This blog was co-authored by Noopur Agarwal who as Vice President of Public Affairs for MTV oversees the strategy and execution of major “pro-social” campaigns to engage and activate America’s youth on the biggest issues impacting their generation.
Twenty years ago, something incredible happened. At the UN Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, China, leaders from governments and civil society around the world came together and committed to ensuring that girls and women have the rights and opportunities to participate fully in all aspects of life.
This month marks the 20th anniversary of that historic moment, and we’re asking ourselves; are we there yet?
Together with MTV’s Emmy award-winning Look Different campaign, No Ceilings is launching #NotThere: a digital campaign that contrasts remarkable progress made by girls and women against the stark realities that remain for far too many worldwide. Through thought-provoking graphics, we’ll celebrate progress, share the facts on existing gaps, and inspire action to reach gender equality once and for all.
So, just how far have we come?
The good news: There’s never been a better time in history to be female. No Ceilings data show that we’re making real progress in some areas – for example, in health, where the rate of maternal mortality has nearly halved, and in education, where the global gender gap in primary school enrollment has nearly closed. With commitment, political will, and resources, we know that progress is indeed possible.
The not-so-good news: No single country in the world has guaranteed the equality and full participation of girls and women. We’re simply #NotThere yet. We know that in far too many areas, like economic participation, leadership, and security, the pace of change has been far too slow. Even in the places where we’ve seen significant and encouraging changes, the progress isn’t felt by everyone. Ceilings still exist: geography, income, age, race, ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, unconscious bias, and cultural norms – to name just a few – pose real barriers to girls and women in the pursuit of full participation. Talent is everywhere, but opportunity is not.
Over the next ten days, the #NotThere Campaign will share thought provoking images, data, and stories that reveal the progress and the gaps that remain on the road to full participation.
Beyond the gains and in spite of the gaps, there are reasons to be hopeful. We have more tools than ever before, such as technology, which accelerate progress in ways we never thought possible in 1995. And a wide range of partners are more engaged than ever – from the private sector to religious leaders to men and boys. Change isn’t just possible, it’s happening right now.
Throughout this campaign, we’ll also be sharing stories of young women and men who are working every day to break ceilings for themselves and the women in their communities. This generation is busy creating solutions, standing up for the rights of girls and women, and holding us all accountable to fulfilling the promise that was made 20 years ago.
We’re optimistic, and we want you to be too. We’re not there yet, but together we can get there.