21 November 2011
Claire Poyser is concerned about the inequality experienced by girls and women around the world. That’s why she was honoured to attended the second annual G(irls) 20 Summit in Paris.
Held at the Académie Diplomatique Internationale, the event brought together 21 international delegates, all committed to tackling the issues facing girls and women around the world. Claire, a first year Bachelor of Arts (Dean’s Scholar) student at Monash University, said that she was privileged to be selected from hundreds of applicants to be the Australian delegate.
Claire said that in many countries women endure extreme inequality; they are the victims of violence, discrimination and injustice.
“Even in western countries, women continue to struggle for some of the advantages enjoyed by men, whether that is pay, education or employment opportunities,” Claire said.
Established by the Belinda Stronach Foundation, the Summit involved a week-long program of panel discussions, seminars, and media training, culminating in the development of a communiqué or report addressing four key areas: gender-based violence and inequality; education training and employment; political economic and social representation; and health.
“My group was comprised of two African delegates, one from China and myself, and we were tasked with examining the issue of health,” Claire said.
“It was fascinating to work with people from such diverse backgrounds and with such varied views on what constitutes a major health issue. While the African delegates tended to focus on epidemic and communicable diseases such as malaria, I thought it was equally important to raise the issue of mental health and cancer,” Claire said.
On the final day of the Summit the communiqué, was presented to members of the media and Consuelo Remmert, aide to French President Nicolas Sarkozy for the G20 and other international affairs.
The communiqué has since been distributed to governments, non-government organisations and the general public with the hope that it will increase awareness and stimulate change.
Claire said she was hoping to promote the findings of the communiqué through meetings with government officials, various organisations and schools. She also said she planned to pursue an honours degree in gender studies.
“The Summit cemented what I have learnt at Monash; that as the world becomes increasingly globalised, the problems of one nation or one group become issues for us all. I feel lucky to have the support of a University that encourages a global outlook and community participation. I believe that this is a characteristic that is unique to Monash,” Claire said.
In 2012, Claire plans to continue her interest in advocacy at a Model United Nations Conference at Harvard.
For more information, visit the Girls 20 Summit website.