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Power of One: Sari Schwartz, Americans for UNFPA

Image-Power of One-Sari Schwartz-Americans for UNFPA, united nations population fund

7 Billion Actions is collecting stories of organizations and individuals making a difference in a world at 7 billion. See all stories here and add your own!What’s your Action?

What’s your Action?

 Sari Schwartz is the Manager of Advocacy & Outreach for Americans for UNFPA. Sari coordinates organization-wide efforts to promote political awareness and support for UNFPA within the United States. UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund, is an international development agency that promotes the right of every woman, man and child to enjoy a life of health and equal opportunity.

Why do you act?

It’s hard for me to believe that gender equity still remains a hurdle today, and that it’s especially problematic in so many developing countries. In the U.S., we’ve come a long way since the gender quotas my mother faced as 1 of only 3 women in her medical school class. Thanks to the efforts of my mom and generations before me, I can honestly say that I didn’t give much thought as to whether being a woman would affect my chances of being able to go to law school, or whether there was an even ratio of women to men in my class. I knew it was my right to be there. But in other parts of the world, for women like Kakenya, opportunities to obtain even a primary education are viewed as a privilege, not a right.

 As the world grows, we can grow along with it. Exponential population growth affects the world’s poorest regions in distinctive ways, and all too often yields a disparity of opportunities. In some developing countries, women don’t have the same ability as men to own property, to borrow credit, or to get an education.

What’s your vision for 7 billion?

Reform begins with us and it begins now. 7 Billion actions presents an opportunity to use social media platforms as a voice for those who live in the throes of extreme poverty, those with no access to healthcare, let alone access to the internet; this is a chance to shout out loud on behalf of those whose voices would otherwise go unheard. This is a tool at our disposal, let’s use it right.
 So right after I’ve added my cousin on Facebook, posted some new pictures to Flickr, and made sure to follow my college crush on Twitter, I’m going to update my status and let my friends know what they can do to commit to a better world of 7 billion people. I hope you will too. You can start by shouting from the rooftops or simply broadcasting it on all of your social networks…and while you’re at it, make sure everyone hears you and WRITE IT IN ALL CAPS.