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Wellington writer urgers leaders to end gender inequality

PRESS RELEASE: 29 November 2013


Young Wellington writer urges future Commonwealth Leaders to end gender inequality


19 year old Katherine McIndoe from Wellington, New Zealand, has added her message to the 33Fifty Baton Book that is accompanying the Queen’s Baton Relay across the 70 countries and territories taking part in the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games.

Attending a formal reception for the Baton in the Grand Hall at Parliament House, Katherine wrote: “I urge the Commonwealth to take bold action to end gender inequality around the globe. Women and girls everywhere have the right to live free of violence and discrimination, and must have equal opportunities for education and health care. Please use the strength and diversity of the Commonwealth so that all women can live with confidence, joy, and hope”.

Katherine, a student at Victoria University, was chosen to sign the book in recognition of her winning the top prize in this year’s Commonwealth Essay Competition – an international writing competition that this year received over 11,000 entries. Her winning essay, entitled “To boldly go”: a letter to the lost girls, was a powerful and eloquent exposition on gender discrimination across the globe. Katherine’s message to the participants of 33Fifty echoes the poignant theme of this essay. See http://thercs.org/assets/Uploads/Katherine-McIndoe.pdf.

33% of the world’s population lives in the Commonwealth and 50% of those are under 25. The Baton Book, specially produced by De La Rue, is part of 33Fifty, a leadership programme for Commonwealth citizens aged between 18 and 25 run by the Royal Commonwealth Society and Common Purpose. It aims to develop young leaders who bring people together, reconcile difference and lead change.

The Baton Book is an opportunity for one young person from each country or territory the baton visits to send a message to Glasgow 2014, in particular to the participants of the 33Fifty programme that will take place prior to the Games. Applications for 33Fifty opened on Wednesday 16 October and 100 participants will be chosen from across the Commonwealth. See www.33fifty.org.

Director of the Royal Commonwealth Society, Michael Lake, said: “On its return to Glasgow, having travelled 190,000 kilometres across the Commonwealth, the Baton Book will contain messages from 70 young people spanning six continents. Not only is the book a wonderful expression of Commonwealth citizenship, but it’s an opportunity for young people to highlight the issues that are important to them as part of the most high profile event in the Commonwealth calendar – the Commonwealth Games.”

CEO of Common Purpose Charitable Trust, Julia Middleton, said: “If fifty percent of the Commonwealth's population is under 25, that’s over 1 billion people. I sometimes wonder what proportion of the Commonwealth’s leaders are over 55. I hope that this book - as its travels across the Commonwealth with the Queen’s Baton - will give that younger fifty percent more of a voice for people like me to hear.”

Group Director of Communications at De La Rue, Robert Hutchison, said: At the completion of its journey, this unique, handmade document will carry the inspirational words and messages of the Commonwealth’s young people to the leaders of the future. De La Rue is proud to be part of 33Fifty’s Baton Book initiative and looks forward to seeing the book’s pages filled by the young signatories as it travels the world.”
ends

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