I am Generation Equality: Sophie Beria, sexual and reproductive health and rights activist
Date: Friday, December 6, 2019
I am Generation Equality because…
I am working on sexual and reproductive health and rights. This topic was one of the most important issues for me at the Beijing+25 [25th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action] Regional Review Meeting because I wanted to make sure that voices of young feminists are part of the conversation. Youth’s rights need to be included in the agenda and discussed meaningfully.
Three things you can do to be part of Generation Equality:
- Your voice counts and never feel belittled.
- You need to step up and be active in political and social spaces.
We also talked about the importance of comprehensive sexual education, legalization of abortion, stigma and stereotypes around this topic as well as increasing access to contraception for youth.
In Georgia, we have several issues that we need to solve, such as access to comprehensive sexual education, the gap between the legislation and implementation, especially when it comes to violence against women. And we know that, if we accelerate our promises in comprehensive sexual education and in gender equality, society will become better for everyone, including for young people. This is why this agenda is important.
Comprehensive sexual education is a concept about teaching sexuality, healthy relationships, consent, safe sex, body autonomy and human rights. It is a fundamental human right.
This field is important in Georgia, and not only because sexual education and sexuality, in general, is a taboo topic in our region.
Working in this field helps young girls and women understand their rights, their body autonomy and this will advance gender equality in many aspects, like women’s economic empowerment, social and political empowerment. Everything is connected.
“Young people are the future, and this is our future that is being decided.”
Young people are the future
For us, young activists, it is very important to ensure that discussions about youth and their rights include young people’s voices. Our job is to ensure that these messages are pushed by young people, including from marginalized communities.
Young people are the future, and this is our future that is being decided. It is important for young people to be present and to be heard. It’s not enough to simply be invited [to meetings, events…] and then not listened to. We must have a say and we want to ensure that we are heard.
This is why my message to the younger generation is that your voice counts and never feel belittled. This is our common future and we are all responsible for it. We need to step up and be active in political and social spaces. We must speak up.
Sophie Beria is a 26-year-old young woman from Tbilisi, Georgia. She is working on sexual and reproductive health and rights, and comprehensive sexuality education. Sophie Beria is the chairperson of YouAct, the European Youth Network on Sexual and Reproductive Rights.