I was moved by the collaborative and interdependent nature of the WYAE ELC

The World Youth Alliance Europe’s Emerging Leaders Conference is an annual conference where emerging leaders from across a variety of countries across Europe start a dialogue and advocate for important issues such as the health and rights of women. In 2020, it was held between 02 – 06 of November.

The Emerging Leader’s Conference was a brilliant opportunity to heed the cross-cultural paradigm surrounding women’s health. In retrospect, I was moved by the incredibly collaborative and interdependent nature of the conference.

It was rejuvenating to learn that many young leaders pan-Europe have been working to advocate for women’s rights & health, nevertheless, there is still much more work to be done. Delegates iterated recurring themes about how access to healthcare can often be obstructed, including- long waiting times in accident & emergency departments, poor mental health provision, a dearth of healthcare professionals in rural areas and marginalised women actively excluded from receiving maternal healthcare. We worked together by sharing good practices, devising solutions, and developed a research manual and strategy report to present to the Council of Europe’s European Youth Foundation sponsored the conference.

Women face complex issues with respect to reproductive and maternal health – often through forms intrusion and lack of social and economic resources. This does not just affect the individual but subsequent generations; the biggest predictor of a person’s life is the resources and health of the mother. Human health does not solely rely on clinical care, it requires a holistic approach to be at its optimum.

The Emerging Leader’s Conference reinforced the grave importance of an intercultural dialogue about women’s health and rights. The World Youth Alliance encourages young people globally to organise around issues that uphold the dignity of human beings – from grassroots to global policy level. We collectively have a civic and moral duty to invest in human capital and enforce human rights. Human rights are an avenue to maternal and reproductive justice.

Published: Jan 15, 2021

Written by Florence Onabanjo, a medical student, UK WYA member and ELC 2020 participant