The International Young Women’s Parliament
– Seeds for Change –
Girls and young women play an essential role in the global struggle for gender equality. As potential leaders of the future, they need to know the history of women’s rights, be able to apply a gender lens, and be inspired to work for change. Poverty often disproportionately impacts girls and young women, pushing them to the margins of society. Although educational opportunities have expanded, discrimination persists, resulting in gender inequities and under-representation in secondary and higher education, political leadership, and labor markets.
The girls and young women involved in the Seeds for Change are drawn from local programs that have already demonstrated success in supporting empowerment and building resilience – the Young Women’s Parliament in Israel, Mpanzi in Kenya, and the Dayton Early College Academy in Ohio. These three programs are locally developed, reflect the communities in which they operate, and work with girls who might not otherwise have opportunities to excel. They share the following characteristics:
• Unflagging belief in the ability of girls and young women to make their own decisions and to forge their own solutions.
• Interest in gender-based analysis of social problems and issues.
• A developmental sequence, moving from issues at the individual level, to family/group and ultimately to community/society.
• Recognition that personal freedom is inextricably bound up with the freedom of others.
• Direct experience with members of different ethnic, racial or religious groups.
Starting in May 2017, four girls from each region (Israel, Kenya, US) will participate in a SKYPE conference call. They will have access to a group Facebook page and messaging applications to communicate between each monthly group meeting. These monthly calls and interactions are intended to be fluid and allow the participants to learn about each other’s lives, build communication skills, and begin the process of empowering them to become change-makers in their own communities.
In the summer of 2018 all the girls will meet in Washington, DC to deepen their relationships, be exposed to motivational speakers, develop mentorships and peer support groups, and meet with prominent women in the DC area. At this time the participants will strategize on how to stay connected and build upon what they have learned over the past year. Plans for future cohorts of girls will be discussed and CRT will evaluate the program and share lessons learned.
As the project unfolds we hope to share the thoughts and reflections of the girls. We’ll pass on the stories and lessons learned as we evolve along this exciting journey. If you would like to help support this program and contribute to our travel fund, please consider buying products from the CRT Store, or donate directly to CRT on our Donate page.