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We, the Girls of the 67th Commission on the Status of Women

We, the girls of the 67th Commission on the Status of Women, assert that technology and its benefits are fundamental rights to women and girls. Girls have historically been deprived of access to technology, especially rural and indigenous girls, due to gender bias, socio-economic issues, and insufficient educational support. We demand that Member States create safe digital spaces for advocacy and inclusive representation of girls, and increase access to affordable opportunities for girl-specific digital education and literacy. .. All girls should have access to digital education and literacy.

The first group of the Mary Ward Youth Advocates started the programme late last year. We received applications from 25 students from Loreto and CJ schools in Australia, India, Ireland, Kenya and Nepal. Sixteen of the students participated in various virtual advocacy activities that we organised in partnership with other NGOs, UN Women and the Working Group on Girls in the lead up to and during CSW67. They were trained in how to advocate at the UN and navigate the intricacies of UN processes during CSW.

Five students attended the Girl Statement Writing and were involved in creating the Oral Statement that was delivered by one of their peer during CSW. The statement was written and informed by 80 girls from 13 countries. They called on  Member States to create safe digital platforms and learning communities and promote girls’ voices digitally. They also encouraged them to prioritize digital education and literacy for girls. More importantly, the girl advocates provided them with recommendations and solutions. You can read the statement HERE.

Nine students participated in the Girls Caucus and reviewed the CSW Draft Outcome Statement and worked with other girl advocates to write their recommendations that were sent to member states.  They listed key suggestions for member states to consider as they head into negotiations and ask that their suggestions be taken into serious consideration. They called for access to technology, infrastructure, digital education and safety. More importantly, they demanded that girls, in all their diversity, be included in discussions on technology, innovation, and education in the digital age. The recommendations were also shared with UN Women and other youth delegates who appreciated the work of the girls as it assisted them in their negotiations. Read their recommendations HERE.

Niamh Carney and Eva Judge from Ireland, and Umika Panda, Srijoni Nandi and Aparajita Banerjee from India participated in the Advocacy Forum and Vienna Cafe were they had the opportunity to meet with member states representatives including the Ambassadors of Canada and Mexico. The students were given training and guidance in developing and delivering their pitches. You can read their elevator pitches by clicking on their names below:

Aparajita Banerjee, Eva Judge, Niamh Carney, Srijoni Nandi, Umika Panda

Read the reflections from students who attended the other CSW advocacy activities.

Girls Caucus – Roan MacDermot

Global Girls Townhall – Shreya Tamang

Global Youth Conversation Circle – Milla Swain