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Creating Positive Change For Women In Italy

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Since a young age, I have always been fascinated by social and humanitarian work, especially through volunteering and being creative. Born to Moroccan parents, I'm an Italian student of economics and finance, but above all, I'm a dreamer. 

Every time I call myself that, people around look at me with questioning eyes... why a dreamer? At the age of 11, I managed a small store in my school to support orphans in Tanzania. Now at 20, I recently co-founded a small Healthcare Association.

Although it is difficult to find the time to make an impact on the world whilst studying, I always try to find a way to make my contribution towards change.

Recently, Italy's position in the Global Gender Index moved from the 69th position to 41st. However, in economic participation and opportunity, women hold only 27 per cent in legislators, senior officials and management positions. It's no secret that it's harder for women to get ahead in their respective industries. As a student of economics, I know the industry I intend to enter is male dominated.

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With the help of G(irls)20, I am able to concretize the journey I started when I was a little girl, and to realize my dream: to show the world that girls can be active and independent role models for everyone. I dream of amplifying the voices of girls with critical, positive, and constructive spirits, who want to get involved in improving society.

I believe that if institutions create greater educational and economic opportunities for women, we would immediately begin to see the positive impact on society. In my opinion, the Italian government should highlight the capabilities of girls by creating more opportunities for dialogue to influence policies that benefit women and girls.

Research shows that women make great leaders because they have a more collaborative, intuitive, nurturing, and empathetic style; while men prefer a more top-down, fact-based, linear, and task-oriented approach. Giving women more self-confidence will contribute to creating a more inclusive, open and prosperous society, in order to achieve gender parity.

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Italy is already a dynamic country, but how much can it really improve?

The Council on Foreign Relations estimates that each country's GDP grows by three per cent when women's participation in the workforce is increased. According to one study that compared similarly-sized businesses, those with women on their boards outperformed those with all-male boards by 26 per cent, and when women actually achieve parity in group situations, they accurately represent their interests.

After representing Italy at the 2016 G(irls)20 Summit in Beijing, I've decided to leave my mark and help create positive change for the women of Italy.

I hope to be a person whose work impacts those around me, especially other young Italian girls. As a dreamer who now has the tools to succeed, I look forward to the day where I can take a few steps back and admire the change I've helped create.

By Majda El Mahi, delegate representing Italy at the 2016 G(irls)20 Summit in Beijing, China.

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