YWCA of Romania – Youth Speaker in New York at UNGA 70

By Ruxandra Diaconescu

Monday 21st of September I was at work when, during my lunch break I received a message with the surprising question: “Do you want to attend a meeting on gender issues in the US” – nothing more. I said YES and the adventure started.12027635_10153106270131905_1397244151776469704_n

I was told I have to address a speech to the “Global Leader’s Meeting on Gender Equality and Women Empowerment” on the 27th of September at the UN in New York, as a Youth Leader. That is amazing! After I got my VISA, changed a flight, flied to Paris, then New York; after more than 10 hours on different planes, there I was – New York! I had some dinner and a lovely chat with YWCA and Christian Aid representatives, because you are never too tired to speak about important issues of today’s society, right?

After I got some rest, the next day I was finally able to start working on my speech for the big event. Inspiration was one thing I did not lack for sure, surrounded by so many amazing and inspiring women. It is nice to read about it in the newspapers, it is healthy to base your beliefs on statistics, but nothing compares to drawing conclusions when you hear one woman’s honest, profound personal story – thank you Girl Declaration for the inspiring VIP Mentoring Session I could take part in!

27th of September – the day of the meeting, the day of my speech, the day that changed my life. Some 80 world leaders convened at the United Nations to personally commit to ending discrimination against women by 2030 and announcing concrete and measurable actions to kick-start rapid change in their countries. The event marks a historic first, with pledges delivered by Heads of State and Government. The People’s Republic of China, host of the 1995 Fourth World Conference on Women, and UN Women are co-hosting the “Global Leaders’ Meeting on Gender Equality and Women’s Empowerment: A Commitment to Action.”

My speech focused mostly on the different chances girls, young women and women of the world have in life, regardless of their abilities, goals or dreams. If I could be there, speaking up my mind as a young leader, it was by right, not by chances – so I asked for commitment to giving girls, young women and women their right to dreaming and achieving their dreams through better educational and health systems, better employment, end of child marriage, transparency, end of corruption!

I was extremely proud that, after my speech, the president of Romania who was in the room stood up to congratulate me and show his support. That was not just Klaus Iohannis standing up for Ruxandra Diaconescu – this is the symbol of a head of state who shows support (also publicly in his statement) to the civil society with focus on youth.

The event was both a personal and a global success in my opinion!

If this was a journey of “not leaving anyone behind” I think we’re all on board,
Ready for departure – sky’s the limit!

Read Ruxandra Diaconescu’s full speech here: http://ow.ly/SKR1G
You can find your governments commitments towards gender equality here: http://unwomen.org/stepitup