Last year, 19-year-old Stéphanie David was selected as just one of seven people to participate in the 2010/2011 Challenge Europe Programme, led by the British Council, to reduce carbon emissions in one year. Named a Clim’Actor, the French teenager was placed in charged of an ambitious environmental initiative; one that David recalls the time limitation being a little daunting.
Arriving at the British Council on a Saturday morning, the selected seven were asked to choose between three projects by the afternoon. David admits now that the project failed primarily due to time, but the value of the network is what remains.
“It was too short to really plan a strong and viable project,” says the young woman from Saint Hilaire de Loulay, in western France. “Anyway, it is a great experience and in many other countries, there had been successes and failures but we finally built a strong network.”
Such a setback doesn’t appear to have impeded David’s enterprise, as the teenager was chosen among hundreds of applicants to be the French delegate of the G(irls) 20 Summit in Paris. Having spent the entire week attending panels on ways women and girls can effect economic change, David emails me saying that she has learned much about “the current situation of women all around the world.”
The law and political sciences student took a break from her studies at the University of Montesquieu Bordeaux IV to participate at the Summit, which calls upon the brightest young feminists (aged 18 to 20) to weigh in on the global challenges of girls and women. As a human rights advocate, David believes education and scholastic opportunities is an important effort in creating and sustaining the well-being of women.
“Education is so important for the progress of women and girls,” she says. “Education could make them more aware that their situation can evolve, that they have rights, and that those rights should be respected.”