A ground-breaking research project led by girls from Australia and Vietnam has mapped out a vision for a better and more equal post-COVID world.
The resulting report, A Better Normal: Girls Call for a Revolutionary Reset, has just launched and is set to be presented to the United Nations General Assembly in September.
As the world deals with the fallout of the COVID-19 crisis, we have seen girls’ rights eroded. Millions have lost access to education as lockdowns have been enforced, and many girls are dealing with realities of child marriage, unintended pregnancies and gendered violence.
This bleak picture has got many girls wondering; if this is happening now…what comes after? And is there any way the future for girls around the world can be better than before the pandemic?
1060 girls from 99 countries contributed to the research project that has been led by 22 young women from Australia and Vietnam and supported by the charity for girls’ equality Plan International Australia. These are the girls who will present the report to the UN general assembly later in the year.
A Better Normal: Girls Call for a Revolutionary Reset outlines six visions for better post-COVID world for girls, which were focus tested by the girls who took part in the project. The visions include:
- Gender justice
- Climate justice
- Protection of rights and access to resources
- Freedom to be human
- Inclusion and equality in power
- Educated citizens of the world
Youth activist Carla Sieck, who helped lead the project, says she wants to see a more compassionate post-COVID world.
“The biggest change I want to see in a world post-COVID is one where power and privilege is used for common good, rather than for personal interests,” she said.
“I want to live in a world where everyone understands that your reality is not the same as mine and we all have a duty to make the situation better.”
Improving access to tertiary education, a liveable minimum wage, universal access to the internet, institutionalising participatory processes for girls and young women in decision-making, and encouraging boys and men to share the burden of household work and family care, are just some of the actionable recommendations the report makes.
The CEO of Plan International Australia Susanne Legena said girls, like the ones leading this project, are well placed to lead significant change on behalf of their generation. Listening to girls’ ideas is paramount to progress, she says.
“Our world before this pandemic was one that repeatedly and undeniably failed girls and young women. To create a better normal, we have to listen to the experiences and ideas of girls and young women, instead of ignoring them.
“Girls are powerful agents for change, there is no denying this, and when they have a voice and people start to listen, amazing things happen.”
As governments and authorities consider their options as they rebuild post-COVID, the call from girls and young women is clear.
“They demand to heard and included in decision-making processes, have power over the issues that affect their lives and play an active role in creating a more just and sustainable world,” Legena says.
Plan International Youth Activists are taking their recommendations and vision statements for a better normal to the UN General Assembly on the 23rd September 2020 – will you stand with them? Add your name here.