Thoughts from the #GirlsGetEqual Campaign, Philippines

17 January 2022

Three girl leaders from the Philippines who exhibited proactive involvement and growth through the Girls Get Equal’s implementation were asked to share their experiences and lessons learned through the years.


Jessica is a young leader from the Philippines
Jessica is a young leader from the Philippines 

“In 2012, I already started participating in seminars by Plan International. I was also a sponsored child. When I joined, that’s when I learned more about myself. I was shy, now I have gained self-confidence. I learned that I could do things I didn’t think I could do before.  
And then in 2016, that was my first opportunity. I was the Programme Area Manager for Plan International during the #GirlsTakeover events. That’s when I learned that women experience a lot in our society. That opened the door for me. 
I will never forget when I went to Thailand. I learned a lot. I met new people. And I learned skills that I did not think I could do. I never thought that I could join. I was inspired to continue. I was inspired to take social work as my college course. 
One of the things I learned was to love my fellow women and use our voices. I learned that using our heart in our advocacy is an important weapon. I pursued to know more about myself – that to create change is what I want. Everyone can improve themselves, only if there are opportunities given to them. I am thankful to Plan International that I am one of the girls who became a part of this campaign.”


Mau, 17, is a youth advocate with Plan International’s Girls Advocacy Alliance project
Mau, 17, is a youth advocate with Plan International’s Girls Advocacy Alliance project 

“It is very inspiring for me, especially to help the last and the lost. I didn’t think that the issues about abuse that I know about would have been relevant, especially during the pandemic. 
I have used what I learned in the United Nations. We really amplified the voices of girls and young women. I am happy that our voices were heard there – us girls from grassroots communities. It gave me the chance to reach out to more communities, more girls. With the Girls Out Loud programme, I am also happy to hear from them and interact with them and know their perspectives from their communities. 
That experience itself gave me hope that us girls have the power to change the world. We have the ability. We’re just not given the opportunity to do so because tokenistic participation does exist. 
I am looking forward to Girls Get Equal this year. I look forward to reaching out to more girls and young women, despite the digital divide, this pandemic, etc.”


“I started during the 2019 Leadership workshop. I was part of the 2030 Youth Force, with Ate Ivy. 2030 Youth force was my first NGO. I was volunteering at that time. I was thinking then that the workshop will just be a one-time event. It’s heart-warming that it grew. We are still here, and we are talking about what happened and where we are growing.  
We grew from there. I was still a ‘baby’ then. But I have become more confident, in comparison with what I was in 2019. I think that’s one of the most important factors that girls are not getting enough. GGE makes me realize that I am not alone. I have support systems and guidance. I think going from there, it shows me how what you can do matters. I remember this line, “If I can see her, I can be her”. Seeing and knowing role models that are ladies and girls alike will help me manifest and embody that more. I know that we will also get to the point where we can manifest getting more people to have that as well.  
Despite the hardships of the pandemic, we are still pushing. The pandemic taught us about our digital rights.”

2021 Asia-Pacific Girls Report: Voice, Choice, and Power

The three reflections emphasize the importance and success of giving girls a platform to share, educate and learn when fighting gender discrimination. Through collaboration, leadership and sharing, many girl activists see that they are not alone, and progress is happening. 

Plan International’s 2021 Asia-Pacific Girls Report reveals how girl activists like Mau, Christine, and Jessica are becoming a necessary force for gender equality in the region. The report, presenting the region’s state of girls’ leadership, finds that girls and young women are working tirelessly to ensure gender-transformative change and social inclusion. Yet, environments in some countries are more enabling than others. Across the region, social and cultural norms continue to contribute to gender inequality and the lack of opportunity. To find out more about the findings, check out the report here. 

Girls Get Equal, Youth empowerment, Activism, girls’ leadership