When Kamila Jarczak asked me to be a part of the Women of Newport campaign, I felt excited, proud but also surprised. Honestly, it confused me as to why she would want me, a 15 year old young woman from Llanwern High School, to be a part of such a powerful and important campaign.
I am an opinionated, passionate young woman. I speak my mind and campaign for social justice and the things I believe are right. To many, this seems like a very ordinary thing, nothing spectacular – however, I feel as though it is incredibly important to reinforce that everyone’s opinion is important, influential and could quite literally change the world. Therefore, it is important to always express your opinion and be proud of what you believe – especially for women: we have a duty to show the women and girls around us that their opinions matter because we have taken centuries to reach this point.
However, a large part of that can be quite scary. As a teenage girl, I am often made to feel like my voice is less important than the ‘adults in the room.’ This is because of the frustrating misconceptions that young people’s opinions are ‘uniformed’, ‘naive’, and based overly on emotion. I find this notion (normally) to be incorrect.
As a young woman proudly from Newport, I take pride in trying to create well rounded and well informed opinions on things that matter to this world and to me. I am an ardent global feminist, climate activist, internationalist and believe in the simple notion of fundamental equality, not just within the law but in society too. Whilst my opinions have been regarded as ‘overly liberal’, I see no issue with that and believe that when people open their minds, equality and justice could actually be achieved.
In my opinion, acceptance, time, tolerance and kindness, mixed in with a conviction for change is the recipe for a better tomorrow for everyone.
This conviction for change has been demonstrated by young people through the Strike for Climate Change movement. I am proud to say that I am a Climate Ambassador for Wales and have attended these inspirational protests, and once we can protest again, I will.
For many young people, including myself, climate change is one of the most pressing issues of our generation. It affects every single aspect of our lives from the people around us to the ground we walk on. And yet, climate change is far too often swept under the rug internationally and within our country. Granted, in the UK and Wales we have declared a Climate Emergency. But, this doesn’t mean that within the law the government has to do anything to help aid the fight to halt climate change. This confuses me because climate change is a crisis that we know could change the way we live forever, so surely it only makes sense to try and help, not just the planet, but the people internationally who are facing the consequences of our actions that have been caused by greed and naivety.
As I grow older, so will the fight for climate justice and with that, I hope that people will begin to wake up and take action in any way they can. Every change, no matter how small, has an impact and it’s so important that people realise the power their choices have.
Another issue that is often forgotten is the struggle women face. While we have come a long way in the UK, internationally women are far from equality and face oppression that is equivalent to our worst nightmares. That’s why this project is so important, it shines a light on influential and inspiring women in Newport who, in the past, have been forgotten and who could have been left behind. It allows women to feel seen and to express themselves. We are very lucky to have that opportunity because even today so many women don’t, and, afterall, none of us are equal, heard or respected until all of us are equal, heard and respected.