From Peru to Japan, girls from across the world will take over from prime ministers, mayors and CEOs to mark this year’s International Day of the Girl on 11 October.
By holding more than 600 “takeovers” in more than 60 countries, girls will demand a political and social revolution against the discrimination and prejudice that hold them back in private and public life.
The Prime Minister of Finland, El Salvador’s Minister of Health and the head of the Ugandan police force are among the leading figures who will be symbolically ceding control to girls.
“Girls worldwide face a wall of resistance in their struggle to progress and realise their dreams. They often have no power over the decisions they make or the choices they have,” said Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen, CEO of Plan International.
Statement of girls’ power and potential
“The #Girlstakeover action is an emphatic statement of girls’ power and potential. When girls get equal opportunities and equal chances in life, they can transform their lives and their communities.”
In Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has accepted a challenge issued by Breanne, 23, on Twitter asking him to share his office with her to show Canada and the world that girls belong in their dream jobs.
The challenge is part of #GirlsBelongHere, an annual initiative to celebrate International Day of the Girl.
“I dream of having a real impact as a leader in Canada, and I am so excited that Prime Minister Trudeau has accepted my challenge,” said Breanne.
“I look forward to showing the world that every girl – no matter her race, religion, culture or ability – has the power to achieve her dreams.”
Girls raise their voices together
Globally, more than 1,000 girls will stand alongside Plan International in calling on governments to make girls’ rights a global political priority, to encourage other girls and young women to step forward as leaders and decision makers, and to have their voices heard on the great challenges they face.
The takeover action is an emphatic statement of girls’ power and potential.
In Paraguay, every state-run school in the country will be led by girls, while in Nepal, girls’ voices will be heard across the airwaves as radio stations in hundreds of communities open their doors to them for the day.
Also on 11 October, Plan International will bring together more than 400 global girls’ rights activists in government, entertainment, business, sport and media in Paris to celebrate and call for increased action for gender equality.
Confirmed attendees at the girls’ rights summit, which will be livestreamed around the world, include the Mayor of Paris and Ingrid Nilsen, the YouTube star who famously interviewed former US president Barack Obama about gender equality.
“There are too many girls in the world who are not allowed to go to school and too many women who are not heard in their society,” said Juha Sipilä, the Prime Minister of Finland, who will be advised for the day by Katariina, 16.
Gender equality essential for global development
“Gender equality is one of the key pillars of Finnish society. It’s also essential for global development. Plan International’s global takeovers provide an excellent opportunity to encourage girls to claim challenging positions in society.”
The global takeovers place girls in places of influence where they are rarely seen or heard. Only 23% of the world’s parliamentarians are women and there are only 10 female heads of state globally. Fewer than 3% of CEOs heading the world’s 500 leading corporations are women.
Achieving gender equality is one of the Global Goals that were agreed by world leaders in 2015 and which promise to transform the world by 2030. Plan International is warning that without a seismic shift in political and social attitudes, this goal, alongside others, cannot be realised.
“Millions of girls around the world live in fear of discrimination, stigmatisation and violence simply for daring to make their dreams a reality. Millions more live with no hope of ever realising their potential due to poverty and inequality,” said Ms Albrectsen.
“We must close the dream gap between what girls are capable of and what girls are allowed to be. It's time to create more concrete opportunities for all girls to be who they want to be and show the world the incredible power of unleashing the potential of girls.”