Priyanka Jaisinghani is our first Young Professional of the Month. She shared on what inspires her to take action and on her mentorship program delivering on Sustainable Development Goal 5: achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls.
Tell us about yourself and your interests:
I have spent the majority of my life living amongst different cultures -- From the United States, India, Mexico to the United Arab Emirates. I witnessed poverty in India and the rise of drugs in Mexico which contrasted deeply with the riches of the UAE. These cultural experiences have caused me to build a career focused on creating impact. Now that I call New York City my home, I’ve been heavily invested in finding ways of creating impact, and some of these include:
1. Co-founding my mentorship program (GirlzFTW): a platform connecting high school and college girls with ‘badass’ women in the industry to help them through the highs and lows of life. Within our first year we were able to partner with the United Nation’s Youth Observer to amplify our impact with our first international cohort of 18 girls and a following of over 100,000.
2. Actively working to advance the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals through
narratives, interviews and social campaigns through solutions journalism. My writing has been published both online and in print in over 25 countries, sold in Barnes & Noble stores nationwide, and provided stories of hope, possibility and challenge to individuals across the world.
3. Working with the refugee populations through many mediums: From working with documentary
filmmaker Christ Temple to host his first movie screening in NYC, to working directly with refugees organizations and teaching them English to help establish their roots (both in Dubai and New York).
Which of the Sustainable Development Goals are you most passionate about and why?
To dream of a more equal world where women are greater players is not so distant of a reality, and the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal #5 is helping spearhead this push. To provide context, Global Goal #5 is focused on “achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls.” -- and this is a goal that I’m most passionate about advancing.
To take a quick look at the landscape today, women remain underrepresented in leadership and management positions both held publicly and privately. Only 23% of women are represented in
a political sphere and less than ⅓ of management positions are held by women. If we’re going
to be moving the needle to help achieve this Global Goal by 2030, then we’re going to have to do more than just write down the goal.
What are you doing to advance this Goal?
As we start to instill greater skills for our future generation of women to become the next
leaders, I co-foudned GirlzFTW (with Nicol Perez and Amanda Arevalo) to champion the change through education and mentorship to progress on SDG#5.
As a global mentorship program, GirlzFTW is channeling the magic of women everyday by connecting young girls in high school and college to inspirational and badass women from varying fields, industries and backgrounds. Education and mentorship provides immeasurable access to resources that most cannot find in everyday institutions, it provides them with motivation, confidence, and a community of women to have the conversations for girls to be able to gain the skills needed for them to pull up that chair to join the same table as men.
Till date, we have launched two cohort (and currently launching out third) and supported over 100 girls representing over 30 countries. We’ve build a global community of over 130,000 and are continuing to grow. We know it takes a village and as we look at news headlines from around the world, we know there’s a lot more work ahead of us. So, with our heads up and a deep sense of urgency, we’re marching towards the future we want to this wild ride ahead of us.
by Joanna Blaz, UNA-SNY YP Social and Economic Development Committee Director
Fashion models sprinkled a bit of nature into our concrete jungle Wednesday night. Each holding a leaf or flower, models from the sustainable clothing brand Susty walked the National Arts Club runway, their re-purposed shirts urging the audience to “recycle” and “live responsibly.” As some got to the end, they twirled a rose or carnation over their heads: a small symbol that we’re together in the effort to protect our planet.
The fashion show kicked off this year’s United Nations Association-Young Professionals annual Cocktail Event & Awards ceremony. Each of the guests reflected a few of the core issues that UNA-YP advocates: sustainability, international development and refugee aid.
by Joanna Blaz
As UNA-SNY Young Professionals took their seats in Colors Restaurant on Thursday night, one simple item tied the room together: a chalkboard with a Cesar Chavez quote scribbled in blue and pink.
“We don’t need perfect political systems; we need perfect participation.”
The reasons for participation in UNA’s “At The Intersection of Business and Development” panel and networking event were as diverse as the audience itself, which included international entrepreneurs, college students and a sustainability event planner.
by Gemma Tate, UNA-SNY YP Social and Humanitarian Affairs Committee
Water is a human right. So why were residents of Flint, Michigan, forced to drink dangerously contaminated water for so long? One word: greed.
In Flint, government officials believed that cutting costs was worth putting the people's health in danger. An unthinkable betrayal of public trust, the emergency has drawn widespread condemnation and sparked nationwide dialogue. In March, a group of women change-makers gathered at the United Nations Foundation to voice their opinions on the matter.
by George Garland, UNA-SNY President
During the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW), The UNA-SNY Young Professionals Social and Humanitarian Affairs Committee (YP-SHAC) and its Director Marielle Ali hosted a panel called
“Women’s Responses to Water Crises in the US and Abroad.” Standing room only at the UN Foundation’s Arthur Ross Conference Center heard calls for an International Year of Water and Women highlighting Sustainable Development Goals 5 and 6 as well as refined statistics which enable documentation of women’s issues.
Blockbuster speaker Melissa May told of her work in Flint, Michigan’s water crisis. Melissa had driven from a Congressional Hearing in Washington, DC where she had testified along with Michigan Governor Rick Snyder and US Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy. Melissa got to tell Gina McCarthy that adding phosphorous to water to coat water pipes was just adding phosphorous to water drunk in Flint. Replace the pipes.
By Joanna Blaz
About 800 attendees at last week’s Members’ Day at the UN fell silent as one United Nations Association member from Queens, New York, posed a pointed question: Why are the panelists drinking from plastic water bottles in a city with clean tap water?
This questioning of what we can each do to reduce waste reflected the theme of the “Post-Paris Leadership for Climate Change” discussion, one of five panels at the 8th Annual Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference, held Friday.