Saturday, June 19, 2010

The G(irls) 20 Summit: Part II--The Delegates

Delegates of the G(irls) 20 Summit--from the G-20 Countries and Malawi

As mentioned in the previous post, The G(irls) 20 Summit: Part I Background, along with the G-8 and G-20 Summits, a G(irls) 20 Summit is being held currently in Toronto.  Below are some of the delegates--those from the countries of greatest relevance to, and with the highest number of readers of this blog--and excerpts from their applications. These are as published in the Globe and Mail, which has included 2 delegates each day, and has an online article that updates with all the ones published to date. If you don't see a country you are interested in below, please check that article. *The delegates from Australia, Canada, the EU, and the UK will be added when their profiles become available online.

Anwar Basunbul, 19, Saudi Arabia
What does the rest of the world need to know about the lives of girls and women in your country?
The whole world needs to know that girls and the women in my country have great ambitions and great abilities to make them great leaders. That fact that in my country we never had a well known female leader is not because our women do not qualify. It is because the cultural and traditional beliefs that women should be always ruled by men.
Have world leaders failed the girls and women of your country? If yes, how? If not, why?
No, I do not think that leaders fail us. I think we haven’t spoken for ourselves loud enough for them to hear us and pay attention to us. I think that they think that we are given all our rights and we have nothing to complain about. This is not their problem, it is ours because we never ask for it.

July Lee, 19, United States
What does the rest of the world need to know about the lives of girls and women in your country?
“To the world, America is often depicted as the country of freedom and opportunities, but to the underprivileged, American woman, it is an outrageous disillusionment. The very issues that plague women in other countries are the very issues that exist in our own backyard. Young women, low-income women, and some minorities are disproportionately victims of domestic violence and rape, reaching over one million victims in 2008. The FBI estimates that over 100,000 children and young women ages 9 to 19 are trafficked in America today, and hundreds of women are murdered by their intimate partners. However, there is great potential in American girls and women to change this cultural cycle of oppression. According to a Cambodian civil society group, “it is not gender which is destroying our culture... it is our interpretations of culture which has destroyed gender equality.”

Alberta Pelino, 20, Italy
What is the biggest issue facing girls and women in your country? What can leaders do to solve the problem?
I think in my country, girls and women have had possibilities to acquire independence and rights. But there is still a lot to do in this matter. In some environments, such as the workplace, women are sometimes seen in a different way from men and often have less important positions than those of the men. For example, employers prefer not to recruit women who intend to have children, because this can affect their employment opportunities and attendance at work. Moreover, they are considerably more vulnerable, so they are easier victims of violence, rape and stalking. Leaders should promote policies for the security, defence and valorization of girls and women to make them more self-confident and aware of their own potential.
What’s the No. 1 thing G20 leaders must do to improve the lives of girls and women?
The No. 1 thing G20 leaders must do to improve the lives of girls and women is to support education. A cultured woman is an independent woman. She will be self-supporting, find a good career and give birth to healthy and well-educated children. She has the means to pursue her freedom and happiness. Investing in education means investing in the future of the country.

Kartika Nurhayati, 19, Indonesia
What is the biggest issue facing girls and women in your country?
From what I see on a daily basis, disparities exist between the way girls and boys are raised in Indonesia. Girls rank after boys in family hierarchies, and that triggers discrimination in families, where girls often receive less food, education, and medical care. Girls are also putting in more hours to do household chores and to take care of younger siblings and elderly members of family. In slum areas, there is a root habit that men eat fresh, healthy and delicious foods, while women eat the leftovers, even when the women are pregnant. As result, women suffer from malnutrition, and it often leads to death. In patriarchal tribes, women are told to rely on economic and family-planning decisions made by their husbands. A woman’s job is only about taking care of the house and children.
What can leaders do to solve the problem?
What leaders can do to solve these issues is enacting progressive and massive family planning programs to create smaller families. When parents have fewer children and higher education, they may be more attentive to the survival and well-being of all their children. Therefore, girls are more highly valued and less subject to discrimination. Besides, health providers and policy-makers should promote family planning as a means to encourage gender equity. Policy-makers should promote education for girls, while public and private entities should extend health insurance coverage to all families in order to narrow the gender gap in health treatment among poorer families.

Alexandra Rose Rieger, 18, Germany
What is the biggest issue facing girls and women in your country? What can leaders do to solve the problem?
To find what I believe is the greatest challenge facing girls and women in Germany today, you would have to seek out a certain population, either the Asylanten [political refugees] or Auslaender [immigrants]. These groups of girls and women are particularly vulnerable and more likely to be “arm” (poor) and “arbeitslos” (unemployed). Leaders need clarity to walk in solidarity and find innovative solutions which focus on education, intercultural and gender specific needs as well as addressing global issues. This framework requires above all, policies and measures to support this vision.
If you could meet one of the G20 leaders in person, who would it be? What would you ask – or tell – him or her?
I would love to meet with Wolfgang Schaeuble, Germany's finance minister. I would ask him, as a father of girls, does this shape his policies in a direct or indirect way and, if so, how? I would love to discuss options as to how to design programs created for girls and women to get leadership training, whether it was in the community or to become politically active as he was able to do when he joined the Junge Union [Youth Union] as a teenager.

