“Gender equality is a human fight, not a female fight!” That’s what it says on the flyers that Talkmore makes and hands out on the weekends. “That’s exactly right. And gender equality isn’t just something that will make life better for us girls, it will be better for everyone,” says his friend Glory. She and Talkmore are Child Rights Ambassadors and part of the initaive You Me Equal Rights, where gilrs and boys fight for gender equality together.
It’s lunch break at Manyaira Secondary School in Zimbabwe, and in the shade of a few trees, Glory and Talkmore have gathered together a group of pupils to talk about girls’ rights and gender equality. They meet at least once a week. The group is made up of boys and girls. For Talkmore and Glory, who are WCP Child Rights Ambassadors, this is a really important issue. “I wanted to be a Child Rights Ambassador because girls are in danger here. We are not respected and no-one listens to us. I’ve seen many girls being forced into marriage, sexually abused and forced to quit school. As an ambassador, I wanted to warn other girls because those who take advantage of us are often the people who should be protecting us, such as dads, uncles, other family members, teachers and neighbours,” says Glory.
Talkmore shakes his head sadly as he listens to Glory. “As a boy I’m ashamed to see how boys and men treat girls and women in our community.”
Influencing other boys “I think it’s really important for boys to be Child Rights Ambassadors too, so people can see that we’re fighting for girls’ rights together, and that we see one another as equals. Then everyone who meets us can learn about equality just by looking at us!” says Glory, laughing. Talkmore agrees. “Boys definitely have to be ambassadors for girls’ rights. Partly because the girls then feel they have our support, but also because we boys can influence other boys. Unfortunately, boys here still listen more to other boys, which is why it’s important for us to be involved. But, of course, boys must show equal respect for the girl ambassadors, and I’m sure that will happen the more we Child Rights Ambassadors work together.”