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GirlPower: from the Shadows to Centre Stage

1 August 2014
For many girls around the world traditional norms and values often perform as an over-shadowing element that restricts their lives from the moment they are born. The fourth annual European Week of Action for Girls, entitled “GirlPower: from the Shadows to Centre Stage”, will look into the impact of social norms on girls in all the various settings, especially towards their economic empowerment.

Social norms play a critical role in shaping attitudes and practices that determine the lives of people. For many girls around the world, however, traditional norms and values often perform as an over-shadowing element that restricts their lives from the moment they are born.

Girls’ fight to achieve equality with their male brethren faces challenges at almost every turn: within the social institutions around them in which negative norms, attitudes and behaviours towards girls are reproduced throughout the family and community; in the legal, political and public institutions of the state; and in economic institutions and the workplace.

Working at the socio-cultural level, where gender inequality is at its most potent, to bring about transformative change, is crucial to addressing discrimination and achieving girls’ and women’s human rights.

Week of Action

The fourth annual European Week of Action for Girls, entitled “GirlPower: from the Shadows to Centre Stage”, will look into the root causes of gender inequality and the impact of social norms on girls in all the various settings, especially towards their economic empowerment. It will explore what international donors, national governments, civil society actors and others can do to change the attitudes which lead a large number of girls and women in the world to face daily discrimination and to help them be centre stage in their lives and in the life of their communities.

Organised by Plan EU Office, in partnership with UN agencies and civil society organisations, the Week of Action will take place in Brussels from 06-11 October 2014, timed to coincide with the International Day of the Girl Child ( celebrated on 10th October).

Launch event

The week will kick off with a launch event in the afternoon of 6th October in Hotel Silken Berlaymont Brussels. We will explore gender stereotypes throughout a series of high-level moderated panel discussions covering three themes: an overview of the issues at stake and how to shift social norms; the role of men and boys in creating greater gender equality; and the role of the media on the one hand in maintaining and reinforcing stereotypes about girls and women, while on the other hand, also providing a channel for women to develop collective action to challenge them.

The week will follow with a series of events in different venues around Brussels, aiming to further discuss the topic as well as showcase what works and what doesn’t when it comes to prompting positive social transformation, which helps accomplish girls’ rights and empowers them both socially and economically on the road to a brighter future.