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Future Leader Spotlight: McKenzie-Kohl Tuckett - Bernews

This article is part 8 of an 8-part series featuring the experience of Bermuda’s Future Leaders at the Global Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship Summer Program.

McKenzie-Kohl Tuckett:

”Gone are the days when sexism will be tolerated. There’s absolutely no room for it. Let’s all do our part in making our world a fairer place for women.”

Future Leader McKenzie-Kohl Tuckett Bermuda Aug 2019 (1)

Student Profile

McKenzie-Kohl: My name is McKenzie-Kohl Tuckett and I recently turned 16 years old. I attend Warwick Academy and will be entering Year 12 [IB] this September. As a 2018 future leader, I was pretty excited to learn about the opportunity to participate in Brandon Hall School’s Global Leadership and Social Entrepreneurship Summer Program earlier this year. I wanted to participate in an overseas summer program to gain some exposure and this one certainly fit my specific interests, as I hope to be a great leader one day. Honing in on my leadership skills is important to me. I plan to pursue a career in law and also have a keen interest in politics. My ultimate desire is to be a catalyst for social change in Bermuda and perhaps globally.

Interviewer: What did you choose as your project idea, based on an issue you’re passionate about solving?

Mckenzie-Kohl: I decided to form a non-profit organization to celebrate women by way of supporting the education of women, promoting the empowerment of women and continuing the quest for gender equality. It was at Brandon Hall School that Girl [Em]Power was born.

Interviewer: Why did you choose your particular project?

McKenzie-Kohl: I am a young feminist, with a special interest in women’s rights and I am quite passionate about gender equality. It is for this reason that I chose gender equality as the theme for my final presentation at the GYLIA Conference. A non-profit organization for women, by women, called Girl [Em]Power seemed fitting. The promotion of education, empowerment and equality for women, will be the mission of Girl [Em]Power.

Future Leader McKenzie-Kohl Tuckett Bermuda Aug 2019 (2)

Interviewer: Do you plan to implement your idea? If so, what are some possible challenges to implementation?

McKenzie-Kohl: I would love the opportunity to implement Girl [Em]Power in Bermuda. While there may be challenges with full implementation at this time, I believe that there are some initiatives that I’ve incorporated, which are achievable in the short term. Others may be less achievable right now, due to the fact that I am a student, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t and won’t happen when the time is right. Should you wish to stay up to date with what’s happening with Girl [Em]Power, you can follow us on instagram @grlempower or email grlempower@gmail.com.

Interviewer: What was your overall experience at Brandon Hall School?

McKenzie-Kohl: When the opportunity to participate in the summer program at Brandon Hall School presented itself, I was determined to make the most of the experience, if I was accepted, and I did just that. I enjoyed every aspect of the program, from the class study, to the guest speakers, the networking opportunities with faculty and staff, to the off-campus excursions. I also enjoyed bonding with my old friends from Bermuda, as well as the new friends that I met in Atlanta. All in all, the experience was a memorable one. Dorm life further enhanced the experience at Brandon Hall School.

Summary of Presentation:

Did you know that 62 million girls are denied a formal education worldwide?

Did you know that women with full time jobs earn only about 77% of their male counterpart’s earnings?

Did you know that globally, only 32% of all national parliamentarians are female [in Bermuda, that number falls to 25%]?

Did you know that one in five women on U.S. College campuses have been victims of sexual assault?

Future Leader McKenzie-Kohl Tuckett Bermuda Aug 2019 (3)

As a young feminist with a special interest in women’s rights [I hope to be a women's rights activist], I’m quite passionate about removing the many obstacles that women face every day globally. When I was told to create a project, I knew what my initiative would focus on.

My vision is an organization called Girl [Em]Power. The mission of Girl [Em]Power is to support the education of women, promote the empowerment of women and continue the quest for gender equality.

Education: there is no doubting that a good education is the basis of so much of what we do. With that in mind, Girl [Em]Power would serve as a place where young woman could go for advice on all things education: From homework clubs for middle schoolers, to community education classes, to college searches and college application assistance, scholarship application assistance, resume writing and interviewing skills. The goal here would be to promote the importance of education, so that young women can take their rightful place in the school and later the job of their choice. There has always been a lack of women in key leadership roles. While there has been steady improvement over the last several years, we still have a ways to go. Let’s not let our education, of lack thereof, to be a reason why we can’t compete.

Empowerment: our target audience here will be those women amongst us who are most vulnerable. Whether it be young women who are living below or on the poverty line, or young women who have been victims of unfortunate events; the aim will be to empower these women by providing the guidance and support that they need, or pointing them in the right direction to get this guidance and support. In addition, we would assist the vulnerable population by forming support groups for those in need, as well as providing access to therapy for those who are uninsured or under-insured. We would also distribute feminine hygienic products, which are often too expensive for those women living below or on the poverty line, as well as host self-care classes. Why – because when women look good, it contributes to them feeling good.

Future Leader McKenzie-Kohl Tuckett Bermuda Aug 2019 (4)

Equality: the focus here would be on assistance with sourcing legal representation in gender discrimination cases. In addition, I would like to push for legislative amendments which allow for young girls under the age of 18, to report a rape or sexual assault without a parent or guardian’s approval and signature. With known cases of interfamilial rape, this legislative change in particular, could give victims of such heinous acts, their voice. I would also push for legislation that would make way for the formation of a Gender Equality Council, similar to the one in Iceland, which aims to be a safe haven and allow for women to come to the Council to express their concerns or issues they have on the island. The Council could also be responsible for collecting and releasing information as it pertains to women. In our quest for equality, information has to be made available to all.

How would this initiative be funded? Corporate sponsorship would be sought, as well as a request for funding assistance from the government Girl [Em]Power would also engage in fundraising activities. In addition, professionals, such as teachers, counsellors and lawyers would be sought to volunteer their time to enhance our services on offer. Community service hours would also been available to high school/college students who are willing to assist with initiatives, such as the homework club.

In closing, as Youth Premier of Youth Parliament Bermuda, I believe that the opportunity to share this idea with our Premier and other Members of Parliament is a real possibility. I want to be a catalyst for social change on my island, which will hopefully inspire others globally to do the same.

Gone are the days when sexism will be tolerated. There is absolutely no room for it. Let’s all do our part in making our world a fairer place for women.

The full Girl [Em]Power follows below [PDF here]:

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