AFTER the UN’s Millennium Development Goals for equality were left unfulfilled in 2015, UN Women created a roadmap to 2030, along which 17 new goals would be reached. Termed “The Global Goals” and armed with its own website, the viral #WhatIReallyReallyWant campaign highlights each of these 17 issues with a power only the Internet can provide: the viral video.
Twenty years after it took over the world, the Spice Girls’ hit single “Wannabe” is back in a brand new video highlighting The Global Goals. Women lip sync, dance, and hold up signs reading “Quality Education for All Girls” and “End Child Marriage.” All in all, it’s a pretty fantastic way to spread the message.
Viewers are encouraged to submit their own pictures and signs — termed “Global Goals Selfies” — which The Global Goals intend to “present to world leaders at the United Nations in September.” By holding the people in power responsible for their promises, the organization wants to “ensure [that] World Leaders and the Secretary General of the United Nations listen to the voices of girls and women and put them first in policies and plans.”
So just what are The Global Goals?
The Global Goals seek to raise the quality of life around the world by eradicating poverty, hunger, gender inequality, waste, and illiteracy. They focus on fish and wildlife conservation, sanitation, healthcare, climate change, and sustainable development.
Some people might believe that these issues do not affect us in the West. But I assure you, people in the richest countries in the world will go to sleep tonight without food, books, or beds. We may have lower rates of poverty, and the poor around us may have access to more and better resources than those in some corners of the world, but that does not mean they will not benefit from global initiatives, nor does it mean that their plight should be ignored.
With that being said, the fact that developed countries have domestic problems should not be used as an excuse to avoid offering foreign aid when and where we can. When someone comes into a conversation about international issues and wants to know why we aren’t “taking care of our own” first, always be sure to ask them which politicians have their vote, and find out whether they support cuts to veterans spending, welfare programs, environmental protections, prison reform, and education initiatives for at-risk children. If they do, then they aren’t interested in domestic care; they just want to derail the conversation in order to avoid talking about inequalities altogether.
Many of The Global Goals are popular in theory, but not in practice. This allows the public to be individually progressive on important issues, but to vote in candidates who are not, and who enact and enforce draconian legislation. Keep this in mind when you discuss The Global Goals with others. GovTrack allows you to view the voting records of bills and Members of Congress, and is a free tool you can use to research individual politicians.
Remember: the easiest way to participate in The Global Goals campaign involves using your voice and your platform to spread the #WhatIReallyReallyWant message. If your safety and security will be compromised by that, there are other, more private ways for you to stand in solidarity with women and girls around the world.
In #WhatIReallyReallyWant, The Global Goals have created an infinitely shareable campaign. More than that, the site functions as an activism hub, where anyone with passion — no matter how green — can find a way to act.
Take, for example, the Girls Progress = Goals Progress page. The Global Goals begin here by encouraging allies to share a Global Goals Selfie with the #WhatIReallyReallyWant hashtag on social media. Scroll down, and you’ll find a long list of support-worthy campaigns, including HeForShe, End FGM, and Girls Not Brides.
If you’ve never been involved in any kind of political or social activism, don’t worry. Today, you don’t have to make picket signs and drive to your state capital in order to be heard — although that’s a fantastic thing to do, if you are able. Most justice campaigns — including The Global Goals — begin online, with interested people tagging and sharing text, pictures, and video to Twitter and Facebook.
That being said, if you have the time and energy to write letters, participate in demonstrations, and organize fundraisers, then do so, by all means. And, if you are financially able, giving money to good causes is always the best way to support them.
A number of great people have said that the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good folks to do nothing. The Global Goals are 100 percent attainable, but we cannot possibly see progress so long as we leave activism to others. Even if you believe you are ill-equipped, you can make a difference.