|The Secretary of Ghana’s ‘Curious Minds’ youth radio group, Edith Asamani, 18, visits UNICEF House in New York while attending the 53rd session of the UN Commission on the Status of Women.|
NEW YORK, USA, 20 March 2009 – The 53rd session of the Commission on the Status of Women wrapped up at UN headquarters in New York last week. Among its attendees this year was Edith Asamani, 18, a youth radio host from Ghana.
The annual conference brings together leaders from around the world to promote gender equality and women’s advancement. Edith, the Secretary of Ghana’s ‘Curious Minds’ youth radio group and host of a talk show called ‘Uniiq’, describes her role as “radio advocate.”
“We talk about everything – everything that concerns young people,” she says. ‘Uniiq’ covers dozens of topics that are close to Edith’s heart, including child labour, girls’ rights, health issues and sexuality.
At the Commission meeting, Edith joined legions of women and men who have worked for gender equality over the years. Many of the people there were inspiring, she says.
“One woman from Austria was very interesting,” Edith says, referring to International Alliance of Women President Rosy Weiss. “She started in a very small corner and now she’s representing her country in the UN. And she didn’t know this could come this far. She only thought she was doing it for her local organization.”
Edith sees parallels with her own brief experience. “When I started with ‘Curious Minds’ I didn’t think it would bring me here,” she says. “I just thought was doing something to help a little community in my area.”
Men among women
One thing that struck Edith at the UN conference was the large quantity of men who effortlessly mingled among the crowds of women.
“It’s something you hardly see in Ghana,” she says. Edith has two sisters and no brothers. When the sisters get together with her mother, her father usually leaves the room.
“When I go back, I will tell him more about what I came to see,” she says. “That there were lots more men who were so comfortable among millions of women, and I know he can do better.”
Action, not just talk
Edith hopes to attend university in the coming years. “I want to do a lot of things,” she says, listing medicine, business, marketing and – “of course” – journalism as possible careers. For the moment, she’s working to raise money for school.
But each week, Edith continues to talk with the youth of Ghana on ‘Uniiq’. In the aftermath of her attendance at the Commission she plans to stress the need for action on gender equality in her upcoming broadcasts.
“There have been millions of conferences like this – but what we need is action,” Edith asserts. “We should walk our talk. Young people have a role to play.”
Around 60 young people work with ‘Curious Minds’ to produce an array of youth-oriented programming that airs throughout Ghana via the Ghana Broadcasting Corporation. The group won the 2008 UNICEF International Day of Broadcasting Award for their work.
12 March 2009: Ghanaian youth radio host Edith Asamani, 18, shares stories from a UN conference of the Commission on the Status of Women.
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