Get the Know Your Value newsletter.
By Julianne Pepitone

On Sept. 29, the Global Citizen Festival in New York City will assemble a star-studded musical lineup: The Weeknd, Janet Jackson, Shawn Mendes, Cardi B, Janelle Monae and special guest John Legend are set to take the stage in Central Park.

The event is ticketed but free – inspiring people to take action through Global Citizen’s platform to earn tickets. Global Citizen’s mission is to build a community of 100 million engaged citizens who will mobilize to help end extreme poverty by 2030.

Among other issues like sanitation and finance, Global Citizen is particularly focused this year on the plight of women and girls around the globe. They are the most likely to be afflicted by poverty and they are “essential to building healthier, better-educated and sustainable communities,” the group points out.

This year’s festival lineup will also include twin sisters Jocelyne Lamoureux-Davidson and Monique Lamoureux-Morando – Know Your Value contributors and U.S. Women’s Hockey Olympic gold medalists.

“Awareness and education are the first step to addressing gender inequality,” Jocelyne told Know Your Value. “It’s not just about our world in hockey, sports, or even the U.S. We have a long way to go here, but there are other countries where women are severely limited in ways we can’t imagine.”

In the so-called “Year of the Woman,” including movements such as #MeToo, the Lamoureux twins feel a particular responsibility.

“We both have a lot going on professionally and personally – I just started my third trimester of pregnancy and Jocelyne is seven weeks behind me – but we could not pass up the opportunity to help advocate for the advancement of women,” Monique explained to Know Your Value. “As Olympic gold medalists, we have earned a platform to speak out, but Global Citizen creates opportunities to talk about issues we’re passionate about on a scale we’d never be able to have individually.”

For both women, gender parity – in sports but also across career opportunities, wages, education, and general human rights – is one of their strongest passion points. Since both of the Lamoreaux twins are pregnant and their brother’s wife will deliver her baby this week, the women say they feel the urgency not only for their generation but also for the next.

“There’s no way I could look at my brother’s daughter and Monique’s son and say, you’re going to have different opportunities because of your gender,” Jocelyne said. “There’s no excuse for it, and we need to change it now. As female hockey players, we’ve certainly had our own battles with gender equity – and in the U.S. we have a long way to go generally – but when you look at the serious ways women are limited and harmed across the globe, it’s really sobering.”

The women see this moment as a particularly ripe opportunity. “It’s part of the national and global conversation,” Monique added. “Many women are feeling empowered right now and a group like Global Citizen has the power to harness that both here and overseas.”

But it doesn’t always require a large-scale audience to make a difference. Part of the Global Citizen mission is inspiring civic engagement on an individual scale.

“As incredible as the festival is, the whole point is that enacting change isn’t about doing one thing once a year,” Jocelyne said. “Global Citizen challenges you to get involved in your community, and it’s inspiring to be part of something like that. If we can impact one person every day and they pay it forward by getting involved in something they’re passionate about, the leverage of individual action creates a huge impact.”

Jocelyne and Monique have already been involved in programs in their home state of North Dakota, including in Grand Forks. They have also been engaged in national initiatives related to diversity and inclusion, volunteer service, and digital literacy.

“When you look at education today, you can’t possibly expect a high school kid who has no access to the Internet at home to be able to compete,” Monique said. “There is a big misconception that everyone has Internet access at home, or can safely leave their home to get to a library with Wi-Fi. Getting kids laptops and Internet access can change the trajectory of their lives. Education is that important.”

To take action and be a part of the Global Citizen community, join here.

For more stories and inspiration like this, sign up for the Know Your Value newsletter and follow Know Your Value on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.