Author: Amanda Ring

The Forgotten Development Goal: Personal Reflections

Sustainable Development Goal 18: Engagement and Interest for Development Within All People. How does that sound? Why is this goal needed when we already have 17 of them? But I know that if it actually was an SDG it would already be achieved. I can confidently say so after having the honor of attending this year’s United Nation’s General Assembly (UNGA) Week in New York City. If we take a look at the Millennium Development Goals I think that – to be honest – it was a thing created by force. The world was falling apart and our world leaders just had to figure out a solution. The result of that were a few great, optimistic, goals that we were all supposed to work on together. Where did it go wrong? How come we did not achieve the Millennium Development Goals? Of course, there were plenty of reasons. For example the lack of detailed targets and goals, the unrealistic part of achieving them and the missing piece of partnership. But the one thing I see in the …

Nyumbani: A Safe and Caring Home for Hope

Imagine yourself as a little kid. Imagine yourself just existing and playing in a limitless world without worries about global issues, family problems or work obligations. Then finally imagine yourself finding out that you are HIV-positive. All of a sudden your world comes crashing down – nobody wants you anymore. Your parents become scared of being near you and they don’t have the ability to help you with medications. Imagine being abandoned by the ones that are supposed to always be there for you. This is a reality a lot of kids in Sub-Saharan Africa still face today. Once they are diagnosed their families may not have the ability or willingness to care for them and they are left alone and abandoned. Many of the kids also have parents who have died from AIDS.  This is where Nyumbani Children’s Home comes into the picture. Nyumbani in Kenya takes care of HIV/AIDS-affected kids, ranging from newborns to young adults in their early twenties. They provide a safe home, treatment and education for these kids to make sure that they aren’t left to die …

Gender Equality in Sweden: Can it get any better than this? (Video Blog)

Video blog by Amanda Ring (18) and Julia Wiklander (29) from Sweden.  According to a report made by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights 81% of women in Sweden said that they had been sexually harassed at some point after the age of 15. With these numbers Sweden topped the list. The average rate in the EU was lower – 55% – but the report also says that Sweden’s high rate probably has to do with the relatively low unrecorded cases and a high report rate. Read more. When it comes to gender equality, Sweden is the 4th most gender equal country in the world. This is showed in The Global Gender Gap Report made by the World Economic Forum. The Global Gender Gap Report also shows that in Sweden, the payment gap between women and men is as high as 30%. Learn more about the start of the movement for legislation that includes sexual consent in Sweden through this Al Jazeera story.      

The Power of Empowering Women and Girls

We can’t talk about creating sustainable change and development without taking into account available resources. Engaging people and allowing more and more citizens – particularly women and girls – to actively participate in global processes and decision making bodies, and letting their opinions guide action, can be seen as costly or complicated. So how do we make this work in reality? Yes, resources are relevant – but often, the one main thing women and girls really need to be able to meaningfully participate in decision making processes is support. Ensuring that women and girls are actively involved in the Sustainable Development Goals is crucial not only for the realization of the SDGs, but for gender equality and women’s and girls’ empowerment. We cannot strive towards a set of global goals with half of humanity left behind, or left outside of the rooms and spaces where decisions are made, agendas are crafted and priorities are set. Women and girls don’t just deserve a spot at the table – without them at the table, we will never reach …

Be #Bold4Her: Erasing Gender Norms

During this Tuesday’s sessions at the Women Deliver Conference I attended a plenary called “Be #Bold4Her on gender norms: What are we so afraid of?” where a panel of distinguished speakers were discussing the issue of gender norms. This was an interesting session in many ways, highlighting the different difficulties gender norms pose on especially women and girls – but also demonstrating how difficult it can be just to discuss about this issue. That the issue of gender norms is a challenging, much debated and problematic topic is nothing new. This was also something that was evident during the panel, as speaker Dorothy Muroki (FHI 360 Chief of Party and CB-HIPP, Kenya) noted that the global north is already complete according to gender norms if you compare to the global south and the African countries as a response to a comment from Lenita Toivakka (Minister for Foreign Trade and Development, Finland), who had said that Finland is one of the best countries in the world to be a mother. In response to Muroki, Nyaradzayi Gumbonzvanda (General Secretary, World …

Let’s Talk About Sex – The Importance of Sexual Education

When I was in the seventh grade we started having classes about sex. Everyone thought this was an awkward thing to talk about and no one really understood why we had to do it. Everyone knew that we were supposed to wait until we felt ready and use a condom, right? A few weeks ago I visited an upper secondary girls’ school in Tanzania and one of the girls came to me with a question. She was 17 years old and asked me what I thought about sex before marriage. Since sex is something that  you shouldn’t have before marriage according to the prevailing norms and and religious views in Tanzania, I felt quite uncomfortable. I didn’t want to step on her toes and say something ”wrong”. So I told her that in Sweden, having sex before marriage is quite common and nothing that is considered weird or abnormal. I was a little nervous of how she would react since it is a tricky and very personal question. This girl continued to tell me that …