Serafine: Girls want a gender equal future

A youth advocate from Kenya, Serafine believes that gender equality cannot be achieved without ensuring access to sexual and reproductive health information and services.

Serafine is a youth advocate from Kenya.
She Leads UN Youth Cohort member Serafine challenges gender inequalities. © Plan International

Young activist Serafine, 23, is passionate about challenging gender inequalities that girls and young women face every day. Part of Plan International’s She Leads project in Kenya, she would like to see a future where girls and women have equal opportunities and are represented at all levels of decision-making.

“My name is Serafine. I am a young activist who is passionate about challenging the inequalities and biases that thwart girls and young women. I am an advocate for girls’ leadership and representation in decision making spaces,” she says.

“Human rights cannot be fully upheld unless they are enjoyed by all girls and women.”


Serafine also wants all girls and young women to know about their sexual and reproductive health and rights so that girls can avoid unwanted pregnancies. In her community, many girls become pregnant each year because they lack access to family planning services. This often robs girls of their future.

Challenging gender biases

“Girls and young women are barely represented even at the lowest levels of decision-making,” she says. “This is not because girls are not smart or hardworking. It is not even that we don’t have the opportunities to reach the top. The main reason why there are fewer girls or young women leaders in the world is because of deeply rooted gender biases and stereotyping across society.

“Young women who assert themselves are often viewed as too aggressive and ‘unlikable’ creating a “double bind” that makes it difficult to navigate leadership opportunities. Human rights cannot be fully upheld unless they are enjoyed by all girls and women. Persistent gender inequalities including gender-based violence deprive us of a just and better world.”

Access to sexual health care and information

For Serafine, “Gender equality cannot be achieved without ensuring access to sexual and reproductive health information and services. Poor information and care derail the future millions of young girls with great potential every year. Every day in my community at least two girls under the age of 18 become pregnant. This is just but a small percentage of the many young women who would have avoided unplanned pregnancies if they had information about safe and effective family planning methods.”

“Gender equality cannot be achieved without ensuring access to sexual and reproductive health information and services.”


“Young women who seek sexual health care and information may also be stigmatised or seen as less moral. So, what chance do young women have unless we break down this stigma? When a young woman aspires to a leadership role, sadly people have a preconceived notion of what a leader should look like. How then is she supposed to rise? How then can she rise into leadership when she has to struggle to survive in society just because she is a woman? Until when do I carry the societal burden just because I’m a woman?

“More effort is needed to ensure a future of equal opportunities and independent choices. Girls want a gender equal future where they can speak powerfully, take action and influence major decisions without being undermined. Girls want a future where they do not have to struggle to prove themselves to the society just because they are women.”


The Future Girls Want campaign aims to amplify Plan International’s advocacy messaging on girls’ rights and equality and get the voices of girls and young people at the forefront of the conversation and in front of decision makers both at the global and national level. This campaign was co-created by young women from the She Leads UN Youth cohort, a group of passionate young advocates that Plan International’s UN Office in Geneva is supporting to engage in advocacy at the international level.

Serafine is a young advocate from Kenya, who is a member of the She Leads UN Youth Cohort. The cohort is comprised of 18 young women from Africa and the Middle East, who work together over the course of one year, to do advocacy in important international policy spaces such as the Commission on the Status of Women, the Human Rights Council, and the Summit of the Future.

She Leads is a joint programme from Plan International Netherlands, Defence for Children – ECPAT the Netherlands (DCI-ECPAT), African Women’s Development and Communication Network (FEMNET), and Terre des Hommes the Netherlands (TdH-NL). Equal Measures 2030 is a technical partner. It is implemented in Geneva and New York by Plan International’s UN Offices in Geneva and New York, as well as partner organisations in those spaces. The She Leads programme, which runs from 2021-2025, and is active in 9 countries across Africa and the Middle East aims to increase sustained influence of girls and young women on decision-making and the transformation of gender norms in formal and informal institutions.