On Thursday May 26th, 2016 the CYC had its first official live Twitter chat, with the hopes of being another catalyst for creating solutions to reach gender equality. Inspired by the #HeforShe movement #CYCforEquality was created. The purpose of the conversation was to spark a youth dialogue publically and internationally on a platform that is used to spread ideas virally. The partnership with Youth Alliance International, the national coordinating organisation of Bangladesh, was requested because of their work to empower women by promoting Menstrual hygiene and ensure their 100% participation in classes. They have observed Menstrual Hygiene Day in 34 countries.
The start of the conversation began with questions of what the general issue was. With participants asking for the CYC executives to define what gender equality meant to them in a sentence. Providing that kind of overview helps us focus on the end goal, the dream world when all genders, binary or otherwise are considered equal. Then participants were wondering overall how can youth get involved in this initiative and searching for the options they have to make a difference in this pursuit. This was followed by the need to work towards breaking the stigma placed on LGBTQ+ youth and how we can stand for their rights in countries where they are not recognized. For more general information, participants wondered how men specifically can engage in the efforts to achieve gender equality, and how to become an ally to women in the workplace as well as in schools. There was a point brought up that allies are needed for both genders because in some areas it seems as though the men are being overlooked for internships and jobs. With that came the likely question of what the state of female empowerment and participation in civil society was. That question is helpful to us to find out the base of the problem so that we know where to go, and how far we have come.
A tad more specifically participants asked what role schools can play to break gender stereotypes around the globe and even more what role teachers play in that effort. They ask the CYC to pursue advocating to provide equal access to safe and healthy working environments and to social security for all genders and for youth to have equal participation in decision making at all levels (government wise and international). Moreover, youth asked how they can be involved in actively creating spaces for women to be in leadership and decision making roles. Questions were then asked about how to make school more accessible for women and to teach them that it can also be attainable. With that in mind the CYC was asked about what everyone can do to improve the access to youth friendly information and services. When looking at providing those services LGBTQ+ youth were also mentioned wondering where they need the most support.
When thinking of gender equality, it was brought up that too often the world looks only at the two genders we have been taught to recognize. Now in this day and age the question was posed on how we can begin to look beyond binary genders when looking at the topic of gender equality. This continued on to the question of how we can begin to create spaces where LGBTQ+ youth can have to report incidences of violence against them and furthermore to create spaces where they are safe enough that those incidences are decreased. Then on a completely different note the importance of raising awareness about menstrual hygiene and its effects where brought to question. The fact is that it is extremely easy to overlook factors that do not directly affect us or are not as obvious and so this question and many others like it about raising awareness were very beneficial. On the flip side the CYC was also asked how civil society can lobby and hold governments accountable when implementing gender responsive policies.
Overall, the launch of this dialogue on such a public platform went very well, a lot of participants were reached. New ideas and initiatives were proposed and the youth had a chance to speak up about issues that affect them right now in their areas. Recommendations for another themed conversation would be to more promotion, more direct promotion as well and to do it at a later time so that we may balance the time for all regions. Another suggestion would be to only have one housing hashtag and to use the direct account more. Partnerships with other organizations are great and so would be getting more dynamic media involved ie. a radio station promoting the twitter chat to constituents. We were able to be retweeted and tweeted at by two radio stations from different stations and more would only gain more traction for the CYC voice and pursuit of youth engagement. Another recommendation would be to directly contact ambassadors who advocate for the theme, and make sure they participate. They have followings that are interested in the topic and will only increase the visibility
The success of this event is a testament to the longing that youth have to discuss issues like this and how they can have a powerful voice. The CYC should continue to provide a platform and online forum to foster this desire and to gain more members.
Office of Inclusion and Engagement