Girl Up India leads the way to a gender-just future
New Delhi, Delhi – October 18, 2023: Across 2 pre-summit events leading up to the first-ever Girl Up India Leadership Summit, we brought together over 850 young leaders passionate about making a gender-just future a reality. Girl Up India is a girl-centered leadership development initiative with 700+ Clubs across 26 States and Union territories engaging over 25,000 young people in India. The Leadership Summit is Girl Up’s marquee event hosted globally every year since 2012.
The theme of the Girl Up India Leadership Summit 2023 was Future 2030. It fostered enriching, intergenerational conversations that aim to empower, educate, and activate the potential of young leaders. “Our vision was to bring together thought leaders in the movement for gender equality through an innovative girl-driven program. Today is not a moment but our steadfast commitment to the movement for gender equality,” said Girl Up India Country Director, Aditi Arora
The Summit was a day-long event designed to provide girls and youth with the tools, skills, and knowledge needed to become influential leaders in their communities and beyond. The Summit focused on several key topics related to girls’ and youth leadership development, including storytelling, entrepreneurship, mental health, sexual and reproductive health, rights and justice, gender-based violence, disability rights, and STEM.
The Summit boasted a lineup of remarkable speakers. The day was illuminated by engaging panel discussions and fireside chats featuring powerful voices like Andrea Wojnar, Rajshri Deshpande, Leeza Mangaldas, Aanchal Malhotra, Supriya Paul, and youth champions like Ridhima Pandey and Artika Singh. Moreover, the UN Resident Coordinator for India, Mr. Shombi Sharp, and the incredible actor and producer, Dia Mirza, joined us to honor the exceptional
courage of youth who are working to change the face of our common future. Finally, the Summit came to a close with an inspiring address by Miss Universe 2021 Harnaaz Kaur Sandhu.
Speaking at the event, Actor, Producer & UN Secretary General’s Advocate for SDGs, Dia Mirza said, “It’s high time that we come together to break the barriers that hinder the growth and aspirations of 253 million adolescents in India. There’s a growing power in supporting each other out of hardships and let’s hold the door open so that other women can also pass through with us. It is important that we envision a future that includes girls’ leadership. I do believe in the power of empathy and I do believe that girls have infinite empathy, hence, together we can create a more peaceful, compassionate, and beautiful world.”
Greeting the audience, UN Resident Coordinator in India, Shombi Sharp said, “Namaskar, mujhe Girl Up Summit mein aakar bohot khushi huyi. We are seeing that India is a leader in terms of women’s engagement within peacekeeping programs, artificial intelligence-related fields and even landing on the Moon with Chandrayaan-3. The United Nations in India is incredibly honored to continue our partnership with the Govt., civil society, and business community towards supporting the all-important issue of our time – gender inequality and tapping the incredible diversity of India’s greatest youth generation.”
“I’m honored to be in a room full of people who’re hopeful and passionate about something. In many parts of the world, menstruation is still silenced, shamed, and stigmatized. That’s why, we announced the Global Menstrual Equity Accelerator on the Global Citizen Stage with the goal of helping 5 million girls in India by 2025. Let us remember that the journey towards gender equity involves unity, collaboration, and standing together as champions of change. You and I, believe in change,” said Miss Universe 2021, Harnaaz Kaur Sandhu while delivering an inspiring closing address.
About Girl Up: Girl Up is a girl-centered leadership development initiative founded by the UN Foundation. We believe in focusing on equity for girls and women in spaces where they are unheard of or underrepresented. Girl Up operates a global network of regional affiliates reaching 200,000 girls in 152 countries. It functions through 700+ youth Clubs across 26 states in India, engaging over 25,000 young leaders