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【GOH Event】the Garden of Hope Hosted a Parallel Event in CSW61 2017/03/28
▲Presentors in Vartan Hall

The theme of CSW61 is “Women’s Economic Empowerment in the Changing World of Work”. It highlights the vulnerability of women and girls as the most likely to be left behind economically and in status in the workplace. In addition, the theme echoes with GOH’s goal to reduce violence against the gender inequalities in the workplace, and to ensure Asian girls to have equal opportunity to access higher and continuing education.

Therefore, GOH hosted a parallel event named: “Respect Girls, Respect the World-Asian Girls Speak Out” on 3/17 to provide a chance for feminist and women’s organisations to unite and discuss the theme. We invited 2016 Asian Girl Ambassadors from Pakistan, Mongolia, and Armenia to have presentations on the topics of strategy against child marriage, house chores division between teenage girls and boys, and the relation between gender and environment. A GOH empowered vulnerable Taiwanese girl Lei-na Lai was also invited to share her course in advocacy for a girl’s free spaces and subjectivity.

In the beginning of the event, the moderator Ms. Lai used relaxing approaches to led audiences know how she faced challenges from a broken home and created a whole new life after experienced major depression disorder. Ms. Lai eventually initiated “Dream Lighter” projected through a support from GOH. The project combines counseling and experiential education to provide services for teenagers, and it leads teenagers to travel in serval countries based on “no use of money” principle. The project has successfully helped teenagers learn how to communicate with other people and faced unknown challenges. Therefore, they could develop their confidences during the journey.

Following by Ms. Lai’s opening, 2016 Asian Girls Human Rights Award Winner Hadiqa Bashir took Khyber PakhtunKhwa in Pakistan as an example to show widespread and serious child marriage problem to audiences. She fights against child marriage because of she used to become a victim of the custom. Hadiqa advocated with prayer leaders with open attitudes and parliament members to assure the importance of females’ status through the interpretation of Quran. She also lobbied with polices and soldiers to protect girls’ safety. Most importantly, Hadiqa raised fund in campus to help these vulnerable girls return to schools, and appealed to the solidarity of the international community in order to improve the current situation of Pakistan regarding child marriage!

Unequal division of house chores has impacts on girls’ education rights too. Zolzaya Ganbold from Mongolia first demonstrated the major challenges that local girls face, including sex violence, domestic violence, trafficking, unmarried pregnancy, and rights to development. She indicated the social expectations toward boys which require them to be physically and emotionally strong and brave, versus girls to be tidy and good at all household chores thereafter. These factors result in girls to have few opportunities to invest themselves. They are only anticipated to be a good mother and wife in a future and tend to rely on others. The Princess Center that Zolzaya belonging to hopes to improve the situation through girl empowerment combined with advocacy and researches.

The last presenter is Inessa Arshakyan from Armenia, who talked about the impact of environmental pollution on females. Inessa mentioned that burning waste, mining, and smoking in Armenia all result in serious health problems to females. Smoking is the most serious factor which causes lung cancer and heart diseases. Therefore, Inessa initiates “Eco-Generation” to raise awareness among the public to use recycle bags for shopping. She also teaches 12-13 years old teenagers especially girls to make eco-friendly handmade products. She will keep advocating environment protection although there is a finance difficulty.

Ms. Lai concluded that these girls usually not only face challenges and doubts from the public, but lack financial supports when they conduct these campaigns. However, they could create their own value and meanings in their daily lives if they uphold motivations to make more people emphasize females’ status. Thereafter, GOH appreciated audiences’ participations and invite them to witness the transformation of these girl ambassadors in a future.

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