Aneeka, 23, Australia
Aneeka recently worked on an app with Metro Trains Melbourne that will enable girls and women to discreetly report harassment as well as mark unsafe or safe spots around the city.
“I want to see women and girls thriving, confident, ambitious and in leadership roles. I want women to be equal to men and just as able to pursue their dreams. I also want to see a change in the representation of women and girls in the media, films and advertising.
“Girls Get Equal is urgently important because girls have not been seen or heard when it comes to decisions that affect their lives. When girls get equal everybody is better off – the whole world changes. If girls lead the way and stand up for their rights, real and lasting change can be made.”
Chamathya, 25, Sri Lanka
Chamathya is experienced in running successful campaigns and has been recognised by the US State Department as one of the top 10 Global Emerging Young Leaders.
“I would like to see a world free from violence, discrimination and harassment.
“Young people should be free to engage in activism and have their opinions heard when decisions affect their lives. Including the voices of young women in decision making means shaping a better world for all of us.
“Girls Get Equal will put girls in leadership positions and ensure there is equal representation in leadership bodies. Girls can get equal. We should bust those beliefs that stop us achieving our dreams.”
Sifat, 22, Bangladesh
Sifat is on the National Children’s Task Force in Bangladesh and has sat on the UN Youth Advisory Panel. He has been instrumental in reforming Bangladesh’s child marriage laws.
“I believe it is important for me as a boy to work on gender issues. I dream of a world where no one is treated differently or becomes a victim of violence because of their gender.
“I want people to learn more about activism and believe in their capabilities to make change happen.
“Girls Get Equal is a bridge towards my dream. It has always been young people working towards revolutions for good purposes. This time it won’t be any different.”
Bhavana, 18, USA
Bhavana is the Chair of the Day of The Girl US Action Team. She also spearheaded a social media campaign called Feminist Resolutions in the run-up to the presidential inauguration in 2017.
“I am a huge advocate for girls' education and political representation. I would love to see more young women running for office and taking on leadership roles.
“When women make up 50% of the population, a truly representative government ought to have 50% of its elected officials as women. I would also like to see girls being supported in any path they choose instead of being pushed away from specific fields because of gender stereotypes.
“Girls Get Equal is absolutely necessary because the world cannot move forward while 50% of the population is kept from achieving their full potential.”
Caren, 24, Kenya
Caren is an influential activist who received the Queens Leaders Award in 2014. She was named in the Top 40 under 40 Influential Women in Kenya in 2016.
“I would like to see the traditions that hold women back abolished. I would like to see a balanced world that operates on the principles of mutual respect, collaboration and participation rather than hierarchy, violence and discrimination.
“Reduced discrimination against women and girls will improve their lives economically, socially and politically.
“Girls Get Equal is necessary because women are still not given the same protection, rights and roles as men.”
Sophie, 25, Uganda
Sophie recently led a successful campaign to increase sexual health services in Uganda which was backed by a global petition of 39,000 names.
“Girls Get Equal is essential to create awareness and foster action on issues that affect young people.
“When a population is unhealthy it affects education enrolment and completion rates, employment and political participation. Sexual and reproductive health risks are causing death and discrimination for young women in Uganda and across less developed countries.
“Girls Get Equal will promote girls’ leadership and activism to guarantee the needs of young women are responded to.”
Erika, 19, Ecuador
Erika breaks down the barriers faced by indigenous girls and women in Ecuador and leads programmes that reduce teenage pregnancy. Through her work she has met with her country’s First Lady to discuss girls’ rights.
“I want to see young people have the knowledge, self-esteem and rights to make significant changes in society that tackle the root causes of discrimination against girls. I also want to see more men as allies in this movement.
“To transform lives we need to start at the root causes of discrimination to strengthen the rights, abilities and decision-making power of girls who are currently held back by attitudes and behaviours.
“Girls Get Equal will help achieve gender equality because it will mean more girls’ voices and stories are heard.”
Marie Augustine, 21, Senegal
Marie Augustine is a key influencer in her country and hosts radio programmes on girls’ rights issues. She has also been instrumental in establishing children’s councils calling for meaningful youth participation in decision-making.
"The change I want to see in my community and in the world is that no child is a victim of violence.
“Girls Get Equal is necessary because it will help girls to become aware of their own value so they become drivers of change.”
Gonzalo, 24, El Salvador
Gonzalo is the leader of the Association of LGBTI+ Rights in El Salvador and is Secretary of Gender and Sexual Diversity at the University of El Salvador. He connects youth-led social justice movements across his country and is involved in several youth networks.
Gonzalo has suffered discrimination and violence throughout his life due to his sexual orientation and gender expression and is now committed to raising awareness and creating change on these issues.
His ambition is to be a strong political voice for social change in El Salvador and globally. He believes that to achieve real gender equality we must challenge the beliefs that reinforce the patriarchal system.
"We must avoid the binary vision that pigeonholes us into 2 mutually exclusive sides and instead promote the principle that we are all human."