“The world needs you now, not when you’re perfect”. This quote makes me feel empowered to act. Like I can do anything. It is what gave me the confidence to apply to the G(irls)20 Summit 2013. And what a process that was.

On the last day of applications, I gathered my courage, reviewed my application and “clicked”…who would have thought, the click of a mouse would open so many doors for women of my generation. Only after I had submitted my application, did I conclude that my fear of not being good enough is what kept me from submitting my application earlier.

I see this same fear and lack of confidence in women around me and in my community. I believe the biggest challenge that girls and women face in Portugal and Europe in general, is a lack of confidence to act, which has meant an absence of participation in economics, politics and social sector due to this “non-risk” attitude.

I do not believe it is a problem about women’s rights, discrimination or lack of opportunities. I view it as women still relying in the stigma created thousands of years ago that they are weak and not supposed to take the same responsibilities as men do. It is not about striving for equal rights, but a need to transform this next generation of girls into drivers of change.

We know that when women participate economically, it speeds up development, helps overcome poverty and reduces inequalities. Women’s participation improves children’s nutrition, health, and school attendance. So imagine what the participation of the 3.5 billion of women in the world can mean.

To address this challenge, I have become active in my own community. Right now, I am working to engage youth by transforming teens into “Transformers.”Transfomers2

A transformer is a youth that overcomes any challenge with his/hers “superpower”. And I don’t mean a super-human power like an ability to fly, transport through space or have super-human-strength. A “superpower” is his or her passion, the strongest weapon to transform our communities! I have joined the Transformers Project, and together we strive to empower youth to live their dreams!