- Age: 20
- | She/her/hers
Country of Origin:
Country of Residence:
Girls are undeniably powerful agents of social change, uniquely positioned to disrupt power dynamics. Therefore, the barriers imposed on girl’s leadership are helping reinforce the deep wounds of gender inequality. Girls are the future, and it’s time to offer credibility and invest the resources needed so the future can deliver its full potential.
- Helena Branco
Helena Branco was born and raised in Brazil. She is the founder of the female empowerment club Girl Up Somos Plurais and the initiative Empowering Young Moms (Empoderando Jovens Mães).
What ignited your pursuit for gender equality?
Living in an extremely unequal country, actively questioning the rigid gender dynamics I observed, having my dreams confined to gender roles, and living with fear of violence — all due to my gender — urged me to act. Moreover, my strong mother and Girl Up inspired me to fight and gave me the support system I needed.
Please share your biggest wins as an advocate for gender equality.
As a Girl Up Teen Advisor, I led gender equality debates and presentations for 1,500+ people from multiple backgrounds to demystify concepts of intersectional feminism, youth leadership, and advocacy. I founded a female empowerment youth club and helped grow the number of Girl Up clubs in Brazil from zero to 40+. Additionally, I spearheaded a campaign that donated more than 40,000 menstrual products during the COVID-19 crisis, impacting 1,000+ people in vulnerable settings.
Outside of your gender equality advocacy work, what do you enjoy doing?
I enjoy playing my guitar and my atabaque, hanging out with my friends, reading feminist books, watching TV shows, listening to all kinds of music, and learning new languages.
- English (Advanced/Native)
- Portuguese (Advanced/Native)
- Spanish (Intermediate)
- youth participation and leadership
- youth protagonism
- girls' rights
- intersectional feminism
Past Awards, Certifications, or Fellowships:
- Selected Girl Up and UNF Representative and Panelist at Women Deliver Conference (2019)
- Speaker at the Girl Up Leadership Summit (2019)
- Girl Up Leadership Summit (2018-2019)
- Latin American Leadership Academy Bootcamp
- Session of International Affairs and Globalization of the Yale Young Global Scholars Program
- SISA-Mujeres Activando Certification by the Academia de Innovación Política (Academy of Political Innovation) of Asuntos del Sur.
- Girl Up Teen Advisor
- Ashoka Young Changemakers Finalist