Breakthrough shows how storytelling can turn gender equality pledges into reality

October 7, 2015 2015

On Sunday, the heads of state at the United Nations General Assembly spent the day making pledges to gender equality–and Breakthrough spent the day talking about how storytelling and culture can make those pledges a reality.

At a parallel event for civil society, we spent a little time watching the UN proceedings. It’s an unprecedented moment, as one set of global goals wind down and the world prepares for the coming fifteen years. But in Breakthrough’s breakout room, we played music. We watched inspiring videos: a music video created by British teens to celebrate the steps their generation is taking against gender based violence, a documentary showing how young men react to the reality of female genital mutilation, and sneak previews from Breakthrough’s upcoming storytelling project.

We developed and told our stories. Stories that demonstrate how these big issues being discussed at the UN have actual impact on our daily lives. Stories that showed how human rights change people’s lives today, from the education they receive to the opportunities they get to the kinds of work they do. Stories that helped us to understand how to reach the #WorldWeWant, the day’s running theme.

There’s plenty of work for civil society in supporting the UN’s development goals, and this kind of transformation requires not only legal and policy change but also deep cultural shifts driven by individual and collective action. The stories we shared on Sunday and the ways they helped people to connect are a solid step forward. Want to be part of this work? Submit YOUR story and be part of the big launch of our storytelling project!