I am Generation Equality: Kiara Nirghin, scientist and advocate

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.


I am Generation Equality
Kiara Nirghin speaks at the official commemoration of International Women's Day at UN Headquarters in New York in March 2019. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown
Kiara Nirghin, student, scientist, and advocate for women and girls in STEM, speaks at UN Headquarters in March 2019. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown

I am Generation Equality because…

Three things you can do to become part of Generation Equality, according to Kiara Nirghin:

  • Support and share the stories of current female leaders in STEM.
  • Motivate and encourage young girls in their community to participate in STEM fields.
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  • Teach girls that they not only belong in STEM, but they can pioneer inventions.

If you support making the playing field equal in all aspects of society for everyone, then you are a gender equality activist.

I realized that other young girls did not feel comfortable in pursuing science, even if they wanted to. Especially in South Africa, many young girls are shying away from these fields because [they don’t think they belong there].

I speak up about this issue because the idea of young girls not being able to pursue what interests them as their male counterparts can do, is absurd, yet extremely rife. Having more young girls in STEM will bring growth to innovation-related industries, and benefit many communities.

Inspiration and education to drive change

The first step in working towards gender equality is to understand that global gender equality has not been reached, and then educating ourselves about the key issues related to gender equality in our communities.

Today, the opportunities that girls interested in STEM are able to access have significantly improved. However, there is an important distinction that needs to be made between having girls participate in STEM and having them leading and innovating in these fields. We need to keep raising awareness on the underrepresentation of women in leadership in STEM fields.

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“Not listening to young people, will only slow down development.”

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We can encourage more women and girls to pursue STEM careers by showcasing more positive role models and other women’s success stories.

Role models are so important because they are proof to young girls and aspiring scientists that they too can achieve their dreams.

Listening to youth for a better future

There are close to 2 billion young people in the world today. To ignore such a large portion of our global population would be ignoring the ideas, opinions and suggestions from individuals who will soon be future policy makers.

Not listening to young people, will only slow down development.

Kiara Nirghin, 19, is a student, scientist, and advocate for women and girls in STEM. In 2016, she won the Google Science Fair for her work on a method to increase food security in drought-affected areas.

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