Wednesday, April 26, 2017

The Road From Brownies to the United Nations

Lillian served as a Girl Scout delegate for the United Nations 
Earlier this year, Lillian Hogan was one of four young women chosen from the Southeastern New England Council to act as a delegate at the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations. We're thrilled to share how her experiences as a Girl Scout informed her service as a delegate.

When I joined Girl Scouts, I was a five-year-old ball of energy bursting with excitement and ready to get my hands dirty. Seven years later, as a Cadette, I began to really think about the world around me for the first time. Watching the news on TV became more than just my parents’ nightly ritual. I started to understand that my life experiences weren’t universal—the world had many inequities. So at 12 years old, I decided that in addition to my identities as a student, Girl Scout, and young woman, I was a feminist and a member of global group of individuals who believed that gender should not define people’s treatment or opportunity.

"I decided that in addition to my identities as a student, Girl Scout, and young woman, I was a feminist."


Now, as a 16-year-old, I have spent more than two-thirds of my life as a Girl Scout. It has helped shape who I am and who I aspire to be. Girl Scouts has given me business and marketing skills, camping and survival training, and a place where I can flourish uninhibited by societal norms and expectations. And just recently, Girl Scouts has granted me one of the greatest honors of my life thus far: the position of Girl Scout delegate for the U.N. Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).

During my first CSW session, delegates attended a variety of meetings on topics ranging from technology use in education to preventative steps necessary to end human trafficking. Each panel granted me the opportunity to meet with people from around the world. I heard their stories, their inspirations, and their struggles, and I was able to learn about the differences and similarities of women’s treatment worldwide. Throughout the session, CSW did an exemplary job addressing and challenging issues that women face. And afterward, I felt especially driven to encourage other young people in take part in this crucial work.

Lillian and fellow Girl Scout delegates

I believe these young advocates are everywhere. Girl Scouts and its delegates and I prove that kids and teens are present and want their voices heard. The United Nations also proves this to be true—it created a youth CSW event two years ago to meet this demand. As part of my experience at the United Nations, I attended the youth event, which allowed young people throughout the world to come forth and discuss the issues they see women and girls struggling with in their communities. Unfortunately, after the event ended, I didn’t see young people having the same say that they did in the meeting.

"As the world evolves, I hope that my generation and coming generations will carve out a place where equality is not an aspiration but a guarantee." 


Young girls are one of the most vulnerable groups of people globally and are often left behind or taken advantage of. Around the world, girls constantly face challenges in education, health, social status, and equitable treatment. As the world evolves, I hope that my generation and coming generations will carve out a place where equality is not an aspiration but a guarantee. Youth advocates are the unheralded victors of change, and they need to be granted opportunities to make it happen.

"And it’s through Girl Scouts and the Girl Scout Law that I learned to be courageous and strong and to want to make the world a better place."

Since serving as a Girl Scout delegate, I have done amazing things—I was invited to the Rhode Island State House, granted a temporary spot at the United Nations, and given a platform where I can openly and fully discuss the inequalities women and girls face every day. I attended a ceremony to congratulate Princess Sabeeka bint Ibrahim Al Khalifa of Bahrain for being named this year's recipient of the Global Award for Women. I saw the U.N. secretary general speak. And it’s through Girl Scouts and the Girl Scout Law that I learned to be courageous and strong and to want to make the world a better place. Through those integral teachings, and my experience at the United Nations, I have also learned the importance of individual and global advocacy.

I urge everyone to consider the world we live in. Feminism is more than the local challenges we see in the United States (although those also play a part). Intersectionality requires inclusion of all aspects of humanity. Feminism is for everybody, and as long as there is a voice calling for change, there is change to be made.