Take five: “Girls’ empowerment and inclusion in decision-making processes is a transformative force in achieving a sustainable and equal future”

Date: Monday, August 9, 2021

Adapted from a story on UN Women's regional site for Latin America and the Caribbean

Julieta Martinez speaks at the Generation Equality Forum in Paris. Photo: UN Women
Julieta Martínez speaks at the Generation Equality Forum in Paris. Photo: UN Women

Julieta Martínez, a 17-year-old Chilean activist, is the founder of the Tremendas platform, a collective of empowered girls and young women that support social impact actions. Martínez participated in an intergenerational dialogue at the Generation Equality Forum in Paris (30 June to 2 July), during which progress and barriers to gender equality were analysed – with a focus on the Beijing Platform for Action, and how it has evolved.

How and when did your interest in feminism arise?

It began in my pre-adolescence, through reading and disconformity regarding school experiences, where I noticed the systematic absence of female characters. In facts and historical feats, [women and girls] were made invisible. That motivated me to empower girls as agents of change, so that no girl would ever again feel that she was a ‘second-class’ individual, or that she was alone.

Why was the Generation Equality Forum important in advancing gender equality?

Different actors in society came together, including governments, civil society, philanthropic institutions, and the private sector, among others. It was an opportunity for world leaders, who have the means to generate systemic change, to unite under a common goal and commit themselves to concrete actions towards gender equality. The Forum not only generated ambitious commitments, but gave leaders called to make a difference a larger platform.

Tell us about your experience at GEF?

I participated in an intergenerational dialogue with former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. We shared opinions and views on progress and barriers, focusing on the Beijing Platform and Declaration, and how it has evolved to the present day. The dialogue was a symbolic space that sought to reflect how the older generations ‘pass the torch’ to new activists as a sign of trust and support, and to express that this struggle belongs to all of us.

I emphasized the importance of girls’ empowerment and inclusion in decision-making processes as a transformative force to achieve a sustainable and equal future.

What actions are you most excited to stand behind to achieve progress on the commitments made at the Forum?

Tremendas made commitments in four areas.

In feminist action for climate justice, we will work on girls' education as a climate solution, as the main driver of change. We will continue our commitment with new versions of our Climate Academy, which seeks to train young girls as climate activist leaders and provide knowledge to identify problems and act to solve them.

In terms of technology and innovation for gender equality, we believe that in order to achieve gender equity through STEM we must bring these disciplines to girls from an early age, and with an innovative perspective. We will build a STEM academy that will periodically train young women, girls and adolescents in Latin America and the Caribbean in biological sciences, astronomical sciences, technology and robotics.

On issues of bodily autonomy and sexual and reproductive health and rights, Tremendas will manage and support campaigns that, from a sustainability standpoint, work on issues of menstrual dignity with the most vulnerable groups in society.

In the area of feminist movements and leaderships, we are committed to enabling spaces that position girls, young women and adolescents as protagonists of the present. We will connect young women leaders with decision-makers, so that their perspectives are considered.

We will work tirelessly for gender equality.

More broadly, how can the world advance the gender equality agenda and achieve the GEF commitments?

It is important to follow-up on the commitments and to communicate progress in a transversal and transparent way to all sectors of society. The role, projection and political involvement of girls in dialogues is crucial to the continual improvement and enrichment of such spaces. Thinking about the future, of the next generations, we must build spaces that are intersectional, intergenerational and as inclusive as possible.