Billions of people across the world stand on the right side of history every day. They speak up, take a stand, mobilise, and take big and small actions to advance women’s rights. This is Generation Equality.
Since I was a kid, I’ve experienced street harassment. I have felt unsafe being gendered as a woman, and I’ve seen it all around me.
And from an intersectional lens, I am a privileged: I’ve been able to access opportunities like a university education and travelling to and living in different places in the world.
I recognise that those who are most impacted by gender-based violence, and by gender inequalities are also the most impoverished and marginalised—black and brown women, indigenous women, women in rural areas, young girls, girls living with disabilities, trans youth and gender non-conforming youth. That is not okay and it’s not what anyone deserves.
We deserve better. We can do better.
On youth leading and shaping change
Young people are in a lot of ways the solution. We’re living through a historic moment in terms of the climate crisis, which young people did not create, but we do have an option of leading the way to centering respect for nature, and respect for each other.
We’re facing a systemic crisis. We can’t separate the fact that we’re living through a climate crisis from the fact that we are not legally able to decide about our own bodies, for example, with sexual health and reproductive rights.
These things are connected.
The people most affected are the same, and the ones leading the fight are also in a lot of ways, the same. A lot of young women and young activists are the ones who are leading the way and recognising these connections.
I really believe in climate justice, which is recognising that the fight for social justice is not separate from the fight for environmental sustainability. It’s not a coincidence that the people who are the most marginalised—the most impoverished, rural indigenous women, for example—who live directly on the land and take care of families, are most impacted by natural disasters.
Shifting mindsets for climate justice
It’s not just about consuming a little less; consumerism is on the rise and we’re buying things that we don’t need, and we’re still extracting minerals. I come from a country where the mining industry is a big part of our national economy, and it’s wreaking havoc on the environment and directly affecting rural communities and farmers. We need to wake up and start paying attention to that and start thinking about not growing economies in the way we’ve been doing.
We need to protect ourselves, but not by building higher walls that only protect those who are privileged, while [others] are being severely impacted by climate change, being displaced and losing incomes. There is enough for everyone, we just aren’t sharing it.
Maria Alejandra (Majandra) Rodriguez Acha, from Lima, Peru is a Co-Executive Director at FRIDA, The Young Feminist Fund, the co-founder and former co-coordinator of TierrActiva Perú, a collective and national network that works towards systemic change. She is also a member of UN Women’s Beijing+25 Youth Task Force.