Young Leader Represents Women Win at Clinton Global Initiative

What if we invited girls to lead in conversations about their development, instead of talking on their behalf? What better way to prove our case of empowerment than to step aside and let the girls we serve lead us?

The Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) convenes global leaders and heads of state to devise and implement innovative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing challenges. As a member of the Clinton Global Initiative, Women Win commits to advancing girls’ rights through sport. During this year’s CGI meeting, in New York City, Women Win is putting girls’ leadership to the test.

Pallavi Gaikwad, a netball coach and youth leader from Naz Foundation in India delivered Women Win’s ‘Pitch for Partnerships’ speech on the CGI main stage. She was not wearing a black suit or a white necktie. She did, however, share the stage with the likes of President Barack Obama, Melinda Gates and Bono.

Her speech highlighted the value of sports as a tool for positive social change in the lives of girls and explored ways to mainstream such programmes among existing development efforts. But more than anything, her presence made an irrefutable case for the role sport can have in improving a girl’s confidence, communication, strength and power. Pallavi is not exploited, oppressed or anemic like media often portrays young Indian girls – she is a leader and a force for change.

At Women Win, we work with partners around the globe to equip adolescent girls to exercise their rights through sport. Our strategy is based on the idea that through sport, girls can gain access, assets and agency to address their core rights – achieving sexual and reproductive health and rights, becoming economically empowered and addressing gender-based violence.

In 2011, Women Win made a CGI commitment to change the lives of 100,000 girls through high-quality sport programmes by 2015. We are on the verge of blowing that commitment out of the water.

Watch Pallavi's speech here (Pallavi's pitch starts at 08:06)

Hear Pallavi tell her own story of empowerment through sport on Women Win's Vimeo channel

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