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Oct 11: Girls to take over the world on International Day of the Girl

by Plan International | @PlanAsia | Plan International
Thursday, 6 October 2016 07:08 GMT

President of Nepal, Bidhya Devi Bhandari, meets with symbolic girl President

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* Any views expressed in this article are those of the author and not of Thomson Reuters Foundation.

(BANGKOK & LONDON): From Thailand to Timor-Leste and Bangladesh to Canada, girls across the world will stage a historic “takeover” on 11 October as they become Presidents, Mayors, CEOs and TV presenters for a day to raise their voice for justice and equality.

Girls will hold over 200 “takeovers” in more than 50 countries to mark the International Day of the Girl. The first female President of Nepal, Bidhya Devi Bhandari set the scene a week early on 5 October. She will be followed by leading figures in political, economic and social spheres who will be stepping aside for girls to take charge.

By occupying spaces and places where they are rarely seen or heard, girls will be calling on governments to tear down the barriers that deny millions of them their rights.

The global action is being staged as part of child rights organisation Plan International’s Because I am a Girl movement, which advocates for all girls to have power and freedom to learn, lead, decide and thrive.

“There is no country in the world where girls experience true gender equality. The takeover is a great statement of girls’ power and their ability to change the world. It also serves as a reminder to governments how millions of girls are held back and denied an equal chance in life just because they are girls,” said Anne-Birgitte Albrectsen, CEO of Plan International.

“I’m inspired by those who help others. Taking over as the Guest Chief of Police in my hometown in Hyderabad will give me an up-close view of what it means to serve my community. During the takeover, I want to learn how a police station is run, and provide tips on how it can be a friendlier and safer place for girls and women,” said 13-year-old Bhavani in India. 

“For the upcoming Girl Takeover, I want to share with people my knowledge, find out more about what young girls in my society wish for, and encourage everyone to achieve those dreams. I want girls to be more safe, and to have equal development opportunities as boys,” said Tra (18) from Hanoi who will be taking over her high school for the day.

Yohana Yembise, Indonesia’s Minister of Women Empowerment and Child Protection is handing over her office to girls for a day to support girls’ leadership. “I greatly support the Because I am a Girl movement as it prepares girls and young women to become future leaders. Girls and women play an important role. 11 October is a special day and I will be there with girls who will act as minister and minister’s deputies,” said Ms Yembise.

Discrimination results in girls and women remaining largely invisible in key areas of power and influence. Only 10 out of 152 elected Heads of State worldwide are women, and women head only 14 of 194 governments. Fewer than 4% 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 an urgent step-change by governments, this goal, alongside others, cannot be realised.

“Governments will not end the abuse and inequality facing millions of girls because vital data about them is either incomplete or missing. The global takeover action pushes to the forefront the need for making girls and their realities visible. This is the very first step we urgently need to get right,” said Ms Albrectsen.

Plan International’s report: Counting the Invisible, released on 3 October, shows that no credible statistics exist worldwide that show the real life challenges of girls, such as how many drop out of school due to early marriage, pregnancy or sexual violence, or how many girls become mothers under the age of 15.

“We cannot improve what we can’t measure. It is easier to ignore a problem when there is little evidence of how pervasive it is or how deeply it affects people. If we are to ensure we meet the ambitious agenda set for 2030, we must make sure every girl counts and can be counted,” said Ms Albrectsen.


Media contact:

  • Bangkok, Thailand (Regional office):
    Mike Bruce, Regional Communications Manager
    Email: Mike.Bruce@plan-international.org | Mobile: +66 81 821 9770
  • Jessica Lomelin, Regional Communications Specialist
    Email: Jessica.Lomelin@Plan-International.org | Mobile: +66 96 865 7649

  • Davinder Kumar, Global Media Manager, Plan International (London UK)
    Mobile: + 44 (0)7773633835
    Email: davinder.kumar@plan-international.org
    Skype: davinder.ih


Notes to Editors:

Find out more about worldwide “takeovers” in an interactive map.

Through more than 500 projects across the world, Plan International’s Because I am a Girl movement helped transform the lives of more than 1.9 million girls in 2015 – bringing the total to almost 5 million girls reached directly since the campaign launched in 2012.

Counting the Invisible report and associated case studies with high resolution images can be downloaded from here