Let Women Lead: Economic Development and Women

tiffany-zeenatOne of the things that fascinated me most about my first day as the U.S. Youth Observer was the amount of passion that global leaders have towards getting more youth involved in global issues and getting our voices heard. In particular, I was inspired by the strong emphasis that global leaders place on ending poverty, in particular, amongst women. Unfortunately, although women make up half of the entire world’s population, we “represent a staggering 70% of the world’s poor.” Women who live in poverty are constantly bombarded with life-threatening issues such as discrimination, injustice, lack of access to healthcare and safe childbirth, education and employment. I learned that in order to end global poverty, we must first start with women. Through “overcoming these inequalities and ensuring that women benefit from development requires that the needs and desires of women are not only taken into account, but be put front and center.”

I began my day with meeting with the Special Advisor to the Secretary of State John Kerry – Zeenat Rahman. Ms. Rahman is fascinating! She has spent her entire career advocating on getting the youth voice heard and is an inspiration to all youth looking to get involved in activism. Ms. Rahman believes in the power of youth!

Soon after meeting with Zeenat Rahman, I was able to steal a few moments of Dr. Jim Yong Kim’s time. Dr. Kim is the President of the World Bank and his goal is to end extreme poverty. Dr. Kim spoke to me about the importance of creating economic opportunity for women in order to end poverty. Currently, as stated previously, women make up the majority of those in poverty. However, if women are given more education (on topics such as entrepreneurship, economics, and finance) and more tools to leave independent lives (access to health care for both them and their children), then women will be able to change first their lives and then the lives of those around them. This chain effect could impact generations to come!

To learn more about Dr. Jim Yong Kim’s beliefs related to ending global poverty see this video!


I also had the pleasure of meeting with two Girl Up Teen Reporters! Girl Up is an organization run through the United Nations Foundation. Girl Up gives “American girls the opportunity to become global leaders and channel their energy and compassion to raise awareness and funds for United Nations programs that help some of the world’s hardest-to-reach adolescent girls.” I spoke in particular with two young teen reporters who were able to attend the Social Good Summit through the Girl Up foundation. We spoke about the importance of encouraging more women to study abroad and pursue leadership roles on campus and in their communities. I learned from Girl Up the importance of encouraging more women to enter into traditionally male dominated fields – such as journalism! Teaching young women about journalism will help not only empower their voices, but the voices of an entire generation! I would encourage all young women to get involved with Girl Up! To learn more see here: www.girlup.org.

As I head into the second day of the Social Good Summit, I am excited to learn and observe global leaders as they discuss even more global issues! How exciting!  My first day has taught me that the possibilities to advance the economic and social freedom of women really are limitless.