Over 140 countries around the world guarantee equality between men and women in their constitutions, and yet women make up only 22 percent of all national parliamentarians, only 4.8 percent of the CEOs of Fortune 500 companies and earn roughly 76 percent of what their male colleagues earn on average.
No wonder then that the United Nations General Assembly still included Gender Equality as one of the goals under the Global Goals for Sustainable Development, which were agreed upon by 193 countries in the month of September 2015.
The inclusion of Gender Equality in the agenda only highlights that equality for women, while outwardly endorsed by many, is still a work in progress at best. The stats quoted earlier are just the tip of the iceberg. While women may be granted equality in the eyes of the law in most parts of the world, there is still a lot of ground to cover before the realisation of that ideal on the ground.
To popularise the new Global Goals for Sustainable Development, Project Everyone was founded. Devised by filmmaker and campaigner, Richard Curtis and founded by two women, Gail Gallie and Kate Garvey, this year, Project Everyone has convened the first Global Goals campaign for girls and women to fight for Goals which are ‘famous’, ‘financed’ and ‘focused’ on girls and women.
Project Everyone along with Getty Images and SAWA (the global cinema advertising association) released a film called #WhatIReallyReallyWant.
The video ties up with the 20th Anniversary of the release of the Spice Girls’ ‘Wannabe’ video. Directed by MJ Delaney and produced by Moxie Pictures, the film features actors, singers and dancers from India, South Africa, Nigeria, the UK and the US, including Gigi Lamayne and Monoea from South Africa, Seyi Shay from Nigeria, Bollywood actress Jacqueline Fernandez from Sri Lanka, M.O from the UK, Taylor Hatala from Canada and Larsen Thompson from the USA.
The objective of the video is to voice the goals that women and girls want world leaders to meet so that their lives can be improved. Among the goals mentioned are quality education, an end to violence against women, an end to child marriage and equal pay for equal work.
Victoria Beckham, one of the Spice Girls, says, ‘I think this film is a wonderful idea. How fabulous it is that after 20 years, the legacy of the Spice Girls’ - ‘Girl Power’ - is being used to encourage and empower a whole new generation.’
Richard Curtis, a huge Spice Girls fan, says, “The women gave a whole generation an energetic, passionate, fun version of what girl power, friendship, energy, and equality might look like. So we decided to use the original and best Girl Power anthem to remind world leaders that these goals need to be delivered for girls – and to invite people everywhere to share a picture of what they really, really want to see to get equality for girls and women.”
Jacqueline Fernandez – What she really, really wants
Jacqueline, a popular Bollywood actress from Sri Lanka who opens the film as one of the Spice Girls for the India section spoke about her involvement and support for the movie:
“The world needs a dose of girl power and that’s why I’m supporting the Global Goals campaign for girls and women. I am delighted to be lending my support to the film, Global Goals and Project
Everyone. I am a huge advocate for empowering girls and women, and I want to support my peers and others around the world to help create an international community where women feel secure, strong and supported. Our potential is limitless, and participating in this film is just one of the ways I am committed to help promote the Global Goals campaign,” she shared with HerStory.
“What I really, really want is for people to recognise the potential of girls when they are allowed to study instead of doing household chores. And what I really, really want is to end violence against women. I want women to feel powerful and beautiful. Nothing can stop us once we are given equal opportunities and are allowed to flourish. Investing in equality and the financial independence of women, who represent more than half of the global population in disempowered communities, is one of the safest bets when it comes to international economic and social development.”
According to her, while the principle of equal pay for equal work needs to be tackled, it is just the tip of the iceberg. “What we all really, really want to see is an end to everyday sexism, an end to violence against women, and more and more women in positions of global leadership and responsibility.”
The UN Goals will meet with success only when women speak up for themselves and their beliefs, and when nations and organisations work to ensure that every woman is given the same opportunities to grow and progress in this world as her male counterparts.