More Than “Just a Blog”: Chatting With Girls’ Globe
By Amie Newman
Originally posted on Impatient Optimist on May 20, 2013.
As we head into the week prior to the 2013 Women Deliver conference, the largest global meeting of the decade to focus on the health and well-being of girls and women, we thought it would be a perfect time to highlight the voices and stories of some of the amazing advocates, from around the world, who are attending this monumental world meeting.
Today, meet Julia Wiklander founder of Girls’ Globe.
IO: What is Girls’ Globe and what motivated you to develop the platform?
Julia: As a way to raise my voice for the rights, health and empowerment of women and girls, I started Girls’ Globe: a blog to increase understanding about issues concerning women and girls and raise awareness of the positive change that is being made and the many people and organizations working to make a difference.
As I began to write and participate in the online discussions, I connected with several like-minded young women from different parts of the world. In the year and a half that Girls’ Globe has been active, we have become an ever-growing network of bloggers and grassroots organizations.
What motivated me was the lack of awareness that I found in my community, as well as, the many inspiring stories I heard from people around the world dedicated to improving the lives of women and girls. Change has to be made, but change cannot be reached without knowing the situation that women and girls find themselves in.
IO: When it comes to equality and empowerment for girls and women, what are the main issues you seek to address with Girls’ Globe?
Julia: The subject of gender equality and health is multi-faceted. Not only is women’s and girls’ health in the developing world affected by inequalities in access to information and care, in many areas it is also linked with a deeply rooted discrimination of women and girls.
Women and girls make up half of the world’s population, yet are in many ways still limited in their possibilities to live to their full potential.
The human rights aspect of women’s and girls’ health must be tackled in order to make sustainable change. In many societies, poor levels of health are not due to untreatable causes, but because of societies’ attitudes that the lives of women and girls are just not as valued. Social norms are essential to understand and address for women and girls to become empowered and able to lead healthy lives. However, access is equally important.
During my time at UNFPA Procurement Services Branch, I had the opportunity to be a part of the work to make contraceptives and essential maternal health commodities accessible worldwide. Full scale supply-chain management, from production to end user is one of the key interventions to improving the health status of women and girls. Without access, women and girls don’t have the option to improve their health even if social norms allow.
IO: What are you looking to accomplish next, with Girls’ Globe, and specifically by attending the Women Deliver conference this year?
Julia: Raising awareness is the first step. Girls’ Globe is more than “just a blog,” we are a global network and a platform to strengthen voices for the rights, health and empowerment of women and girls worldwide.
The Girls’ Globe bloggers have diverse backgrounds and knowledge, enriching the online discussion on the various issues concerning women and girls, ranging from maternal health, HIV/AIDS, water, sanitation and menstrual hygiene, trafficking, violence against women, economic empowerment, political participation and more. All of these areas are essential to cover to gain equality for women and girls worldwide.
When we saw the possibility for the Girls’ Globe bloggers to attend Women Deliver 2013, it became a priority to obtain funding for us to go. Women Deliver is a global advocacy organization bringing together voices from around the world to call for action to improve the health and well-being of women and girls and the 2013 conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia is the largest conference of the decade focusing on this issue. At the conference we will have the possibility to raise our voices in this global discussion.
Women Deliver 2013 is so important, as the conference highlights the many different inter-linkages concerning women’s and girls’ health, including human rights, sustainability and development, unmet need for contraception, technology, and more. What makes this conference unique is that it also raises the voices of young people, as well as, national and international leaders, civil society organizations, health professionals and experts, enriching the discussion through inclusion. Participation is essential for change – we need to include each other to strengthen the voices that demand a change for women and girls. In this way we can ensure that we raise awareness, reach out to a wider audience and empower people to join in and use their skills to improve the health and well-being of women and girls around the world.
IO: Are there any final words you’d like to share?
Julia: Our hope is that more people, organizations and donors will join in to step up the efforts for women and girls worldwide. Imagine what we can accomplish together. We’ve just begun!
When all women and girls are healthy, educated and free, we will change the world!
If you are able to attend the Women Deliver 2013 conference, you will see seven of the Girls’ Globe bloggers at the conference in Girls’ Globe t-shirts, we would love to connect with you. If you can’t attend the conference, you can view the live webcasts and follow the discussions on Twitter using #WD2013. The Girls’ Globe bloggers will be writing during the conference and you will be able to read their posts on girlsglobe.org, as well as, specific posts here on Impatient Optimists.