Feminism is a Global Goal

UN Global Goals, Social Good Summit, global feminismIf feminism is stripped down to its roots without the political trimmings and dressings which have been hung from it, it comes down to this: Feminism equals a call for gender equality. True feminism sees a woman as equal to a man and therefore deserving of an equal portion of everything–the good and the bad.

As part of the annual autumn circus that is Manhattan, world leaders, world activists and social good amplifiers (and a million international journalists) come together to challenge and dare others to work across boundaries and borders, to find common good in common goals. Some do it for power, others for business, others for faith and still others just to do good.

This year, the circus had rock stars, religious superstars (Pope Francis) and the start of a new 15-year round of global goals parsed by the United Nations heralded with the hashtag #2030Now. Think about 2030. By then the children of 2000 will be rising in leadership roles. They will be adults who only know one millennium. Even the youngest of the baby boomers will have reached 70. Will we have directed the next generation to make right the things we could not. Will they be able to? In the meantime, with the majority of the educated in the U.S.–majority being women—and in other developed nations, will women lead the way to check off the laundry list of women’s needs to improve the global arena?

With a panel entitled “Are We All Feminists?” the Mashable Social Good Summit, sponsored by the UN Foundation, left us asking “Is feminism part of the United Nations global goals?” My answer? A resounding yes.

The world’s new to-do list starts with the lofty #1 that was the focus of the Millennial goals–to end poverty. (We see how far that has gotten in 15 years.)

# 2 calls for “Zero Hunger.”

# 3 is a call for “Global Health and Wellness.”

#4 demands “Quality Education.”

#5 stands for “Gender Equality.”

If we take just take these five, we clearly see the interreliance of one upon the other–how can we end poverty without gender equality, without the expectation that for every woman in poverty there are children in poverty, children–especially girls–who will not go to school, children who will starve, whose health is compromised. So numbers one through five are really tied up in one goal–eradicate poverty so we can reach the subgoals of creating a healthy and educated population world over.

So back to feminism. If feminism is stripped down to its roots without the political trimmings and dressings which have been hung from it, it comes down to this: Feminism equals a call for gender equality. True feminism sees a woman as equal to a man and therefore deserving of an equal portion of everything–the good and the bad. That fundamental right is core to all the 2030 Global Goals.

In a keynote regarding plans to make #4–Quality Education–take place, the former Prime Minister of Australia, Julia Gillard of The Global Partnership for Education, made a clear and strong point: “We focus on the education of girls because we know how powerful it is.” So powerful, that terrorists like Boko Haram are trying to squelch education, especially for girls. So powerful that it means if you educate a woman she will educate her children (even where schools or law forbid it.) You will begin a generational chain that may not have existed before. Frieda Pinto, the Indian model and actress who came to international prominence in the film, “Slumdog Millionaire” told the same audience, “Gender equality is a human fight, not a female fight.” She is an ambassador for the NGO Plan International USA.

The United States, with First Lady Michelle Obama as its poster child, has launched an international cause called “Let Girls Learn,” citing 62 million girls globally are not in school each day. Their mission: “We know that countries with more girls in secondary school tend to have lower maternal mortality rates, lower infant mortality rates, lower rates of HIV/AIDS, and better child nutrition. But too often, a girl who could change her world for the better is locked out of that future by the circumstances of her birth or the customs of her community.”

By educating girls, Let Girls Learn, partnering with many others, supports the 2030 Global Goals. Educating girls equals giving power to women. If those are not the words of feminists than the definition eludes me.

With a career in journalism & a lifetime of volunteerism, Helen Jonsen is the creative founder and chief storyteller of HJ Media, a consultancy & roll-up-your-sleeves firm focused on video, digital, text and social media preferably for “social good.” She is a contributing author of Love Her, Love Her Not: The Hillary Paradox, edited by Joanne Bamberger. And a mom hoping to see a woman in the White House her three now-voting-age daughters can be proud of (and her son, too). 

Image via Wikimedia CommonsVicki Francis/Department for International Development, United Kingdom/CC License

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