“Gender equality is not just a women’s issue, but a human rights issue, and we all need to be part of the conversation.”

Age: 21

Hometown: Edmonton, Alberta

Currently Residing In: Edmonton, Alberta

Affiliations: City of Edmonton Youth Council, Social Equity Subcommittee, Diabetes Canada Club

what influenced you to become a change-maker?

One of the wisest teachers to have taught me once said, “Compassion is the basis of all morality, so live your life as if you were a mirror that reflects the good back to people.” Being a student under her wing influenced my choice to study political science and sociology in order to create a positive and meaningful difference in the lives of others. Furthermore, my cultural identity as a first-generation Lebanese-Canadian and a Muslim pushes me to want to establish a platform from which I can advocate for underrepresented populations, gender equality, and the human rights of others.

How does your work promote gender equality in Canada and around the world?

While serving on the City of Edmonton Youth Council Social Equity Subcommittee last year, I helped facilitate “Illuminate,” the first annual speaking event for youth to mark International Women’s Day. This event gave female-identifying and non-binary youth a chance to speak about gender discrimination or inequality in their lives. I also had the privilege of interning for the Minister of the Status of Women at the Alberta Legislature. This internship enabled me to identify, research, and understand how different policies or initiatives affect different genders through the application of the Gender-Based Analysis+ tool. Both these experiences have shaped my belief that in order to achieve gender equality, we need to create space for women to lead and participate in building strong and inclusive institutions at all levels and eliminate societal structures that are acting as barriers, depriving women from growing and developing into their fullest potential.  

What inspires you to make a difference in the world?

Malcolm X once said, “I want to be remembered as someone who was sincere. Even if I made mistakes, they were made in sincerity.” This quote drives me to lead a life that impacts and influences others in a sincere, meaningful way. I want nothing more in my life than to serve humanity by uplifting others to their highest potential with passion, dedication, and most importantly, through hard work.

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