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This week, the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women is taking place. We asked the Girl Engagement Advisory Board to weigh in on what message they would share with world leaders during the CSW. Here’s what they said!

I’m here at the CSW and what I want to tell leaders and delegates and everyone is that while these sessions, panels, speakers are amazing! They’re inspirational, educating and just phenomenal, but they’re just not enough. We’re hear creating policy (hopefully) and change but we’re talking amongst people who are all fairly educated on these issues and though the fine details are the kinks and quirks, I want CHANGE TO HAPPEN. I may be young and impatient and “not understanding the workings of such things,” but I don’t want to be any other way, because girls are dying–both physically and in their “self-hood” every day because we aren’t doing enough. So…let’s do more! – Allison, 19, United States

My message to the world leaders currently negotiating at the CSW is not to let their own political agendas or opinions deter them from achieving the ultimate goal: ensuring that girls are well represented in the post 2015 development agenda. I find that many times, global leaders become myopic to their own initiatives and objectives and they forget about the issues of the people. We cannot allow for an opportunity where global leaders convene in one area to focus their capacities on one major global issues to be squandered. We mus therefore put our differences aside and use our skills and talents to resolve the matter at hand.  – Christal, 19, Jamaica

My message to world leaders negotiating the post 2015 development agenda is that it is extremely pertinent to discuss the issues girls are facing, especially the security problem which doesn’t allow girls to be as confident and independent as they want to be. However, the most important message that I’ll like to convey to the world leaders is that after all these discussions and the drafting up of solutions, implementation should be ensured because without the implementation of these policies, everything would stay theoretical. It’s necessary to involve governments and set up a certain framework for how these policies and solutions might be strictly implemented in society.Lastly, good luck to all those who are a part of this conference and are trying to make the world a better place! – Hamna, 17, Pakistan

Since the 1940’s, there has been a breakthrough in achieving gender equality and promoting women’s rights. However, this mainly happened in the west. In places like Africa and south Asia for example, women’s participation in work and education is still much less than that of men. Women have much less economic opportunities and are less likely to reach high holding positions in corporations. Although in developed countries like the US there is the issue of the “glass ceiling”, in developing countries the issue may be called the “diamond ceiling” because this is how hard it is for a woman to get a high position in these countries. This meeting is the crucial first step of breaking these ceilings and achieving goals like the post 2015 development agenda goals and the girl declaration goals. In addition, to sustain this progress, more international intervention is needed to stop the injustice happening in developing countries. This can only be done if countries stop looking only at their own economic benefits and start acting to end the violation of women and human rights, no matter the cost. – Mai, 16, Egypt

Gender equality and empowerment of women as one of the Millenium Development Goals is known worldwide. We, as the Girl Engagement Advisory Board, are tightly connected with it and our goals match with these of the MDG. My message to all of the people working on these problems is to give their best to achieve these goals, because they are not only mine and yours goals, they are world’s goals! If we don’t get involved and do something to change our future and the future of pur children and their children, I don’t see who will! And my message to the people who are afraid to raise their voices is not to be afraid anymore! We should get up and tell the everyone not what they wantto hear, but what they have to hear – that somebody will make a change and all of our efforts will have worth. – Preslava, Bulgaria, 19

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