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Girls & Women

Dear Diary: powerful stories from trailblazing women at Women Deliver 2016

Camilla Aurvig / Global Citizen

Last week the Global Citizen team took part in Women Deliver 2016, a conference gathering over 5,000 women and men passionate about building a world where every woman can achieve her potential - regardless of the circumstances she is born into. 

Our aim was simple: to capture what it means to be a woman today. Inviting women to share their stories of overcoming discrimination in the form of a diary entry, the array of stories that filled our ‘Dear Diary’ booth became a kaleidoscope of experiences that though unique, unite women around the world. Spanning geographies and generations, the collection of personal experiences that emerged explored themes from life in the workplace to female sexuality.

To mark the occasion, a line up of powerful women took to the stage of the Women Deliver Youth Zone on Tuesday 17th May to share their own ‘Dear Diary’ entries. All pioneers in their individual fields, the event featured stories from actress Dianna Agron, Australia's first female Prime Minster Julia Gillard and Afghanistan's first female football player, Khalida Popal. 

Watch the video here: 

Sharing her experience of studying physics in a male-dominated class, Julia Gillard explained how the memory of feeling out of place spurs her passion for girls’ education as the current Chair of the Global Partnership for Education. 

Trailblazing footballer Khalida Popal described the hostility she faced as the only woman working for Afghanistan’s Football Federation. As the elected finance officer, she was responsible for monthly salaries - much to her colleagues surprise: “Take our salary from a 23-year-old girl?! That would be an insult to my honour!” they said.

Actress Dianna Agron spoke of the struggle to stand up for herself when confronted with sexual harassment. “I am a woman who wants help and wants to help," she said, before calling on world leaders to enable girls to raise their voice by making education a priority. 

Australian Ambassador for Women and Girls, Natasha Stott Despoja ended with a vivid story about her first day as the youngest female MP in Australia, thrust into the political spotlight at the age of 26.

All powerful experiences in their own light, these were not simply stories of struggle, but stories of empowerment and courage. However big or small it may seem, these women’s lives prove that everybody has a story to tell. What’s yours? 

To hear more inspiring stories from women around the world, look out for our 'Dear Diary' series coming soon.