“For us, taking part in the ‘Young Women, Leadership and Governance’ Regional Forum is key. Being here means sharing our experiences of work and our agendas, which are no different from those of other women throughout the world,” says Tania Pariona, a 27-year-old indigenous activist from Peru and member of the Continental Network of Indigenous Women of the Americas. “We may differ on certain details, but there are points on which we all agree, for example condemnation and rejection of all forms of violence against women.”
Tania is one of 80 young women leaders, who attended a regional meeting in Panama from 23 to 25 November 2012. Organized by UN Women, UNDP and UNFPA, the meeting brought together young leaders from 25 countries of Latin America and the Caribbean and provided a space for discussion and exchange of ideas, where the participants could make their voices heard among their peers and other organizations. In order to share experiences beyond their region, young women from Cameroon, Tanzania, Cambodia and the Maldives also took part.
The participants brought with them their experiences in working on issues such as the environment, culture, health and youth entrepreneurship in their countries. Some are full time gender advocates, while others are students, lawyers, artists, journalists, parliamentarians or entrepreneurs.