I am Generation Equality: Amika George, period poverty and education champion
Billions of people across the world stand on the right side of history every day. They speak up, take a stand, mobilize, and take big and small actions to advance women’s rights. This is Generation Equality.
Date: Thursday, October 10, 2019
I am Generation Equality because…
“I speak up. Women and girls need to speak up because WE know what we need to make things better for each other. We understand the impact of the barriers we face on a daily basis, whether it’s discrimination or everyday sexism. We need to find the confidence to call out things which affect us and stand up for each other.
Three things you can do to fight period poverty
- Donate products to period poverty charities .
- Start a campaign to end period poverty in your community.
- Raise awareness by writing, blogging or posting on social media.
For me, I see and hear from women who have no voice and no agency every single day. These are women and girls everywhere who feel that everyone has forgotten about them, that their needs have been sidelined and silenced. I speak up for them because I’m fortunate to have avoice and everyone deserves to be heard.
After I read that girls in the UK were missing school because they are unable to afford period products, I started the campaign Free Periods, to end period poverty.
Period poverty is a situation many girls and women find themselves in when they are unable to afford the costly period products. Globally, period poverty intersects with other forms of disadvantage, including poverty and geography. It costs young girls their education. It impacts their ability to fulfill their potential and affects their ability to secure a decent job and lift their families out of poverty. Period poverty is an issue of gender inequality.
Everyone benefits when girls are educated
Girls’ education is an urgent issue. I don’t think we are seeing enough progress in this area. Just two in three countries have achieved parity in primary education, one in two in lower secondary, which is not good enough.
“Young people are starting to create the change we want to see. ”
Closing these gender gaps is complex and the barriers are often culturally and socially entrenched, but the benefits of providing girls an education is incredibly far-reaching, and can improve the lives for generations. Everyone benefits when girls are educated.
I just got back from Zambia where I saw first-hand why we need to work harder to keep girls in school.
Girls who went to school felt empowered, they had extraordinary ambitions to improve their communities, they were less likely to be victims of forced marriage, and they were just starting to discover how much they could offer the world.
Youth action for a better future
I think we are living in quite a unique time where young people are starting to create the change we want to see. We aren’t waiting for adults to take the initiative. We are demanding change and orchestrating that change ourselves.
I would say that if there is something you see that’s a glaring injustice, don’t think it can’t be you that changes that. Find a group of people who feel the same way and join forces. Organise a protest, raise awareness. Just do something because it’s only when you start that you realise how much impact you can have.”
Amika George is a 19 year old student at Cambridge University, who, at the age of 17, started the Free Periods campaign to end period poverty in the UK.