A blog by Dominique-Dee Jones, a member of our Youth Activists Series for 2020. This week Plan International Youth Activists are proud to release their youth-led research, A Better Normal: Girls Call For A Revolutionary Reset.
Girls are experts of their own experience. However, it’s clear that the pre-COVID world routinely disregarded our voices. But the COVID pandemic has provided society with the opportunity to build back something better. A better normal.
That’s why I, along with my fellow youth activists in Australia and Vietnam, are calling for a revolutionary reset - one that is led by girls, for girls. To achieve a better normal, power holders must hear our voices, in all their intersectionalities.
A Better Normal: Girls Call For A Revolutionary Reset is a youth-led report co-authored by 22 inspiring young leaders from Australia and Vietnam between the ages of 15-24.
We want a just, equitable world - one where the voices of those marginalised are heard loud and clear. To build this world, the recommendations of our report are being presented in an open letter to the members of the United Nations General Assembly in September.
This is what girls worldwide are dreaming of:
A world where everyone feels valued and heard, and free to do what they love.
A world surrounded by kindness, peace, opportunity and acceptance for each other, with equality in leadership and the protection of rights.
A transformation of the way society works to truly co-exist with the Earth, leaving an equitable and hopeful place for the generations to come.
It doesn't just stop there. We don’t just want our voices heard. We want to see concrete measures to be taken to make sure girls aren't left behind in this new post-COVID world.
Under this aspirational – and achievable – vision, six pillars underpinned our research.
- Educated citizens of the world, outlining the need for compassionate and empathetic learning outside the walls of a classroom
- Gender justice, emphasising a respect and empowerment of girls voices without the fear of gender roles and stereotypes
- Protection of rights and access to resources, ensuring a world where resources are equitably distributed whilst ensuring we are supportive of one another
- Inclusion and equality in power, where youth and minority voices are given a platform and are regarded as experts in their own right
- Freedom to be human, highlighting the need for a slowed down world where there are no constraints on who you are
- Climate justice, involving the acceptance of the both scientific and Indigenous peoples to develop a sustainable future for our planet
We wanted to make sure that what we crafted reflected the shared concerns and hopes of girls around the world. More than 1,000 girls from 99 countries shared their voice, with over 94% of our participants affirming each of our pillars.
Vietnam leader, Phuong Anh said that the “research is an opportunity for girls and young women to stand up against the system that perpetuates inequality and injustice.”
Our feminist-led research not only realises that girls are bearing the brunt of COVID, but also that we are fierce and readily equipped with the blueprint to a fairer world, one where we assume the authority we deserve.
Our new report consists of many recommendations which call on governments, their departments and other policy-makers to take tangible measures to enact our revolutionary reset.
Some of these include:
- Promoting Indigenous peoples’ right to participate in environmental management and decision making
- Ensuring an inclusive and gender transformative education that promotes critical thinking and provides comprehensive sexuality education
- Institutionalising the participation of girls and young women in all our diversities in decision-making processes to ensure that policies are youth and gender-responsive as well as non-discriminatory
- Ensuring the equitable distribution of resources through upholding a liveable minimum wage for all
- Recognising the unique vulnerabilities of the marginalised to guide an intersectional approach to healthcare
- Committing to boost the amount of young women into political positions of influence
Australian youth activist, Imogen, hopes the research “Revitalises your hope for the world ... and leads you to act.”
We stand firm in what we want, and we know how to tackle the systemic inequalities that burden us as young women. We now call on you to stand in solidarity with girls everywhere by signing our open letter.
We know girls and young women across the world are capable of greatness.
Together, we can build the equitable world we want to see.
Written by Plan International Australia Youth Activist Dominique-Dee Jones.
The Youth Activist Series empowers incredible young women to campaign and advocate on social issues. It is supported by The Body Shop Australia.