International Day of Women and Girls in Science

In order to achieve full and equal access to education and participation in science for women and girls, and to encourage empowerment of women and girls, the United Nations General Assembly declared 11 February as the International Day of Women and Girls in Science.

At present, less than 30 per cent of researchers worldwide are women. Globally, female students’ enrolment is particularly low in ICT (3%), natural science, mathematics and statistics (5%) and in engineering, manufacturing and construction (8%).

Access to education, participation in science and gender equality are all pressing social issues that must be tackled in order to achieve Sustainable Development Goals. Gender bias and stereotypes are pushing girls and women away from science related topics. In most cases, further obstacles like socio-economic status, traditional norms about gender role status prevent them to access education and exclude them from participating in these fields.

Access to education, participation in science and gender equality are all pressing social issues that must be tackled in order to achieve Sustainable Development Goals.

As YouthSpeak Forum we value and stand for SDG 4 Quality Education and SDG 5 Gender Equality. Join us on 19th March and take part in our workshop related to Quality Education and other SDGs. Let’s take action to remove all the barriers that hold women and girls all over the world from getting their right to access education and pursue their goal of fully participating in science.

Let’s celebrate today and every day, women and girls who are leading innovation to debunk the myth that science and technology can’t be interesting for a woman!

Happy International Day of Women and Girls in Science!
#IChooseAction. Do you?

YouthSpeak Team Takes Action! Part II

“What can a single person change anyway?” We are all familiar with this question. It is a sentence we hear in the middle of a hot conversation or a slinking thought in our head once in a while. But we have to keep in mind that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and a single action will go a long way. As the YouthSpeak Forum Organizing Team, we shared some of our little steps we take towards awareness and sustainability every day:



Masa Mitic
Economical University of Vienna • Law

Yet another passed, another will come soon and so on and so on…it’s an endless circle. Every student knows this feeling, the exam week. But they don’t come along alone. With every new exam week, new books come along. For a simple book of 200 pages that is produced in a edition that is consisted out of 20.000 books 56 trees need to be cut down. Now, just imagine how many trees do you need for one university campus, how many forests have to go away? Instead of buying a new book, try to borrow it from a friend, or from the library or just buy it from someone who doesn’t need it anymore. You will not only save money, but with selling/buying/ borrowing a book from someone, you will keep a forest alive.



Nikola Brandstaetter
University of Vienna • Law

As Madeleine Daria Alizadeh, Founder of dariadeh recently wrote in her blog, approximately 1.6 billion tonnes of the food produced for us goes to waste. A new analysis from 2018 shows, that if we keep up with the current this number will increase by a third by 2030, with 2.1 billion tons lost or thrown away, which is equivalent to 66 tonnes per second. In 2016 815 million people, which accounted to over 10% of the world population, were suffering from chronic undernourishment. Furthermore, food waste and loss accounts for 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions. Reasons for that are diverse. Especially in industrialising countries, where wealth grows, the demand for more diverse food, food that is not grown locally, is increasing. Supply and demand have to be matched better and companies have to start promoting items that are about to expire soon. On the other hand, we buy too much food and anything that doesn’t meet the aesthetic standards after a few days in the fridge might be thrown out. But also government regulations have to be made, as for now there is little to no incentives for companies to reduce food waste. Governmental restrictions on expiration dates, storage and size (like in China, where the size of blueberries that can be sold is regulated) support food waste rather than diminishing it. I try to reduce food waste by buying from local markets, not buying too much food and not throwing away things, when it does not look that delicious anymore. I also eat food when it already passed it expire date and still seems good to me. What do you personally do to reduce food waste?



