Amelia Womack was just 29 when she was elected as The Green Party’s Deputy Leader in 2014 – the youngest ever in political party history. Two years and one re-election later, she’s more vocal than ever about the power young people play in changing the environment and the world.
We heard from Amelia at Raleigh’s Global Alumni Conference in London as she spoke about how volunteering in Ghana gave her a passion for feminism, the fight for youth leadership and why women belong in the Cabinet, not the kitchen.
Inspired by feminism
“In terms of leadership, it’s about giving young people an opportunity,” said Amelia, who, in addition to the title of party leader, also holds a BSc in Environmental Biology and an MSc in Environmental Technology.
“Giving them the opportunity to run a project, to make sure that everything is being put up in the right order, to liaise with the right people in the community – those are opportunities you would never get anywhere else in the world at that age.
“As a result of being in Ghana I became inspired by feminism. By the time we left, we'd had so many different conversations about the role of women, it really strengthened my belief about what women should do in society.”
A woman’s place is at the podium
“I'm in a job where there really aren't that many women. There aren't that many young people. There aren't that many scientists, actually.
“And it really inspired me to prove that a woman's place isn't cooking. A woman's place is at the podium, making a difference in our communities and around the world.
“I don't think I would think the same way if it hadn't have been for those conversations. We, as young people, as people from different generations, need to remember we're all here because we're inspired to make a difference.
“I don't think I would be wrong in saying that. That inspiration does change lives.”
More in common than that which divides us
“When we get involved with these programmes, it is an adventure, but I think it really changes the way we think. With our communities, just those small individual actions in your host country or your home country can make a difference.
“This summer we saw the brutal and horrific murder of Jo Cox MP, who said that we have more in common than that which divides us. And with our friends in our communities in the UK, globally, as a family, we are truly proving that we have more in common.
“Proving that we have a passion for change, and it doesn't matter what country you're from as long as we share that passion. Proving that we can make a difference whatever generation we're part of.
“And proving that young people can make a difference in leadership roles, can go to different countries and build a school, young people can go and change the environment, can be trusted to change the world they live in.
“Our world is such a small place because we have so much in common.”
If Amelia's story of volunteering and youth leadership inspired you, read more about Raleigh's work in Nepal, Nicaragua and Tanzania here.