Feminists of the Future: Meet Talia!

Chloe Halpenny | Sep 12, 2018
Talia holding a Womankind balloon at her parkrun

We believe that you’re never too young to make a difference, and at just 13 years old, Womankind supporter Talia is proving this to be truer than ever. She’s fundraised an incredible £2,175 this summer through her Bat Mitzvah and a local parkrun – and she’s not done yet. Passionate, determined, and eager to make a difference, Talia is an inspiration to us all! Read on to learn more about her fundraising journey, what’s motivated her, and why she thinks everybody should be a feminist:

What inspired you to fundraise for Womankind?

I believe strongly in equal rights, and Womankind works hard to end discrimination against women and girls by empowering them. I would love to become a human rights lawyer and I am very lucky to go to an excellent school (Lady Eleanor Holles) and have great role models in my family. I am inspired by the work that Womankind does helping women and girls develop their skills in safe environments so that they have the chance to become the best that they can be.

Can you give a bit of background as to what your fundraiser was?

It was my Bat Mitzvah in July. In our faith, we also take on the Jewish responsibility of Tzedakah which translates to both charity and justice, so Womankind seemed the perfect fit for a fundraising project. I wrote an article in our community newsletter and set up a JustGiving page which I advertised in the newsletter and in the invitations to my Bat Mitzvah ceremony. Friends and family have astonished me with their generous donations in celebration of my Bat Mitzvah and to support my 5k parkrun which I did with some of my school friends.  

What do you think made your fundraising so successful?Talia and friends at the parkrun

My initial fundraising target was £400, enough to provide a year's worth of materials for women survivors of violence to train in business skills in Zimbabwe (where my Dad was born). That target was quickly smashed! I think that the cause must have resonated with people on various different levels. I go to a girls school, so lots of my friends and their parents believe strongly in women’s rights. As well, when studying for my Bat Mitzvah I learnt that my great grandmother bravely travelled to South Africa as a refugee to escape violence in Lithuania. I think this personal story made the fundraising come alive for my wonderful supporters, most of whom had not heard about Womankind before. Womankind were also really helpful in sending information, leaflets and balloons that I could use, and in being super supportive in sending me lovely messages of encouragement.

How did other people react when they learnt you were fundraising for Womankind?

My parents and brother were really proud of me.  My brother wrote on my JustGiving page, “it’s a good cause and one that should inspire you to do great things, not only now but throughout your life” – that was really nice. I have an amazing family and group of friends and they have all been really supportive.  

Do you have a favourite memory from your fundraising?

The Bat Mitzvah was brilliant and the culmination of a lot of hard work, but I especially loved doing the parkrun with my school friends. We were all in our matching Womankind running vests and people were shouting support as we ran, and some even came up to us afterwards to ask about Womankind. It felt like we were really making a difference, which was great. Those of my friends who were away on the day of the run want me to arrange another one, so we will be running again!

11th October is International Day of the Girl - why do you think it's important to advocate for girls' rights?

It is really shocking to read that there is nowhere in the world where girls have all of the same opportunities as boys. I know that this is gradually changing, but there is still a long way to go and things can just as easily go backwards as well as forwards, so we have to do what we can to keep up awareness. 

Do you have a message for other young aspiring feminists? 

I worry that people get confused about what a feminist is. It really upsets me when some celebrities with huge social media followings say that they are not feminists. All a feminist wants is equal rights, nothing more than that. If you believe in equality and fairness then you are a feminist, whether you are aTalia at her Bat Mitzvah man or a woman. I am a feminist. My brother is a feminist. The more that young people declare themselves to be feminists, then the more it becomes totally normal. The more normal it becomes, the harder it will be for discrimination to survive.

Join us this October!

Feeling inspired by Talia? We’re gearing up for International Day of the Girl this autumn and would love to hear from you – click here to learn more about how you can fundraise for women’s rights in your home, school, or community!

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