“I realized I don’t have what it takes to sit back and be average” that is a quote from the Kansas Assoc33612523701_a61a6e4ca3_o.jpgiation of Youth director. My name is Kirsten Lee. I am a delegate from the Episcopal Church and I am 17 years old. I am a senior in high school and this is my first CSW.

To achieve equality, it will take 117 years according to the Economic Core. By then I will probably be dead but I will have continued the legacy. These past two weeks we have looked at the legacies left by Ester, Lydia, Mary, Elizabeth, and Tabitha. And we even looked at our modern-day Lydia’s and we commemorated all the women who have worked.  Worked in the name of the Lord. And this morning we are bounding for the finish line and we are looking hopefully for the Agreed Conclusions to be passed at one o’clock this afternoon. But it doesn’t end when those agreements are passed, we are not at the finish line. We have just begun our leg of the race to carry the message out into the world.

People say that the youth are the future of the world but we are a part of this world. We are picking up from where others have left off and we are continuing this journey but we need to start passing the baton. We need to train more people. In order to pass it on we have to be an example for others to follow. It was interesting because I expected to come here and make a difference in the world, but I realized what I really needed to do is go home.  At the UN I was surrounded by feminists, so many feminists, and it was great. But civil society and the UN do not have much power. It is strong and mighty but it cannot enforce. The questions proposed at the briefings and events were how do we implement what we are doing here? It really starts from a Grassroot level. It starts at home. If you don’t like something, change it. If they can’t do it right, do it yourself. Most were saying that we really should consider running for political office because that is where you can have power to implement. To get there is hard. We have to work so much harder to be seen as equal to men. No matter what you are doing there is going to be opposition. But you have to keep on keeping on. You need to pave the way for other women to follow. We need to work with everyone to achieve equality.

Everyone asks me what I am doing after I graduate. Great question. I’m going to stop you right there. Because I don’t really know. But what I do know is that no matter where I go I am going to face challenges. I am looking at studying engineering at a university- I don’t know what kind but engineering- with a minor in Spanish. But right now, I am the only girl in my Manufacturing Consultants class. I wish to see more girls going into STEM fields. I joined a FIRST robotics team and we only have 5 girls in total on our team. We are lucky to have a 1:4 ratio at our meetings and when we do we celebrate it. On the other hand, I lead Girl Scout tours at the CAPS building to inspire younger girls to go into STEM. Young people, people in general have to see women taking on these roles to actually want to do it and create change. I have my own heroes that I look up to and the people that have inspired me to be who I am today.

In a perfect world, our governments would be based on human rights. And women’s rights are human rights. But as we all know we don’t live in a perfect world. As put by the Executive Director of UN Women, “Women need not to live up to society; society needs to live up to women.” But what can we do, go! We need to go back and advocate, educate, and inspire.

We need to be more like the kids. We need to have a child like faith and we need to dream dreams. Especially soaking up all the information and the atmosphere here. Kids are like little sponges and pick up on all the little things you do and then repeat that. Even the stuff you don’t want copied. Be the fearless girl looking down the bull. Have courage because the lord your god will be with you wherever you go. Continue the legacy. Advocate. Educate. Inspire. And girl power. And last but not least love.

All these words are not just words. I may not be very good at English but they are all verbs. Verbs are action words. We can’t sit around to make stuff happen. You have to get up and go. Amen.