make decisions.
And we want you standing beside us to help make it happen. Stay safe, and see you in 2019!