Today is International Women’s Day! And this year’s theme is “The Time is Now: rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives.” To celebrate the day, we caught up with a group of young women from Ethiopia: Teref, Zebiba, Eyerusalem and Rahel whose girl-band, Yegna, aims to raise awareness of some of the biggest issues facing young women in the country and beyond!
“Girls in our country face serious challenges every day, including early marriage, harassment and violence. Given these challenges, it is not surprising that many fail to reach their potential and drop out of school or get married very young. It is so important that we start breaking down the barriers that are holding girls and their communities back. If more girls are encouraged to reach their potential, it is good for everyone!
Yegna is an acting and pop-group that uses the creative arts to raise awareness of issues such as migration, abuse, and school drop-out – issues that young girls in Ethiopia really face. The members of Yegna perform in a radio drama and a talk show but we also go on roadshows in order to bring our messages to the Addis and Amhara regions and to meet with young women, men and their parents.
Using the arts to communicate a message is so effective because we’re not preaching or telling people what to do, but providing young women with positive role-models and appealing to them through the things they love – music, drama and real-life stories. This has more strength than you can possibly imagine.
Yegna not only provides young women with an opportunity to come together to discuss challenges, but we also look at ways that together, those challenges can be overcome. Our aim is that, through doing this, we start to change how our society views girls and that this message is then passed on to their future so that the impact is even bigger.
On International Women’s Day we want girls from Ethiopia, where I am from, and from everywhere else in the world to continue supporting and empowering each other. Let’s not let anything hold us back. Be brave – the future is looking bright!”
- More information about International Women’s Day
- More information about UNESCO’s work with young women and men
- To join UNESCO’s youth community, visit www.facebook.com/UNESCOyouth