- Age: 21
- | She/her/hers
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The best way to predict the future is to invent it.
- Sofia Scarlat
Sofia Scarlat is a 20 year-old gender expert from the ECA region, working particularly in the areas of women and youth in peace and security; sustainable development; and gender-based violence and human trafficking prevention. She is the founder of Romania’s first youth-led gender equity organization, Girl Up Romania, where she has coordinated advocacy efforts that have led to successful country-wide legislative change. Sofia is also experienced in organizing and consulting for UN structures such as UN Women – where she served as one of the youngest members of the 2020-2022 Generation Equality Youth Taskforce – and for organizations such as Vital Voices Global Partnership, Innovations for Poverty Action and the Clayman Institute for Gender Research.
Currently, Sofia is pursuing A BA in Sociology at Stanford University. There, she serves as the university’s Co-Director for Sexual Violence Prevention Committee, organizing to prevent campus sexual violence through advocacy and policy-change efforts. She is currently conducting research on the lives of women in rural Romania, with the support of a Chappell Lougee Grant. Sofia’s work has been recognized internationally, receiving nominations for awards such as the International Children’s Peace Prize and the Princess of Girona International Award.
What ignited your pursuit for gender equality?
As soon as the issues within my community — particularly gender-based violence and human trafficking — came to light as a teenager, I felt it was my responsibility to help tackle them as well. I didn't have a passion for gender equality as a child, but rather just an inability to turn a blind eye.
Please share your biggest wins as an advocate for gender equality.
I founded and am leading Romania's first and currently only gender equality organization for teenagers. I guided the team during the months following the infamous Caracal kidnapping, which sparked a long-awaited, larger discussion on gender-based violence and human trafficking across the country. After co-organizing a protest at that time, together we published a speech on gender inequality in Romania, which would later be read out on national news, in Parliament, and even reach the Romanian Royal Family. More recently, the organization has been working alongside local activists to track down and dismantle a Romanian revenge pornography/child pornography online network and to pressure representatives to strengthen legislation in this area.
Outside of your gender equality advocacy work, what do you enjoy doing?
I'm a big fan of café hopping and learning new languages.
- English (Advanced/Native)
- Romanian (Advanced/Native)
- French (Intermediate)
- Italian (Beginner)
- Russian (Beginner)
- women and youth in peace and security
- sustainable development
- gender-based violence and human trafficking prevention
Past Awards, Certifications, or Fellowships:
- 2019 International Children’s Peace Prize nominee
- 2021 and 2022 Women of the World Young Leader
- 2022 Princess of Giorna Foundation Award nominee
- Vital Voices Visionaries Fellow Women of the World
- CITI Human Subjects Research Certification (expires September 2024)