Generation 'Now' to Fight for Gender Equality

by Natasha Louis

Young people play the biggest role in implementing the United Nation's Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), as we are the change makers of the future. We are the community of force that will be implementing and progressing these movements. This generation encompasses so much passion and drive that will produce the solutions needed to solve our world's dilemmas.

One of the most crucial goals is number 5: gender equality. Human trafficking is the second largest criminal industry in the world, with a major emphasis on sex trafficking. Rape, violence against women, and the struggle of women's right to education and economic opportunities are issues that women face in every community.

The gender equality goal also expands to all of the areas discussed in the SDGs. Women are not able to contribute either equally or at all to job markets, which negatively affects the global economy by costing it several trillion dollars per year. This stumps progress and does not allow other sectors to grow, such as innovation and national growth. Women and girls are always the population to suffer the most in regards to lack of access to healthcare and sanitation, food, education and other resources.

By young women working together to uplift each other and not tear each other down, we can build an alliance to fight for empowerment. The future leaders of the world do not and should not wait until tomorrow to achieve this when we all can start today. We must ban together and take issues seriously that are consistently brushed aside due to our passive culture that often allows negative words and actions against women.

As young professionals and members of society, we must continue to be activists and push forward. This generation will be the party to carry out the ideas and concepts that have been conceded by the UN. We must go further than those who have come before us in order to tackle the severe and broad issues by not only telling the stories, but taking action on the stories. Our job is to keep pushing to see the results we desire.

A crucial component that must be a part in gender equality is the inclusion of men. It is not only men who are already supportive who need to take part; it is those who do not understand why violence and discrimination is wrong. We need to work together to engage with them in order to grow together as a global society.

Young people can take action now; with persistent pressure on our policy makers and leaders, protesting and demanding to have our voices heard, community outreach and education to our own communities and engaging in conversations about the dilemmas women face that negatively impact us all. We also must participate with organizations that promote women's rights and the incorporation of men, such as UN Women, He for She and the Man Up Campaign. As Mohammed Naeem stated during the Youth Assembly at the United Nations' Step it Up Planet 50-50 by 2030 Youth and Gender Equality workshop, "you cannot expect men to participate in the process of empowering women unless they are whole men themselves."

We cannot allow our age to create insecurity and discourage us from our capability of taking action now. We must join together in order to create overall empowerment and equality for women around the world. The essential message that young people must conceive is that the change begins with you.

Natasha Louis is a current graduate student at New York University in the Global Affairs program. Her concentration is in International Law and Human Rights and is devoted to continue her professional career to assist survivors of sex trafficking and refugees.

This post is a part of a series produced by The Huffington Post in partnership with Friendship Ambassadors Foundation following the 2016 Youth Assembly at the United Nations held on February 17-18, 2016. The winter session tackled the role of youth in the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. To see all posts in the series, click here.