Ambassadors take leading role in #BreakTheGlass campaign

Listen out today (Wednesday 26 July) for the sound of glass ceilings being cracked as women’s voices are raised in a collective outcry against ongoing gender disparities in societies around the world.

#BreakTheGlass, a digital storytelling campaign being organised by Empower Women, aims to electrify social media with personal stories of inspiring women who have challenged gender and racial stereotypes. A live 90-minute webinar starting today (Wednesday 26 July)​ at 10am EDT will feature a five-strong panel of speakers including the One Young World Ambassador, engineer and social entrepreneur Midia Shikh Hassan, who has pioneered the production by 3D printing of prosthetic limbs for Syrian war refugees.

One Young World Ambassador Aminka Belvitt is one of three 2016-2017 Empower Women Champions for Change who have contributed to the #BREAKTHEGLASS campaign which was created by PwC.

Belvitt, who is based in Montreal, Canada, says that the campaign will emphasise that the concept of the glass ceiling is not confined to “a high-powered professional job” in the corporate world. “We have to open the lens,” she says. “It could be a construction worker or someone setting up a makeup line in a society where women are not encouraged to celebrate their beauty. This is really about women gaining economic means, in the way that they want to.”

Shikh Hassan, who is based in Canada, is also the founder and CEO of Canny Vision, an immersive environment start up which harnesses virtual reality and artificial intelligence technology.

Belvitt was born in Jamaica and emigrated to Canada with her family at the age of five. She studied at the University of Ottawa and is the founder of ForUsGirls, a community initiative aimed at mentoring and providing programmes for marginalised girls. ForUsGirls, which holds workshops for High School students at school lunch-times, and community-based programmes at weekends, aims to give young women a safe space where they can be themselves.

#BreakTheGlass aims to highlight three key messages:

Firstly, how women are redefining their strength by defying gender stereotypes and breaking barriers across disciplines, creating opportunities for women and contributing to making the world more equal.

Secondly, how some men are advocates for women’s economic empowerment and gender equality and extend their support to women by sharing the load in unpaid care work, having inclusive policies at the workplace and promoting equality through community initiatives or by empowering women and girls.

And finally, highlighting those girls and boys who are challenging gender roles and perceptions in order to bridge the gender inequality gap and inspiring more girls to become fully empowered.

The campaign is designed to provoke high levels of interaction from both women and men, particularly those aged under 30. People are being encouraged to shoot selfie videos, create digital postcards, and to write “closer look” stories describing their efforts in breaking down stereotypes and challenging inequality. They are also asked to challenge their friends to help “break the glass”.

Join the #BreakTheGlass launch webinar today at 10:00am EDT. More info here