Denise Steger
Economical University of Vienna • International Business

Growing up in the heart of the Alps, South Tyrol, with nature everywhere around me I always asked myself as a kid, why we had to “import” electricity from over 100km away to our small village. I knew about the possibility of using hydroelectric power to produce electricity but didn’t understand why we didn’t implement this technology in our village yourselves since we had a rather powerful river just flowing through the valley. My dad was the major at the time and as soon as he heard my thoughts a new inspiration came to his mind. Over the course of 3 years he managed to plan and implement the construction of the northernmost hydroelectric power plant of Italy and it was put into operation in 2007. Do you know “How hydroelectricity works” ? It is a more sustainable alternative to coal or atomic energy and doesn’t have a negative impact on the environment.

Interested to learn more and do more to create your own impact and take action? Join us at the YouthSpeak Forum 2019!

YouthSpeak Team Takes Action! Part I

“What can a single person change anyway?” We are all familiar with this question. It is a sentence we hear in the middle of a hot conversation or a slinking thought in our head once in a while. But we have to keep in mind that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step, and a single action will go a long way. As the YouthSpeak Forum Organizing Team, we shared some of our little steps we take towards awareness and sustainability every day:



Carolyn Lai
University of Vienna • Politics

Coming from Malaysia, diving is a must. I love the ocean and life under water. It gives me great pain to know that water pollution is a serious problem in Malaysia. Because I grew up in one of the most metropolitan cities in South East Asia, Kuala Lumpur, it never occurred to me how statically water pollution was increasing. Each year, beaches become more unsanitary. The fish in our rivers contain 80% plastic. Generally, Malaysia lacks a central agency to manage the overall aspects of water resources management, so I decided to take it into my own hands. Tap water in Malaysia is not drinkable, so for as long as I can remember, my family buys big bottles of filtered water to put into our water dispenser at home resulting in the disposal of four 5 litre plastic bottles each week. To take action, I now boil tap water to decrease the number of disposed plastic bottles each week and encouraged my grandma to do the same. Now whenever water is served in our household, it is boiled tap water.  I hope that one day, all families in Malaysia will mirror this action step. I stand for SDG14 & SDG 6.



Valeriya Palhuyeva
University of Vienna • International Development

According to the data published on the website “Global Index of Slavery”, at the moment there are 40,3 million slaves in the world. Have you ever wondered how many slaves work for you? Don’t be shocked by this question, because victims of modern slavery may be people of all nationalities and cultures. No one in the modern world is protected from slavery. The general terms “modern slavery”, “forced labor” and “human trafficking” are used to refer to the act of recruiting, harbouring, transporting, delivering or obtaining a person for the purpose of using it for forced labor or commercial sexual exploitation by physical force, deception or coercion. Look around you and think, do you really know how the things you buy were made? That your smart phone, t-shirt, computer, cup of coffee…

Out of the 17 SDGs, human trafficking is specifically mentioned in three targets under three goals: 5 (Gender Equality), 8 (Decent Work and Economic Growth) and 16 (Peace Justice and Strong Institutions). However, many other goals are related to combating human trafficking, which is deeply rooted in development issues in general, including poverty, education, child labor, abuse and exploitation, gender inequality and discrimination, migration, and the effects of climate change.

Be Aware! How many slaves work for you?



Asli Ertem
University of Vienna • Sociology

When I watched the ‘True Cost’ documentary a few years ago I was shocked by the reality of fast fashion and my ignorant consumer habits. It was a wakeup call for me to realize how we damage our environments and support all kind of inequalities for the sake of following cheap, fast fashion trends.

I stand for SDG 10: Reduced Inequalities and SDG 12: Responsible Consumption and Production. I decided to learn more about the concept of responsible consumption and change my habits accordingly. First, I changed the way I look at wearing fancy outfits every single day in general and minimized my shopping activities to few times a year from sustainable brands. Now, I also try to follow and go to second-hand markets and events in the city. But most importantly, when I don’t need or wear something, I make sure to donate them. And I really recommend that to every single person!

Interested to learn more and do more to create your own impact and take action? Join us at the YouthSpeak Forum 2019!

