My poem calling for girls' rights across the world

Keisha Thompson the poet
Image caption Keisha, who wrote the poem, has been performing a solo show about feminism and beauty

"So much is changing, all that is certain is you haven't seen the best of me," reads a line from Keisha Thompson's poem, Yet.

The 25-year-old writer and performer from Manchester has written it for International Day of the Girl.

A video with 13 girls from eight countries reading the poem has been made by Plan International charity.

It includes girls from Nicaragua, Thailand and Sierra Leone.

Keisha tells Newsbeat she had a clear message.

"Girls and women are here, they're improving their position in the world, they're working on their rights.

Keisha's poem, Yet, handwritten in a notebook
Image caption International Day of the Girl is on 11 October

"They're empowering themselves and there's not much that you can do about it, so you may as well stand with us as opposed to against us."

But she admits there's a lot of work to do.

"As long as there's somewhere in the world where girls are facing extreme oppression of their rights, then feminism has a long way to go still."

Mahima, 20, from India
Image caption Mahima, 20, a musician from India, is one of 13 girls reading the poem in a video for International Day of the Girl

There are 62 million girls not in school across the world, according to Plan International.

Keisha agrees that education is one of the biggest issues facing girls.

"If someone's denied that basic right of just learning then it limits them immediately."

The International Day of the Girl was declared by the United Nations in 2011 to recognise girls' rights and the challenges faced by girls around the world.

Amina, 19, from Rwanda
Image caption Another girl from the poem video is Amina, 19, from Rwanda - she has recently graduated from high school

Keisha wrote the poem but wasn't involved in the video.

"It was extremely humbling to see the video. I almost cried. It definitely touched me.

"[It] feels quite surreal to see women from all around the world reading my poem.

"It really felt like they [the girls] got it, they understood what I was trying to put across. That's always going to be a rewarding feeling."

Jaine, 19, from Brazil
Image caption Jaine, 19, from Brazil was filmed for the video

But can a poem have an impact on the fight for equality?

"It at least starts a dialogue," according to Keisha. "It starts an awareness and it begins agency, and I feel like this poem could do that.

"If someone watches this video and agrees with what's being said then it might give them the courage to analyse their own situation, ask a question, take a bit of personal responsibility in making something happen in their lives."

Keisha thinks that arts and poetry "definitely have a place" in political movements and campaigns.

"We are creative beings and we communicate on different levels.

"For some people to see a video or hear a poem, that's what will switch them on and get them politically engaged."

She quotes American poet Amiri Baraka, who she saw speak in Manchester before he died.

"He was saying that poetry belongs to the streets and that's where it's come from, that kind of soapbox culture where people would stand up and say what they believe in. It intrinsically is a part of the political movement."

Yet, by Keisha Thompson

Because I am a girl you might think that you know me

You might think of a certain colour

Of a certain history

You might think of a certain fashion

Or a certain role in society

But so much is changing

All that is certain is you haven't seen the best of me

Right now the number of female world leaders

Has doubled since 2005

Right now there are more of us standing as CEOs

Than the world has ever seen

Times are changing and you

Haven't seen the best of us yet

But right now 65 million of us still have stolen dreams

Right now 65 million of us could be left behind

With no access to education

Trapped by narrow expectations

If you deny us the chance to learn now

You deny us our potential and our history

I am the strength of Malala and Maya Angelou

What makes you think I am not equal to you?

I can be the head of a family, a community, a company, a country

I can be a leader

Until my sisters are free then I am not free

Because justice shouldn't feel like luck

Like we are short straws to be plucked

Justice should feel like everyone is standing up

Waiting for us to take the next step

Because you still haven't seen the best of us yet

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