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Everyone has a role to play in defending women’s rights. We must all actively support women and girls in our communities, so that they can have access to decent work and are not left behind.

I believe in financially empowering adolescent girls and women and supporting their professional growth. Through my organization, Manki Maroua, I work every day to foster respect for women’s economic rights, including improved working conditions. Being an Action Coalition Leader has allowed me to raise the voices of women and girls in my community and bring our ideas and expectations for action to the international level. This will help ensure that everybody can have access to decent work, a professional career, a business and, most importantly, that nobody is left behind.

The Action Coalitions should support advocacy to ensure that governments adopt gender-responsive laws, especially as we recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, which has paralysed women’s economic activities, increased unemployment and the burden of unpaid work, and overall, accentuated extreme poverty. Legal change is urgently needed to speed-up progress on gender equality, economic justice, and to safeguard this progress in the long-term. Another way to secure economic justice is by supporting organizations working with women in local communities, for example, those that offer technical expertise and financial backing to girls and women entrepreneurs.

Driving innovation is also important. One of Manki Maroua’s primary objectives is to maximize the use of digital technology in supporting income-generating activities, thereby transforming the daily lives of adolescent girls in Cameroon. The voices of women from diverse backgrounds should be at the heart of technological innovation. Finally, all these actions must be placed in the broader context of the fight against climate change, which means that respecting and protecting the environment should always be a cross-cutting priority.

The Generation Equality Forum offers the opportunity to elevate the work of organizations that fight for the rights of women and girls, especially those most vulnerable and marginalized. The Forum is championing the work of young people and giving us a space where our views and ideas are listened to closely, while taking into account our diverse cultural and geographic backgrounds. I hope that discussions are backed by technical and financial contributions to young people to support us in our innovative projects, in Africa and all around the world. It is critical that the commitments made at the Forum in Paris are put into action. Real change depends on it.

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No [Economic] Justice, No Peace

 

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