5 Ways To Stay Sustainable While Studying

Once again, this year, the call for sustainable and conscious living is loud and clear. As YouthSpeak Forum, to ensure sustainable consumption and production will be one of the Global Goals we’ll be tackling in March.

“Sustainable consumption and production is about promoting resource and energy efficiency, sustainable infrastructure, and providing access to basic services, green and decent jobs and a better quality of life for all. Its implementation helps to achieve overall development plans, reduce social costs, and reduce poverty.”

As exams are right around to corner, we took this chance to rethink our lifestyle and habits as students, thought of 5 ways to “do more with less” and contribute to a better environment by making green choices this month.

1.Stay away from disposables.
You have probably heard this one a couple of times now, but it can be never mentioned enough. To survive during the exam period, we go through cups of coffee, tea (and hopefully a lot of water). The majority of us also bring our own food to the university to keep it healthy and economic. Unfortunately, that would mean a lot of waste every single day unless we opt for reusable cups and containers over disposables ones. So try to reduce your plastic waste by buying few reusable items for this month. Plus, places around the university give discounts if you bring your own reusable item to fill!

2.Reduce your paper waste.
Paper is one of the main areas where university students can save money and the environment. The options are endless when it comes to reducing your paper waste. You can easily borrow books from the university library or maybe buy them second hand from someone who don’t need it anymore. If you’re studying from notes or slides, try not to print them. You have colorful highlight options on your laptop as well!

3.Recycle.
No matter how hard we try, even in the best case, we end up with unnecessary amount of printed assignments or papers handed out by lecturers by the end of each term. For that, most universities have recycle bins in the campus buildings. Be sure to put paper, plastic and cans in those bins. Take your game a step forwards and make it a habit to separate& recycle your waste at home as well. For that find the nearest recycle bin to your house and if you’re living in Austria it shouldn’t be too far anyway!

4. Avoid unnecessary energy consumption.
Most of us consume more energy while studying… Charging our laptops and phones multiple times a day and staying up late or even all night is only normal when you have a lot to do. Still, unplugging your chargers when not used or switching off your devices along with all the unnecessary lights while you’ re studying is only a few little things you can do. Research from the University of Kent has found that students can contribute reducing energy consumption by 37% if they can see the amount of energy they are using in real-time and are motivated by their peers to save energy.

5.Bike, walk or use public transportation.
Avoid driving your own car to the university campus. For many reasons it is the better option. Did you know that transportation accounts for more than 25% of U.S. carbon dioxide emissions? So, You will not only get some fresh air and save money but do more good for the environment more than you think by reducing your footprint.

Interested to learn more and do more to create your own impact? Check out YouthSpeak Forum 2019!

The Most Important Declaration

“It is time all nations and all people live up to the words of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights, which recognizes the inherent dignity and equal
and inalienable rights of all members of the human race. This year marks the 70th
anniversary of that landmark document.”

– Secretary-General António Guterres.

Every so often a thing comes to pass with such an importance that we must stand up and recognize it. We must take on and spread its message as far as our voice will carry. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the first and the most fundamental declaration of human rights. It was drafted by representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the World and adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 10 December 1948 in Paris.

Since then, 10 December is celebrated as the Human Rights Day. Different than the previous years, in 2018, the Human Rights Day has a special meaning to it. This year marks the 70th Anniversary of this remarkable document that proclaimed the inalienable rights we are each individually entitled, no matter who or where we are. ‘Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.’ Article 2

Although it may seem like we have a long way to go, there is a lot to appreciate in these statements that acknowledged the freedom and equality we all deserve way back in 1948. Now, On the 70th Anniversary of this universal milestone, The UN Human Rights Office, is calling every person to #StandUp4HumanRights and strive for equality in their actions. As a first step to make a difference I took the Human Rights Pledge*. “When anyones human rights are denied, I will raise my voice, I will take action. I will use my rights to stand up for your rights.”

Today, on 10th December Human Rights Day, #IChooseAction. Do you?