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This week we asked the Girl Engagement Advisory Board “Why is it important to include the voices of girls in events like CSW, where governments make big decisions about international development priorities?”Here’s what they said!

I think it is important to include voices of girls in events like CSW because girls bring a reality check. This means they offer ideas and solutions from their own context. They also bring perspective that is missing. It is documented or noted that investing in girls education and other areas has impacts that goes far beyond schooling. so there is need to be space for girls who feel these issues directly to speak for themselves, especially girls who are typically left out of these processes. Girls are always amazing speakers and have incredible wisdom and insight to share. so they can be part of decision making and development priorities besides the government. – Caren, 19, Kenya

Since CSW and other similar events are held to promote girls’ and women’s rights and to discuss and find solutions to issues facing them, I think it is crucial to include the voice of adolescent girls. When girls attend these events they can give a different perspective to the problems facing them and can help to come up with more creative new ideas and solutions to the issues they face. Their voice also represents all the adolescent girls that these meetings are held for. So instead of talking about the issues that we think girls face, we should include them and let their voices be heard. – Mai, 16, Egypt

I believe that it is imperative for the voices of girls to be included and heeded because for too long girls have been treated as second class citizens in their respective countries with our viewpoints and issues being disregarded. This  has led to nations suffering in the main sectors of sustainability (namely health, education, finance and citizenship) because crucial issues that arise in these sectors generally tie to women who would be most capable of proffering and executing solutions.

These issues in health include sexual and reproductive rights (that generally affect women), lack of education for both genders of the populous (this is usually a common issue in societies that are proliferated with single parent households in which the women are the primary breadwinners), finance (as in most aspects of expenditure, more money is spent attempting to provide incentives to one male when even less is needed to compel a female; also, in the financial sector, women are not sufficiently represented) and citizenship.

This cannot and will not continue as we as girls and maturing females must use or knowledge gained through the tapestries of our own lives along with the training we have garnered on the Girl Engagement Advisory Board to ensure that the voices of all girls rise as one with a clear message: Involve us in the Post-2015 Development Agenda.
Christal, 19, Jamaica

Because we are living in a world where people pretend to consider girls and boys as equal and have the same rights! Putting girls’voices in CSW would be like opening a magic door for girls who have lost their hope and have been living in darkness because they are who they are! Knowing that there is girls’ voices in that meeting would restore girls’ sense of worth and help them reshape their dreams! – Patty, 16, Madagascar

We should involve women in all the activities we do every day. A lot of countries don’t give women the neccessary rights and this is not only because of the status quo, but because of the government’s policy for the countries. If there are women at these events and they raise their voices, there is a big chance to be heard, because this isn’t some event in their country. This is a global event wherr global issues are being decided and this is a possibility to start the change for women in the whole world. – Preslava, 19, Bulgaria

No decision can be possibly made without the inclusion of girls as girls are a pertinent part of the society and the decision being made would affect them aswell. Moreover, the world cannot plausibly develop without raising girls right and providing them with basic necessities such as health, safety and education. It is imperative that girls voices and concerns are equally represented and expressed on an international platform such as the CSW so that policies could be drafted and legislatures established to free girls of oppression and to grant them with liberty. By educating and making girls economically independent, countries can massively improve their economies and have a larger skilled workforce. The world leaders should hold problems faced by girls as the highest priority when discussing international development thus their voices need to be heard at these sort of international events where governments draft and discuss future projects. – Hamna, 17, Pakistan

Globally half of the world’s population are under 25. A third of Nigerian’s population which is 140 million are young people. With the high rate of early marriage, not less than 50,000 teenage girls die yearly as a result of teenage pregnancy. Because of the large number of young people in Nigeria, it is highly paramount and very important, therefore, that in discussing issues such as maternal health care, the voice of young people, and especially girls who are actually the victims of this situation have their voices heard.
Through this medium, they can also contribute to the decision making of their country whereby their rights are also prioritized in international development policies. As a young person, a girl child, we advocate for:
1. Meaningful participation of young people in decision making.
2. Access to education and information through ensuring age appropriate family life and health education (FLHE) in school curriculum.
3. Health providers that are youth friendly.
4. Policies such that has to do with national health system should be put in place considering the the interest of the youths.
5. Parents, policy makers, religious leaders, need to be aware of this issues and promote health service for young people especially girls.
6. Finally addressing the needs of young people is highly important as it is part of human overall development. – Elizabeth, 19, Nigeria

It’s crucial–not just important–to include girls in these conversations as they’re about US–GIRLS! While we may not know the policy like the back of our hands, or the inter-workings of politics or aren’t seen as the most “valuable” members of the meetings. But because of all of these things, we are the best and most unbiased source of information and insight on ourselves and the things we all face and struggle with every day.

Growing up I was always struck by those hard-hitting statics about rape, death, , disease, people suffering from undiagnosed mental health, malaria victims, sexual assault…especially the ones about my own gender in different parts of the world. But what I finally realized is that if you were to make a static up about just things that happen to girls to make us feel worthless–that stop our heart metaphorically as well as physically–that would be the most disturbing and hard hitting static of all.

So why not cut the statics and cute graphics that we put them next to? Why not cut the slogans and representatives and delegates? And just cut to the chase: JUST ASK US GIRLS. – Ally, 19, United States

 

We need to make an extra special effort to get the voice of young girl heard and acknowledged because young  people’s voices rarely get heard. Even less for girls from lower social standing. If everyone views are not taken into consideration policies can be made so that they benefit only a certain section policies, they need to benefit everyone yet sometimes they have made specific to a single section because different section may have different needs.so including the voices of girls in CSW  would let government improve the status of girls. – Muna, 19, Nepal