Irem Tumer, 19, Turkey
What’s the No. 1 thing G20 leaders must do to improve the lives of girls and women?
It is unfortunate to say but the physical security of girls and women around the world still continues to be a problem. Before poverty, before education and even before empowerment of women and families, the preservation of physical and spiritual security of women, and protection of fundamental human rights should be the No. 1 priority. I hope G-20 leaders would make a pledge for the improving human rights in their countries. As we clearly see, economic power and development does not entail more security for women. G-20 leaders should first of all, show the others that they pursue the same kind of human-rights policies across their countries.
If you could meet one of the G20 leaders in person, who would it be? What would you ask – or tell – him or her?
It would certainly be the President of Brazil, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva. It is because Brazil shares lots of demographic similarities with my country. And President Lula’s achievements in his social policies, which made him very popular across the globe, are worth examining and taking lessons.
His Bolsa Familia [family stipend] and Bolsa Escola initiatives are successful initiatives of school allowance and empowering families. When the issue at hand is education and women, incorporating the family factor in your policies is a must to do. And I believe Brazil is handling the social change in their very young and populous country very well, together with its economic development. Both countries, as they develop their relations, create new windows for co-operation in the social fields.

Inès Le Bihan, 20, France
If you could meet one of the G20 leaders in person, who would it be? What would you ask – or tell – him or her?
It would be Angela Merkel. And the first question would be: Do you feel lonely?
What is the biggest issue facing girls and women in your country? What can leaders do to solve the problem?
Today, girls and women have to prove their abilities to realize and lead a project as good as men. That is not only a question of capacities or power, that is a question of self confidence. Girls and women have to believe that they are able to accomplish a lot of amazing things, overcoming obstacles.
Leaders have to propose solutions that should empower women's ambitions to face challenges.

Tanvi Girotra, 19, India
What’s the No. 1 thing G20 leaders must do to improve the lives of girls and women?
I think that the answer to this question is very basic. The G20 leaders, apart from having fancy conferences, need to go down there, at the grassroots and realize what hardships these women face. In India, every day, a girl is forced into prostitution by her own husband. Another one is raped on a lonely street. Hundreds of women go through domestic violence in their homes due to insufficient dowry brought by them. Each and every day, a girl ceases to exist. She dies inside. Only if we know exactly what we are fighting will we be able to make any difference.
What do you hope to gain from attending this Summit?
As a representative from India, I hope to, along with my colleagues, make an effort toward women’s empowerment, not just in India but all across the globe. I wish to learn how to hone my potential and leadership skills toward making a difference to millions of women who go through deprivation in the form of basic necessities or self-esteem and self-confidence issues.
Margaret Mead once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” I hope to meet those thoughtful and passionate groups of individuals who, like me, believe that together we can work toward a world where women are not repressed but respected for who they are.

What is your impression of the issues these women focus on, and the solutions they envisage?
If you are from one of the countries, or familiar with it, do you agree with the delegate's impression?
How would you have answered the questions for your country (-ies)?
Domestic violence, Education, Immigration, Poverty, Reproductive Issues, Sexual Aggression, Traditional Values, and Work are all mentioned by the delegates at different points and in different ways. Which one(s) strike you as the most urgent?
What issues do you see as globally applicable to women? to everyone?
Any other comments, thoughts, experiences?

Related posts: The G(irls) 20 Summit: Part I--Background

All posts on the G-20 Summit:
The G-20 Meet the GlBTQ
The G(irls) 20 Summit: Part I--Background
The G(irls) 20 Summit: Part II--The Delegates
G-20 Summit 2010 Toronto: Protesters vs Demonstrators vs Rioters; Another Brilliant Harper Idea
G-20 Summit 2010 Toronto: Saudi Arabia, King Abdullah, and Young Saudi Delegates
G-20 Summit Toronto 2010: Summarized--Part I Fake Lake and Fiscal Responsibility, Indeed
G-20 Summit Toronto 2010: Summarized--Part II Riots, Amnesty International, and an Unfinished Agenda


Susanne said...

Neat post. I enjoyed seeing some of the young ladies and reading their thoughts. Thanks much for sharing these! Really nice! :)

Wendy said...

My goodness these young women are so intelligent. They give me hope for the future! I wonder if any of the world leaders have bothered to attend and hear what these girls have to say.

Chiara said...

Susanne--Thank you! I am glad you liked it. It is inspiring to read about such a summit and its delegates!

Wendy--Thanks for your comment.It will be interesting to see what happens to the various reports and write-ups about this summit; particularly on the topics of maternal health and what women in other countries need. It seems that Malawi was a late addition in honour of the main summit theme of Africa.

I have looked for the other profiles but haven't found them--yet! :)

I will do a post later though on the summits--all 3 of them! :)


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